Love him or hate him, but with 2 Olympic gold medals and 11 Winter X-Games medals, Shaun White has arguably become the most successful snowboarder in the history of the sport.
If you’re not big into the snowboard community you might be wondering “Wait, people hate Shaun White? Why?”. Well… that’s a whole different blog post. I’ll save that for tomorrow’s blog since it’s a pretty long topic.
A very brief background on Shaun White
He started snowboarding at 6 years old. By the time he was 9, he was good enough to gain the attention of action sports star, Tony Hawk. Video footage shows him pulling Mctwists (frontflip 540 in the pipe) by the age of 11.
He won his first x-games medal in 2003, at the ripe age of 16 and has won a medal at every x-games since then, often placing first. He shot into public recognition after winning the gold medal at the 2006 Olympic games for Superpipe.
In 2009, after many rumours of ‘double corks’ (double inverted rotations) being spun by him, he blew everyones minds by showcasing the tricks you just saw in the video above.
He won the gold medal again at the 2010 Winter Olympics which shot him into uber stardom and made him a recognised name outside of snowboarding.
Oh, and did I mention that he’s also a professional skateboarder who has won the Summer X-Games gold medal for skateboard vert.
What we can learn from him
It’s safe to say, that even if you hate Shaun White, there’s something you can learn from a guy who’s this successful on the competition circuit. So, how did Shaun White become so successful and how can we learn from him?
1: 90% mental, believe that you can do it
In a competition in Europe, several years ago, Shaun failed to land his run. What did he do after the competition ended? He hiked back to the top of the slopestyle course, dropped in, and stomped his run. It didn’t count for anything so why did he do it? Because it’s 90% mental. He believed in himself so much that he had to prove to himself that he could land that run.
A lot of the time, you’ll be competing against yourself. You have to believe that you can and will land that trick. Having confidence and believing in yourself is 90% of what it takes to succeed.
2: 10% Practice, practice, practice
How does he transition every year between snowboarding and skateboarding and still stay at the top of both sports? He practices like crazy.
One report, several years ago, showed him battered and bruised and his shoulder was possibly separated after a long day of practice. What did he do the next day? He iced his shoulder all night and went back the next day and did the same thing.
Talent may help him but practice is what makes his talent shine. What was Shaun White doing when you were watching youtube videos for 2 hours? Practicing.
3: You need to want it. Really really really want it.
Does Shaun want to win every single time? You bet.
In this 2007 Summer Dew Tour, he fell on his run at the 4th stop. He then proceeded to slam his skateboard down in disgust. Forget for a second that his display was pretty childish and immature. Lets look at why he was angry.
He had won the first 3 stops out of 5 total. He had already secured himself the overall title win with his previous run. So why was he mad? He wanted to win every single stop.
If you want to win, you have to really want it. Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having a good time and just wanting to snowboard with friends and have fun. That’s important and you should never forget to snowboard for the fun of it. You can do both. Have fun and try your hardest.
You need to have the mindset that says you’re going to go for your goal and try your best to attain it. You can’t just kinda want it. There’s no ‘maybe it’s okay if I don’t go 100% on this one’. Go for it. Do your best. Don’t half at it.
Do you think Shaun White goes into a contest thinking, “Maybe it’s okay if I don’t try to win this one”? No. He’ll try his hardest and put everything he’s got into it.
Okay so Shaun White does all that… now what do I do?
Pick a goal. Any goal. But make sure it’s a goal that you think will make you happy in life. Make it a goal that really means something to you.
Now: Believe in your goal, practice as hard as you can towards your goal, and always try your hardest to attain your goal.