Friday, 15 April 2011

Contest preparation Part 2

Back with another one! Part 2 is here, and the interviewee list couldn't be much comprehensive, three of the most experienced professionals tell what that they do (or have done) to be contest ready!

Terry Adams- on top of his game both in the contest sense and the business side!
Pete Brandt- Has been on the scene forever, one of the most dialled riders I've ever seen. A huge inspiration to me since the days of Reality Tv part 1, and he isn't stopping anytime soon.
Martti Kuoppa- Triple X Games gold medal! World Champion, has produced solo dvds, and probably more progressive edits than any other rider throughout the course of his career! A mix of both athlete and artist would be the best way to describe the man many regard as the best flatland rider alive!

Great shot of Terry/Vanessa/Matt last weekend at Jomopro, as the judging decision was announced!
Photo by Kelly Baldwin.
Firstly, how do you decide what combos to practise and dial in for a contest?
Terry Adams: I normally prepare 6 combos have them all dialled. Even if I don't have time to use all of them in qualifying, It leaves me extra tricks for the finals/battles. 
Pete Brandt: I practice my newsest combos mostly because those are the ones that need to get dialed.
Martti Kuoppa: I always tried picking up tricks that were difficult and original but also realistically tricks I knew if I practice hard enough I can get them dialed. Some of the tricks were out of question for sure so I wasn´t
bothered to try to get them consistent.

Do you have a practise routine that you stick to before a contest?
Terry Adams: If so, what is that routine? All year round I do my combos 3 times in a row. When it gets about 2 weeks before the contest I Bump it up to 5 times in a row. It's sometimes boring, but I really enjoy being dialled so it's cool! 
Pete Brandt: Not really, I do like to change it up from back wheel combos to front wheel combos and in some runs transfer front to back or back to front.
Martti Kuoppa: Yes, let´s say I had a set routine which perhaps contained 5 different combos. I always practiced each switch, each combo separately. For example, combo number 1 had 5 – 8 different key tricks in it. I took each one of the switches and practiced them in their simplest form to make sure I am ready to throw them into a combo. Once each one of the trick in that combo were “ready” I continued to the next combo and I did the same thing.
After I went through each switch/trick/flip/kick 5 times in a row (going through the whole run) I was ready to practice each combo separately and once I pulled combo no.1 5 times in a row, I moved to a combo no.2 and so on until I went all the combos through 5 times then I was able to practice the whole combo trying to pull that one 5 times in a row, he he.

Pete Brandt- iPhone screenshot of Front Seat Time machine.
Does your practise routine vary if there is a 3 minute run, or battle format style?
Terry Adams: I normally just play that part my ear. I always choose which order i do the combos right before the contest starts. That way I can at least freestyle the order I put them in. 
Pete Brandt: Yes. In any battle contest I like to battle acording to the opponents style. Example: if the opponent has one particular trick sometimes I will put that trick in a longer combo and try and push the level further.
Martti Kuoppa: Well, when I was practicing for routines the battle thing did not exist in
flatland. If I remember correctly battles came in like ´04 or ´05 when Iwas already a freestyler.

Do you practise on different types of floor?
Terry Adams:I am not so picky about that to be honest. If I know the contest is going to be on a slick floor I will ride my indoor spot, because it's similar to those types of floors. 
Pete Brandt: Yes. I practice on good spots as well as really bad spots. Also I practice in my garage which is 18' X 20 feet.
Martti Kuoppa: Yes I did. Slippery always in the winter time as my white room is very slippery so that is actually good for overall control. Then I practiced them in the same indoor place but in the small rooms (4m x 4m) and avoid hitting the walls. Summer time I usually practiced each session in a different spot along the day, morning session at spot no.1, noon session spot no.2 and evening session at spot no.3.

MK's bike and the infamous White room!
How long before a contest do you start training?
Terry Adams:1 month.
Pete Brandt: I practice all the time like I am going to a contest. Sometimes I will Think of something new and try to get it wired within a day or 2. Sometimes the harder the combo it might take a little longer but than I focus on pulling it more and more everyday until it's wired.
Martti Kuoppa: Few years honestly. Some of the tricks took me 2 years to get consistent enough to do in a comp.

Who do you look at as the most dialled contest rider?
Terry Adams: Miller, Trevor, Martti, and Matthias are all dialled. 
Pete Brandt: There is so many now and different types.
Martti Kuoppa: Each era have had it’s most consistent rider but these guys also tend to have bad days as everyone else. But overall throughout the years/eras I would say Mike S.

Jomopro 2011 Pro Flatland Finals: Terry Adams vs Matt Wilhelm from jm on Vimeo.
Matt and Terry are both an example of two riders who train like athletes, these combos are not an accident, they are worked on over and over. On this day Terry of course took the win.

How do you juggle contest training and progression?
Terry Adams: I have never stressed on progression. If I learn new tricks it's because I stumble across something I think I can do. Normally I am pretty happy doing my old stuff as long as it's original it keeps me motivated. Of course I enjoy putting the combos together in different ways too. That's always fun to me. 
Pete Brandt: I ride a lot so I do both. I kind of demand it from myself, because I don't wanna be just a show rider. I like being an all around rider. I put the time into staying as dialed as I can be, pull the new tricks and work on concepts like freestyle and interchangeable links.
Martti Kuoppa: The thing is when you really on a mission to get consistent your balance/control/stamina gets so high level that it is pretty easy to progress once the contest season is over if your mind can deal with it. If
not, then it is a problem in that sense.

If you do “5 in a row” method of getting consistent, how strict are you on that? And what is the timeframe for getting that done?
Terry Adams:I am pretty strict. If I mess up on #5 I always start back at #1. It normally takes me about 1 hour to hit 6 combos 5 in a row. 
Pete Brandt: I used to do 10 in a row. Now for me it's about having anyone of the links dialed. A good example, trying to see how many minutes or hours I can go with out touching. A lot of the time I will hit all my tricks and then one might give me some trouble so I'll practice over and over. Not just pulling the link off but doing it without sketch and doing it with the proper execution.
Martti Kuoppa: I was hardcore strict about it. Wasn´t even funny anymore as I got kind of obsessed. 5 times in a row everything in heavy rain and 36 times this one trick in a row and my mind wasn´t the same ever after. I would not do the same now if I was younger and still competing.

Voodoo 2009 Pro Highlight Starring Pete Brandt from BMX Freestyler on Vimeo.
Pete doesn't compete as much these days, but when he does he is no stranger to the finals! Dialled!

Do you do any other kind of training to be contest ready?
Terry Adams:I do an Ab work out, push ups, and of course make sure I ride everyday so my muscle memory in my brain can be very prepared. 
Pete Brandt: If the contest is in another time zone I practice according to that time change a week before and a week before I will not eat anything ever during the day while I practice. That way my body feeds of it's own energy.
Martti Kuoppa: Nowadays if I would compete I would focus more into practicing my mind. I know that with less practice I can be more effective as long as my mind is focused. I can say that because I´ve ridden over 10,000 hours in my life.

How in your mind do you know when you are contest ready?
Terry Adams: When I believe I can win. 
Pete Brandt: I have certain goals I set for myself and spend a lot of time training as well as constant thought about the contest and my riding.
Martti Kuoppa: It got lot to do with being hungry to win. The winning is the most important thing in life when you want to win and there shouldn´t be
anything else going on in mind than winning. Once you have that mindset you are ready to win. If not, then it is about luck.

Martti swept the competition aside in 2002, using the 5 in a row technique before everyone to win the World title, leader of the new school in many ways, this is one of those beautiful moments in flatland I will remember forever!

Do you have any superstitions going into a contest?
Terry Adams: I try not to have any. Those can sometimes make things go wrong. 
Pete Brandt: Yes. I never drink pepsi @ a contest... EVER!!    I stay confident but not arrogant. And I try to help people If I am in a position to help them. I really try pass the good vibe and energy around. I really love going to contest and riding with people that share the same passion for Flatland. Flatmatters!!!!!!!!! 
Martti Kuoppa: I had Odyssey Modulever front brake lever and that one had a HUGE adjustment nut in it, all the guys always laugh about it but that was actually my lucky piece right there. I gave one part of it to this American snowsled champion while he was in Finland to show my support to a
great athlete because I don´t need such things anymore, I kept one part of it for myself and that shall be my little piece of luck there. So, that is the only thing I have kept from my bikes over the years, everything else is gone.


Navid said...

strong words, strong people, very inspiring! thanx, im now preparing what i feel is like a firework show!!! 1 May Ground Tacticsssss,

Jungle Rider said...

you hardcore, 10 in a row...
good stuff keep pushing!

flatmatters said...

What is interesting for me is that if you look at motivational theory:


Basically Terry and Pete are "performing" all year round, then pushing it further nearer to the contest time, I know with myself, i'd get burnt out if I did that all year round, but that's how these guys became "machines", much respect to these guys! Ten in a row from Pete, I think my best was 7 in a row on my hardest combo, when I was practising for one contest.
The part we haven't mentioned yet, is how this form of training can be addictive/obsessive (martti touched on it briefly), it does help a lot in some ways with progression, you can add combos, mix them a lot easier, there's a thin line, between too much though I believe.

Anonymous said...

I remember the dope routines from Pete Brandt, in Baco Vision video section,awesome!

Anonymous said...

"Terry Adams: I have never stressed on progression. If I learn new tricks it's because I stumble across something I think I can do. Normally I am pretty happy doing my old stuff as long as it's original it keeps me motivated. Of course I enjoy putting the combos together in different ways too. That's always fun to me. "

He is pretty happy doing old stuff? Progression is not important? Am I the only one who thinks TA is way overrated. sure he goes to ninjaspin and acts like an idiot - taking off his clothes and doing a happy dance but tricks-wise he is no where near - one of the top flatlanders in the world.

Anonymous said...

I hope they change the format one day - so that trick difficulty is rewarded over consistency .

Respect to all the flatlanders that are still learning hard tricks just for the love of flatland - like ADAM KUN - martti - viki - dandois - etc - not these same contest-after-contest-sametricks-forever flatlanders ex. jesse p. pete brandt terry adams york uno etc

flatmatters said...

Depends what you mean by overrated really, most of the promotion you see from Terry, is because he works hard at it, he's in the public eye almost daily it seems like, thats testiment to him and his professionalism, I think what he was saying with regard to progression, is that he's happy to do "his" old tricks, because they are "his" tricks.
This week of course he did post a tweet vid of the half cab whopper/whiplash combo he just learnt, so he is progressing, also being dialled is a form of progression also.
You've gone from doing a trick once to 5 in a row...

flatmatters said...

I missed your post about guys doing same tricks over and over, and your examples, personally I'm really into progressive riding, being contest it is not always possible though, and if I am entirely honest I don't see much progressive riding during contests lately!
Thats what video documentation is so important, guys such as Martti have of course done both, I always remember Martti throwing down multiple X Game gold medals and groundbreaking intrikat parts, he is one of a kind though!