Top Tips from the Pros: Jamie Mitchell
We'd love to write a list of superlatives about Jamie Mitchell, but the versatile Aussie's achievements speak for themselves: 10 consecutive wins in the Molokai 2 Oahu's (M2O) prone paddleboarding division (see his Decade of Dominance), dropping in on an angry Peahi and taking on the famed and feared Cortes Bank like few have on an SUP. He has also won Battle of the Paddle, captained Team Australia at the ISA World SUP Championships and snagged countless other titles around the globe. In this spare time (hah!) he also runs JM Paddleboards and JM SUP, which offer beginner, intermediate and advanced riders the chance to learn from Mitchell's wealth of experience at his favorite Gold Coast breaks.
1. A Structured Program Makes Champions
With so many events on the increasingly jam-packed SUP racing schedule, it can be hard for paddlers to know when they need to peak and how to tailor their training programs to produce optimal performance. And, avoiding burnout and injury from overtraining and too many races—not to mention illness from an over-stressed immune system–is also a concern.
To make sure he performs at his best at just the right time, Mitchell takes an intentional approach. "Some days it's okay to just go with what you feel like doing on the water or in the gym, but you've got to deliberately work on your strengths and attack your weaknesses, too," he said. "I structure my year-round training so that I'm ready for the premier races and am prepared to go surf challenging spots across the world at any time. It's important to think about your goals and what it's going to take to reach them. Then, stay true to your program."
2. Be Consistent To Be At The Top of Your Game
When you're going against Connor Baxter, Danny Ching, Travis Grant and all the other top flight SUP athletes who compete at the highest level, just showing up for a training session or two per week and dogging it the rest of the time isn't going to cut it. That's why Mitchell is constantly working on his SUP game in all water conditions. "If you look at the best athletes in any sport, they might have different approaches to training and racing, but all of them put in consistent effort," Mitchell said. "Turning up to each session ready to go hard is essential if you're going to make big gains. No matter what level you're at, you have to put in the time to improve to reach your full potential.
3. Paddle With a Smile on Your Face
To take top honors in the Molokai 2 Oahu race for a decade and to push the boundaries of what's possible at the world's most demanding breaks, you have to be determined, focused, and constantly dialed in. But if you're not enjoying it, what good are all those trophies and accolades? "Even during the toughest training sessions and hardest races, I try to have a good time and smile a lot," Mitchell said. "At the end of the day, I'm blessed to spend my life in the ocean paddling with great friends. What could be better than that? I try to remember to keep joking around, encourage people and make the most of the experience even when I'm tired and sore. This is meant to be fun!"
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