I love snowboarding. I’m also horrible at it!! That’s not me being negative, by the way, it’s a statement of fact! I’m tentative, wobble like a child’s toy, and leave face-plant and butt-plant marks all the way down whichever mountain I’m on! And I love it.
When Ben and I went to Bulgaria in January we had a blast. He’s one of those sickening people who’s naturally good at it. I, meanwhile, sprained my ankle on day 2, but that’s another story! It didn’t exactly stop me from strapping on a board and hitting the slopes. The trouble was though, that I was holding back (partly in pain and partly being a wuss) and Ben became MY coach trying to work out how to stop me overthinking it. A therapist over-analysing? Imagine.
The solution we came up with? Ipod. I would have a music-filled rather than thought-filled mental commentary. I’d crank the tunes and just get on with it…
This worked really well at helping me get to where I was on an instinctive/feel setting in my brain, not quite auto-pilot yet perhaps, but definitely more productive than how I had been approaching it. Since I was no longer filled with blind panic, over-thinking it or obsessing over what could go wrong (sound familiar, anyone?), I was actually able to do a better job– my best, even. I don’t think I’ll be aiming for Olympic try-outs any time soon, but I was able to give MY current best when I got my head straight! So here’s how it played out… I should add at this point in case you don’t know, that I’m a singer…
Picture the scene… Wide open empty pistes… Ben leaving me eating his powder as he sped off… And me singing my heart out as I tootled down the mountain, absolutely loving it! He would tell you that he’d get so far ahead, wonder if perhaps I’d crashed or got lost… and then he’d hear this wee voice singing away and know I was ok and eventually going to catch up! Haha!
Granted you may not have time, breath or inclination to sing as you compete (though you’d probably distract a few people if you broke out in song whilst queuing!). But there is definitely something to be said for allowing the performance to happen, trusting the training and hard graft that’s prepared you for the moment. We don’t learn when we’re panicked and we can’t give our best when our brain’s pumping cortisol!
And there’s another useful lesson I’ve learned on my snowboarding adventures…
Where you LOOK is where you’ll GO.
Your body will follow where your eyes look!
So if you don’t want to launch yourself into that chasm down the side of the run, don’t look at it!! Look where YOU WANT to go!
I bet you have a good idea already how this might apply to your training and competing… what is it for you??
Obsessing over a contact?
Weave entry making you worry?
Doubtful your dog will hold their wait?
These can all be chasms– and the worst thing you can do is focus on them!!
What’s your personal ‘chasm’? Or does it change each time? Let me know by commenting below!