Lesson in Mastery from Snowboarding Teen Genius Mia Brookes

Today we are going to hear a lesson in mastery from snowboarding teen genius Mia Brookes. We are always in awe when we are witnessing artists or sports personalities who perform their art or their sport at the highest level of performance and competition. However, we often assume that creativity and brilliance just appear out of nowhere, the fruit of natural talent or perhaps an alignment of the stars. Not quite. Those high performers have reached this level of performance through a process called Mastery.

This article showcases a recent demonstration of Mastery by the British snowboarding teen genius Mia Brookes who made history on 27 February 2023 at the world freestyle skiing and snowboarding championships in Bakuriani Georgia when she became the first woman to ever land a CAB1440. [I didn’t know what a CAB 1440 was until recently, more on this later – keep reading to find out.] This exploit earned her the title of Women Slopestyle Snowboarding World Champion of 2023.

This article is written jointly with Alexandre Levy who was on the ground in Georgia witnessing this historical event and who reached out to me to write about it. Alexandre’s bio reads as follows: “I am Alex. It took me 38 years to finally get connected with my real nomadic self and start cycling around the world. In my previous comfort zone life, I used to work in sales for a language service provider, now I am my own mercenary discovering a whole new world of possibilities and challenges.” You can follow Alex’s adventures around the world by following him on Instagram @ecosamurai7.

Lesson in Mastery from snowboarding teen genius Mia Brookes

Giving all you’ve got and conquering your discipline on your first world championships at the young age of 16!

On 27th of February 2023 in Bakuriani Georgia, Alexandre Levy was on the ground witnessed history being made at the world freestyle skiing and snowboarding championships, where 16-year-old Mia Brookes (from England) defied gravity, and kept her composure throughout the whole run, to win the world championship but also make history along the way.

How did Mia Brookes make history? By becoming the first woman to ever land a CAB1440 double grab – four full frontside rotations while grabbing the board. A jaw-dropping figure that brought all the spectators and commentators to be completely blown away from what was happening in front of their eyes. And as if this was not impressive enough, this was her first world championship.

In slopestyle snowboarding, each rider gets given two runs; the strategy is to take the maximum risk on run 2 once you know that you had achieved a good score on the 1st run.  And that is exactly what Mia did, giving everything she had, realizing her ambition, and not letting any excuses nor obstacles or her young age get in the way of glory.

Not only did Mia scored a hammering 91.38 points, but she also scored her name in the history books of slopestyle snowboarding discipline, as a pioneer who has landed, (pardon the pun) on newfound lands of performance and achievement at the tender age of 16 years old. In comparison. runner-up Zoi Sadowski-Synott, Olympic gold medalist and previous world champion is 21 Years old and scored 88.78 bronze medalist Onitsuka Miyabi is 24 years old.

What can we commoners draw from this young warrior of the Xtreme Snowsports? There is always somebody who will beat a record, push back known boundaries, and establish a new feat. Lebron James became the new all-time best scorer of the NBA, Novak Djokovic has claimed 378 weeks as world tennis #1, add to this list Mia’s 1440 feat.

Could it be that 2023 is the year of new horizons for humanity?  I say, let’s watch and learn. Let’s all be inspired by these athletes to do better every day, and to keep working at our craft. To become a Master in our field.  

Lesson in Mastery from Robert Greene

In Mastery (2012 ), author Robert Greene argues that everybody can achieve mastery of a skill or field if they follow the established steps of historical and present-day masters. He describes Mastery as creative power and excellence that shows you’ve fully grasped your discipline.  It involves technical proficiency and social know-how. He believes that you achieve mastery when you bring those skills together with reason, intuition, and experience.

Robert Greene explains that Mastery can be nurtured in 3 phases.

  1. Apprenticeship. This is when you learn the basics of a certain field.
  2. Creative -Active. With immersion and practice you deepen your understanding of the field and experiment with your own methods.
  3. Mastery. You have such a high level of focus, knowledge, and experience that you can see the full picture and can achieve spectacular results. It typically takes 10,000 hours of intense practice or about 20 years to attain the required combination of skills, knowledge, and intuition.

What is extraordinary about Mia Brookes is that she achieved Mastery at the young age of 16. Take away a couple of years and here and there to give her the time to learn how to walk and discover snowboarding then you have in front of you a snowboarding genius, who showed up, did her thing, and made history.

Mia Brookes on making history.

But let’s hear from the woman herself. Let’s hear what Mia Brookes had to say about how she prepared herself for the championship and who gave her the best advice so far.

You often hear athletes getting ready for a big event by doing a lot of visualization, breathing techniques, and meditation. For Mia Brookes none of that. She got into the zone in her own style. Just before she hit the slopes, she was listening to hard rock music (Rage Against the Machine and Metallica!).  She said during interviews afterward that she knew when she started the 2nd run that she had already done enough to finish on the podium so she went full-on for the 2nd run. She said: “I knew everything would be alright. That I just had to trust myself and believe in myself. I could feel it was going to happen.”

Mia Brookes gives credit to Jamie Anderson a two-time slopestyle Olympic gold medalist for her calm mentality. “Jamie has been my hero for a while now because of what she’s achieved, her mindset, and how she deals with stressful competitions. Whatever the environment, she always just seems to be really chilled out and really calm. Jamie gave me a letter a few years ago saying if you are grateful and happy you will do well in whatever you’re doing.”

And this my dear friend is Your Quest.

If you wish to support my work you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon, or from Barnes & Noble. The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

why can’t I play on the boys’ team?

On the eve of the opening of the Olympics games in Japan, my youngest daughter Alizé asked herself why can’t girls play on the boys’ team? She figured out the answer straight away i.e. because men are biologically different than women, but she wanted to look into this subject a bit more and offered to write a blog article about it. So here it is.

In Ancient Greece, women were not allowed to watch the competition, let alone participate in it! Doing sport was a ‘men only’ activity and women stayed far away from it; until the late 19th and early 20th centuries when a change of mentality in Europe and North America allowed women to make an appearance in the sports’ arenas. The differences in physical strength and stamina were acknowledged and led to the creation of female versions of male sports.

You can’t play on the boys’ team, reason 1

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing soccer with her team mates. Seoul, South Korea.

Sorry! You can’t play on the boys’ team. Men are biologically stronger than women, which does give them an advantage over women. I found out through my reading that there are two key factors that make men stronger than women. The first factor is the size of fibers, and the second is body mass index, men have a higher lean body mass percentage than women.

Let’s talk about fibers. Men have larger muscle fibers than women. Remember fast twitch, slow twitch? If you don’t, fast-twitch relates to the fibers in your muscles that are responsible for bursts of energy in a short amount of time, whenever you sprint or participate in HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) training, or anything else that’s high intensity, you are activating your fast-twitch fibers, also known as type 2 muscle fibers. When you work out and continue to activate these fast-twitch fibers, they will grow in size, resulting in bigger muscles.

Type 1 muscle fibers or slow-twitch fibers are those fibers that we are using when we practice a physical activity over a long period of time. If you run a marathon or participate in Le Tour de France, you will activate your slow-twitch fibers. Exercising these type 1 muscle fibers regularly and for long periods of time will increase your type 1 muscle fiber efficiency. In contrast to fast-twitch fibers, slow-twitch fibers don’t grow in size but allow you to use your muscles for extended periods of time. I am sure you have noticed the difference in shape between a sprinter who looks very bulky and muscular with a marathon runner who looks very lean.

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing friendly game teachers v students. Seoul, South Korea.

It’s important to take note, however, that increasing the size of either slow-twitch fibers and/or fast-twitch fibers will increase your athletic ability. Having said that, Men biologically have larger muscle fibers. Fast-twitch fibers in men are 7700 microns2 in size, while fast-twitch fibers in women are 4040 microns2 in size. This explains why men will grow larger muscles. Likewise, slow-twitch fibers in men are 4597 microns2 in size while slow-twitch fibers in women are 3483 microns2 in size. This explains that generally, men have an advantage over women in terms of strength and stamina.

You can’t play on the boys’ team, reason 2.

Over the last two decades, the number of cases of obesity in the US has increased more than 50% (from 14.5% of the adult population to 22.5% today). The primary cause of weight gain is an energy intake that constantly exceeds the amount of physical activity or energy expenditure of an individual. Studies have shown that it is a decrease in regular physical activity and not an increase in energy intake that is responsible for the recent increase in obesity prevalence.

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing soccer. Seoul, South Korea.

But coming back to the section of the population who do regular exercise such as athletes, current research shows that, although exercise and training increase the amount of fat metabolized, there may be gender differences in the way we store and metabolize fat during rest and exercise. It is well established that women have a higher percentage of body fat than men. A healthy range of body fat for women is 20-25% and a healthy range of body fat for men is 10-15%.

There are many benefits of having a high lean body mass percentage including increasing muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance, increase in agility and balance, better joint movement, plus strength and power development. To be a successful athlete you need to have power, speed, agility, reaction time, balance, and coordination. If you carry additional weight in the form of non-essential fat, it will hinder your performance by providing greater resistance to athletic motion. The additional body fat can also limit endurance, balance, coordination, and movement capacity Different athletes have different body types which fit their discipline.

Strength and power athletes such as American football players, wrestlers, powerlifters benefit greatly from high levels of body mass. Endurance athletes such as distance runners, cyclists, and triathletes benefit greatly from having low percent body fat. Gymnasts, pole vaulters, and high jumpers have to maintain healthy and lean body weight to obtain athletic success. This summarizes that even though you can change your own body fat index, this does put women at a slight disadvantage compared to men.

But you can play in a mixed team if you wish.

Why can’t I play on the boys’ team? Photo taken by Joanne Reed featuring Alize Reed playing friendly games teachers v students. Seoul, South Korea.

Generally, most sports segregate men’s and women’s competitions to ensure the sport is fair and competitive. However, not all sports completely segregate male and female competition. In some sports, men and women can compete together and they do this in two different ways. Some sports have mixed events. This is when men and women form a team (usually a duo) and compete against another mixed team. Men and women compete together and against each other in a fairway as both teams feature the same number of male and female players. You can play and compete in mixed teams in badminton, tennis, and ice skating.

There are a small number of sports such as equestrian and sailing where men and women can compete against each other regardless of sex. In these sports, the physical differences are deemed not to have an effect on the outcome of the competition. Generally speaking, girls can’t play in the boys’ team, but some sports allow mixed events to take place as long as there is the same number of boys and girls in both teams. But if you really want to play on the boy’s team, go for it! Or choose equestrian activities or sailing.

Published by Alize Reed

View all posts by alizelmyweasel

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.