How's Your Approach?

This post was taken from the blog of WakeWell, a ministry run by our very own, Mark Heger. WakeWell is a nonprofit ministry that exists to bridge the wake culture to Jesus, partnering with the local Church. WakeWell’s vision is to bring the living water of Jesus to a thirsty wake culture.  If you are like me, you may have never seen the correlation between wakeboarding, vision, and the new year ahead.


January.  The first month of the year.  The month when resolutions are announced and new paths are decided.  The month of new beginnings, clean slates, and better choices.  Also the only month in which you have to write TWO personal checks for rent/mortgage because you accidentally wrote the wrong year in the date section…dang you, January!

In most parts of the US, there isn’t much wakeboarding to be done in January…or February…or even March/April for that matter… (January.  The month that you realize you have “wakeboarding withdrawal”).  But despite the fact that very little riding is happening, we wakeboarders are constantly thinking ahead to what the next season is going to have in store.  We begin compiling our trick-lists for the year and determining what we are going to learn when warm weather approaches.  We make plans for working out and cross training in hopes of becoming the most in-shape rider of all time in order to further increase our chances of learning everything on our trick-list.  We buy last year’s products on Super Sale, because we can’t afford (or at least justify…depending on your financial situation) to pay the premium for all the new gear that we drool over.  January is the month of casting vision and planning for success.

January is the month of casting vision and planning for success.

Successfully progressing in our riding abilities often looks much different than we expect.  We expect adding strength, agility, air-awareness, and flexibility to our bodies will increase our riding potential.  We expect that adding trick knowledge, new products, and different riding buddies will exponentially increase our trick and style progression.  We expect dramatic changes to occur.  And while all of these additions will indeed help us in numerous ways, there is another area of wakeboard training that would be infinitely more valuable to the large majority of people who identify themselves as “wakeboarders”…and I feel certain that most wakeboard coaches would agree with me.  And this skill is actually one of the most basic principles of wakeboarding.  Without fine-tuning this particular skill, all the other strength training, air-awareness, mental preparation, and expensive new gear is absolutely useless.  And the skill I am referring to is “Approach”.

Many riders think that a trick starts once you leave the wake (or hit the obstacle).  But in reality, each trick begins before you ever start cutting in toward the wake or obstacle.  Factors like line-tension, speed, and load are different for each and every trick, and these factors are determined during your approach, not during the trick itself.  It doesn’t matter how strong you are, how smart you are, or what kind of board you are riding; if you don’t have the correct speed, load, and line-tension BEFORE you get into your trick then you will never learn what you desire.  Even if I know what a raley looks like, and my arms and abs are super strong, and my board is super awesome…if I approach the wake with a soft, mellow, slow cut, I am going to get DESTROYED when I try to throw my legs backwards upon takeoff.  Your approach is everything!

And like I stated at the beginning of this blog entry, we aren’t only setting wakeboard-related goals for the new year…we are setting goals, paths, and trajectories for many areas of our lives.  Many people set goals involving character traits: being nicer and kinder, becoming more adventurous, or choosing to be more generous.  And some people might set faith-related goals; growing closer to God, reading the bible more often, going to church again, etc.  But even with these non-wake related goals and aspirations, ourapproach is of upmost importance!  The bible says,

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

The GOOD news is that we are able to approach God with full confidence that He will extend grace and mercy and love to us in return. So no matter what happened in 2013, we can be sure that God loves us and desires for us to approach Him.  But that’s not all…

The GREAT news is that not only are WE able to approach God, but that HE approaches us!  The bible also says,

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” (1Peter 3:18)

Jesus approaches us…even though we are imperfect sinners…not to do some great trick or because of some new year’s resolution that He made, but because He genuinely desires to bring you home; back into a right relationship with the God who created you!  How unreal is that?  The God of the universe decided to come down from heaven, put on flesh, live among His people, DIE for them, and ultimately raise from the dead; all so that He could approach YOU with an invitation in His hand that says, “Come home, I’ve been waiting for you…I love you!”

So this year, while you are contemplating how on earth you are going to accomplish any of your new year’s resolutions, remember that the way in which you approach your goals is often the most important part.  And if your goal has anything to do with God, feel secure in the fact that even if you don’t approach Him perfectly, He has already approached you perfectly.


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Mark Heger and his wife, Emily, live in Lake Highlands.  He can be reached at Mark@WakeWell.org.  You can also check out his national ministry at www.wakewell.org.