Posts Tagged ‘will rhea’

Will Rhea: Barefooting Benefits Other Sports

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Barefooting is my favorite sport, only slightly above basketball and football. I put up my barefoot gear for the winter, then finished my football season last week, and now I am about to start basketball. I was just thinking that I am lucky that my favorite sports do not overlap, and I can give each sport my full attention when it is in season. Barefooting actually benefits my athletic performance in both football and basketball, both physically and mentally.

Physically, barefooting has made me stronger and tougher. It has improved my balance, and helped me to break tackles in football. The balance helps on the basketball court as well. Barefooting has also improved my core strength tremendously, which helps in any sport. Also, the hard falls in barefooting have helped me to jump up quickly after being tackled.

Mentally, barefooting has also made me stronger and tougher for other sports. It has taught me to try harder when I fail and make mistakes. It has also taught me not to think about the past, but to focus on the present, and what I can control right now.

Will Rhea

Will Rhea, Dealing with an Injury

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

I had my first true barefooting injury in July, while skiing at the WBC. I have always had to deal with bumps and bruises from barefooting, but never anything serious. This time, however, I had a bad fall on a jump that made me lose my breath and my ribs were in a lot of pain. I tried to keep skiing through the pain, but it just got worse.

I was so disappointed and did not want to stop skiing. I kept trying to ski, but my focus was on my ribs, and not my skiing. This was not how I had planned my training time! I had several days left at the WBC, and two upcoming tournaments. I took the next two days off to rest and recover.

The morning I tried to ski again, as soon as I crunched my abs forward on my toe up, I felt a pop and a jolt of pain, and I lost my breath again. I was in even more pain than the first time. This is when I knew that I could not ski anymore.

I was so crushed and disappointed to have to stop skiing. I missed out on competing in the Southern Regionals, as well as Nationals. I did enjoy watching my sister, Lizzie, compete though.

I went to the doctor as soon as I got home, and he said that I had damaged the cartilage on the front of my 8th and 9th ribs. The pop I felt was my cartilage. He said that I had probably bruised it on the first fall, and did more damage by trying to keep skiing through the pain. He told me that it would take 6 to 8 weeks to heal, and that I had to be inactive for at least a month (which was the worst part)!

It has now been 6 weeks, and I have been cleared by my doctor to ski again. I am not in pain anymore, and I am so ready to try to ski next weekend! I will never take my health, and the opportunity to ski for granted again!

Will Rhea

Will Rhea: Learning Barefoot Turns

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

The first time I went to the World Barefoot Center I was very anxious to learn turns. Swampy quickly put me in my place and told me that there was a strict progression to turns. I had to learn all four toeholds behind the boat, as well as the line step position. By the end of last summer, I was ready to learn, but it was October, so I did not have much time. My goal for this summer is to learn turns.

The first turn I tried back in October was with David Small, and he wanted me to try it on my feet. I fell on my first back to front, but landed my second one. He told me to try a front to back next, and I landed my first one. I did not realize at the time that it would not be as easy as it seemed on those first few turns!

The more I tried, the more I fell. After you take some falls, it starts to get in your head, and it causes you to be more defensive – which means more falls! Before turns, most things in barefooting came easy to me. I have come to the point now, however, that if I want to learn something new, I am going to have to take a lot of hard falls.

I also have to work a lot harder to keep a positive attitude. I have realized that without a positive attitude and mental toughness, you cannot succeed in barefooting. I know that I will have to stay confident and positive and be willing to learn from my mistakes and keep trying. Barefooting is not easy!

Will Rhea

Will Rhea: Jumping at Worlds

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

I was very lucky to be chosen as a member of the U.S. Junior barefoot team for the 2014 Worlds in Australia. I had only competed in one tournament, but I learned to jump inverted at the WBC, and that became my ticket to Australia. I really want to thank Swampy and the ABC for taking a chance on me, and giving me the opportunity to compete at Worlds. The entire experience was amazing. It was by far the most fun trip I have ever had.

Having just learned to jump inverted in October, I was very nervous when Swampy told me that I had to land a jump at Worlds. I landed two jumps in the first round, and thankfully made it to the second round. On the ride back to the condo, Swampy told me that I had to land an 18 meter jump for the team. I started to get nervous, but inside I knew I could do it. All I could do was pray that God would help me do my best, and that helped me not to be so nervous.

Thankfully, I landed my first jump in the second round. I heard everyone cheering, and found out that my jump was exactly 18 meters even! This gave me a huge boost of confidence, and with Swampy’s coaching, I landed my third jump at 19 meters even! I had made it to the finals!

I was the first jumper on the water in the finals. I landed all three of my jumps, and the biggest one was 18.7 meters. I was very happy to finish strong, and I sat down to watch the other jumpers. After everyone was finished, Ben Groen came up to congratulate me on winning a bronze medal. I was very surprised and excited at the same time. It was the greatest feeling, and I think that was the best part of the trip for me. I will remember my first Worlds forever!

By Will Rhea



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Will Rhea: Crossfit for Barefooting

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

I have always been very active and I love sports. My two favorite sports are basketball and barefooting, but I have also played football. My parents have been sending me to Clint Cox, trainer and owner of Do Work Training, for two years now to help me with my athletic performance. I go two days a week, and do crossfit type workouts.

These workouts can get tough, but they have helped me with things like my overall strength, agility, and my vertical jump. I have noticed a huge improvement in all three categories since I started working out with Clint.

I have been working on my toe-ups for barefooting this past year, and struggled slightly getting up. I had to rock forward a little too much. I told Clint about it, & he showed me an exercise to help make my toe-ups a lot easier. It is called a pistol squat (squat on one leg, while holding the other leg straight out in front of you). I started out in a chair, then went lower and lower until I could do it on the ground. After doing pistol squats for a couple of weeks, my toe-ups were easier than ever!

It was an awesome feeling to improve at something as a result of my extra workouts. I would recommend cross fit type training to all athletes, of all ages and abilities. It really helps to prepare your body to do what you need it to do, in whatever sport you love!

By: Will Rhea

Will Rhea: Lessons from Barefooting

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014


I love to barefoot water ski. It is a fun and challenging sport. Over the years, barefooting has helped me grow mentally and physically stronger, and I have learned some important lessons about life from the sport.

Barefooting has taught me to be more respectful of my parents. They are the ones who make the sport possible for me. It takes a lot of time and money to compete in the sport, and I am thankful that they support me.

Barefooting has also taught me that if I want something, I have to work hard for it. I have learned not to quit when I fail, but to work harder. I do not expect to get things right away like I did a couple of years ago.

If I had a hard fall when I was younger, I was done for the day. I would get very mad and give up easily. The WBC instructors have taught me that messing up is just part of the process of getting better. I have learned that no matter how many times I fall, I should not give up until I succeed. Now, every time I learn a new trick, I want to succeed no matter how many falls I have to take.

It is a great feeling when I know I tried very hard and I succeeded. That is a life lesson for many things. Barefooting has helped me become more mature in so many ways. I am glad to be a part of this sport.

Will Rhea

Will Rhea: My First Barefoot Tournament

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

My Dad taught me to barefoot water ski when I was 7 years old.  I loved to play around on the boom and try new things.  Wakeboarding was my favorite though, until I discovered the cool barefooting videos on YouTube.  By the time I was 10,  I was watching barefooting videos all of the time, and wanted to try everything I saw in those videos.

My sister and I became interested in learning 3 event last summer, while watching the WBC livestream of Nationals and Worlds in Texas.  We decided to go to the WBC to learn how to do it.  We spent 10 days there this summer.  The WBC instructors taught us so much, my sister and I decided to try our first tournament at the end of July.
The tournament was the Southern Regionals, and it was held at Lake David, in Groveland, Florida.  At first I was a little nervous, but it got better after I watched a few competitors skiing.  It also helped that my sister, Lizzie, went before me.
I did the slalom event first.  I scored a 7 doing front one foot slalom.  I had not learned to go on one foot backwards yet, so I did the back slalom on two feet.  My total score was an 8.5.

The next event was tricks.  I fell getting up, but was very lucky that the judges gave me a re-ride.  I did a forward and a backwards run, doing all of the tricks I had learned, in time.  My score in tricks was a 1500.  After tricks, we took a break and ate pizza.

Next, it was time for jumping.  I had just learned to jump the day before the tournament, so I was a little nervous.  I missed the first jump, but landed the second.  I tried to go big on the third one, but missed again.  I ended up with a 7.9 in jump, but everyone congratulated me.

After the tournament, Mr. Mike Holtz treated everyone to dinner at a Mexican restaurant down the street.  It was awesome, and everyone was so nice.  I enjoyed the Southern Regionals very much, and plan to go back.  My first tournament was a great experience, and I look forward to many more.