My Nordic Walking Wish List

Encouraging the growth of Nordic Walking takes cooperation as well as creativity

Earlier this week, I participated in a telephone conference with an ad hoc steering committee for Nordic Walking North America, established to disseminate information about Nordic Walking and promote it. Even it if had a budget, this would be a real challenge. With a very small pie (thus far), few training organizations, instructors or equipment suppliers appear eager to share. Feel free to jump all over me if you want to, but please do note that I wrote “few,” not “no.” I truly believe that NWNA is trying to make a breakthrough and has taken the first important step in this country to baking a bigger pie.

I’ve also had communications from frustrated people who were looking for information on Nordic Walking and found me, and from instructors and trainers who are individually trying to grow the sport in their own areas. One of the most ambitious resources that NWNA can provide is a national, searchable list, by geography, of local instructors, regardless of which training organization they went through. Creating such a list is daunting, and includes such issues as privacy. Individual instructors will probably have to be pro-active in supplying information or at least opt in. Some observers do not believe that all training organizations will be eager to provide their lists as a starting point. As one nationally known trainer said, “They all want to know what’s in it for them.”

Here’s my very personal wish list for Nordic Walking, which I ardently hope will gain traction, grow and thrive:

  • I wish that all training entities and individual instructors could think beyond what is immediately in it for them.
  • I wish that people in the competitive little community of Nordic Walking would recognize that a rising tide lifts all ships.
  • I wish that they could understand that everyone who walks with any kind of poles for any purpose using any technique and is enthusiastic about ultimately, if indirectly, benefits everyone.
  • I wish that an individual somewhere who wants to start Nordic Walking and is looking for information on how to go about it can find pathways, rather than roadblocks.

What are your wishes for Nordic Walking — and do you have any ideas of how to best go about it?

3 thoughts on “My Nordic Walking Wish List”

  1. Re: Claire's comment that there are some in the North American' industry who are saying "What's in it for me?"

    The saying: "cut off your nose to spite your face" comes to mind!

    Some may believe that much has been achieved to date, in the North American NW industry. However, the reality (from where I'm sitting 'over the other side of the pond' in sunny England); is that, regardless of what may have been achieved, so far you have failed to really capture the minds of the North American people, in a way that leads me to believe that NW in North America, will ever achieve anything like it's potential. Guys, you are still in the doldroms (as are the rest of us), although there is right now, a glimmer of hope due 'only' to the efforts of the few who have decided to come together to explore the idea of co-operation.

    I think the industry is in grave danger of becoming another passing 'fitness fad'. Sorry; but let's face reality. It only needs a brand new 'fitness trend' to come along (and it will), that really 'does' capture the imagination of the American public and Nordic Walking will be passed over. The limited pubicity that you have received to date will dry up and you will only have yourself to blame! Please, let's stop this complacency; we 'must' all work together. It is our only hope (IMO) that we are ever going to see NW fullfill it's potential.

    So here are a few of my answers to the question: "What's in it for me?"

    The long term success and survival of your business!

    "What's in it for me?"

    The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it's open. Unless you open your mind you will never find out. When the day comes and the phone stops ringing, you will turn around and wonder 'what happened'?

    "What's in it for me?"

    It is a fundermental law of the universe that one person can only enjoy the rewards of one person's effort. However, when two people combine their energies, the potential for reward is multiplied not twice' but up to 'ten' times. Now imagine the potential for reward if 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 of your amazing leaders work together in the spirit of co-operation, without worrying about 'what's in it for me?

    "What's in it for me"?

    Darn it! What's in it for me? No disrespect intended to anyone but if you (and I mean anyone, not just NW leaders) ever ask someone that question; you should be ashamed of yourself! Don't ask 'What's in it for me"? – Instead ask what can I do to help"? Another fundermental law of the universe is: "you have to give before you can get"!

    I could go on but I've probably bored you enough… If you're still reading 🙂

    To those leaders that have come on board with this exciting initiative being co-ordinated by NWNA… "You are a credit to the industry"!

    I urge anyone who has yet to commit to this initiative, an initiative that can only benefit us all… Put aside your reservations and jump on in "the water's fine"!

    Claire: I whole heartedly agree and endorse your ' personal wish list'.

    I hope that those who are hesitating to come forward read this and that they put any pre-conceived ideas and even egos on the back burner and do the most positive thing that they will have ever done yet for the 'greater cause' that is Nordic Walking e.g. pick up the phone and just say – "Ok – I'm in; what can I do to help?"

    I will finish with a couple of quotes that came out of the recent industry gathering at Santa Monica:

    "Just to witness the dismantling of the staunch exclusion barriers that stood individual organisation in direct competition with another individual organisation, which has stunted and confused potential participants throughout the years, was worth my journey from Australia".

    Mike 'Walking Wizard' Gates.

    "…there was far more that we had in common than the differences that
    had to that point too often divided us".

    Tom Rutlin.

    David Downer
    Owner / Co-Moderator:

  2. Claire and David, I could not agree more on all counts. I came to this post a little late and I am stunned that there are not a long string of comments in response to this vital undertaking.

    Claire’s comment “I wish that they could understand that everyone who walks with any kind of poles for any purpose using any technique and is enthusiastic about ultimately, if indirectly, benefits everyone.” could not be more right on in my opinion.

    Getting locked in to any one right way to “Nordic Walk” is a dead end street preventing new ideas and methods to germinate. I can easily make a completely valid case for various pole plant locations, arm swing follow throughs, stride lengths, pole lengths and straps or no straps. There absolutely is no perfect way to Pole Walk, Nordic or otherwise because it all depends on a variety of factors. Tom Rutlin’s comment “…there was far more that we had in common than the differences that had to that point too often divided us" hits the nail right on the head.

    Just my two cents …

    Happy Nordic Walking Trails


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