A few weeks ago, I took my daughter fishing at a small lake near our home.
She and I packed up the tackle box and our poles, along with a little cooler filled with drinks. As we walked to the end of the boat dock, I tried to savor the moment and to recognize that these times won't last forever. She is 7 years old now, and fishing with Dad might not always rank as high on the fun factor meter as it does today.
I bought her a "big girl pole" for her seventh birthday as she was ready to graduate from the obligatory princess pole that every little girl has. The new pole is still very light, but it's longer and more difficult to wield. I taught her how to use not only her wrist for casting but also her torso, shoulder and arm.
She quickly grasped the concept and cast her lure into the exact spot she aimed for, about 25 feet off the dock.
I caught a few crappie, and although she got skunked, she was excited about her new casting ability.
After we returned to the house, we sat on the front porch for a few minutes talking. She asked a few questions about casting and why she could cast farther using the new technique. I explained a little about the biomechanics of the action, but also shared that she could make her arms and torso even stronger to cast more effectively. Of course, she wanted to know how to achieve that.
This week's exercise is the Porch Dip, which was created on the spot that evening.
1. Facing away from the porch, place both hands on the edge with the hips very close to the porch. The knees should be bent to 90 degrees with the feet flat.
2. Bend both elbows to lower your torso downward until the elbows are at 90 degrees. Once that happens, fully extend the elbows until both arms are straight. Squeeze the triceps.
3. Now continue this pattern for 12 repetitions, two sets.
The Porch Dip is appropriate for all fitness levels — and ages, for that matter. My daughter handled the exercise with no problem, and we shared a few laughs as she felt the "burn" in her triceps after the fifth or sixth repetition.
Our fishing trip reminded me that sharing experiences are what life is about. That evening, my daughter learned a skill that will serve her for a lifetime. My sappy hope is that she will remember the trip with the same fondness that I do, and that she'll be a better fisherwoman because of it.
At the very least, she will remember how to strengthen the triceps. Ha!
Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.