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Get Out There: Jumping into the Deep End to Learn New Sports

I’ve been skiing for so long that I’ve never felt like I needed to learn the sport. I started off in ski school thanks to my parents at the ripe old age of three and have been on various teams since then. Now that I am trying to learn some new sports, I have come headlong into an issue: how do you do it?

I could have gone to obvious way: take a class, clinic or take lessons, but since I didn’t want to empty my entire wallet into a new sport that I didn’t even know I liked, I was determined that there was another way.

I found that every sportsman/woman really wants to help, you just need to start a conversation. My first time out bouldering, I knew that I would be a burden so I asked a few guys from work if they could help introduce me and that I would treat the first round afterwards. This way, they knew that I needed and expected a bit of help. Now I go bouldering with that group often and we’ve become really good friends.

I picked up surfing on vacation by just renting a board, going into the lineup and watching. After struggling for a while, I started talking to the guy next to me, not about surfing but just chatting. The next thing, he’s given me some really helpful tips. All it took was to engage him in conversation. By the end, the entire lineup with giving me feedback.

The great thing about learning a new sport without taking lessons is that you can make really good friends. Everyone wants to share knowledge and if you get out there, start a conversation, and give them the excuse, you will learn faster and have more fun than during any lesson.

- Lorin Paley is a National Telemark A team member. She won 2 silvers and 2 bronzes on the World Cup in 2010 and won two gold medals at the Junior World Championships in 2009. To check in on how this season is going, go to www.lorinpaley.com.

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