One thing every snowboarder deals with is injuries. Nothing new there right?
However, there are two types of injuries and you’ll deal with them VERY differently.
- The small injuries and broken bones that don’t require surgery
- The big injuries like torn ligaments and complicated trauma requiring surgery
The first injury is simple to get past. You take a small amount of time off, heal and get back into it. Nothing major and it doesn’t really knock the wind out of your sails.
However, the second type hurts, and I don’t mean physically. It hurts mentally and emotionally and it can sap a huge portion of your confidence and unfortunately, a large majority of snowboarders will have to deal with the second type of injury eventually.
Only a handful of snowboarders out of all the avid snowboard bums I’ve met over the years have been able to snowboard a lot while avoiding a major injury and I consider them to be extremely lucky.
So… if the majority of riders have to deal with this second type of injury, I think it’s important to know how it will affect your confidence and how to make sure it doesn’t cripple your confidence as a rider because so many snowboarders get that major injury and never fully bounce back from it.
Why your major injuries WILL change you as a rider
Before you have your first major injury, you’ll feel a little invincible. You’ll get smaller injuries and bounce back from them easily and even difficult snowboard tricks and techniques seem doable if you work at it.
It’s like when we were kids and we were so brave with everything because we didn’t know about consequences. However, over the years many of us lose that blind confidence in our abilities because we learn that there can be real consequences of our actions.
So the big problem is after a major injury you go from feeling confident to suddenly having nothing to base your confidence on because you’ve just realized that “Oh… I can tear my ACL and have to spend 12 months in rehab learning to walk and run again.”
Suddenly you realize every jump can break you and every mis-hit rail can break you and you learn the consequences of really screwing up and that it really can happen to you.
How to get confidence the smart way
What you need to do is shift where you’re getting your confidence. Don’t base your confidence on just that feeling of not knowing the consequences and feeling brave, but base your confidence on how prepared you are and what you’ve done to be ready.
So for example, many snowboarders pre-major injury rely on that blind confidence to psyche themselves up to hit their first 20 foot jump. Then they get that injury and their whole world crashes down because they suddenly realize the consequences and true dangers to themselves.
Instead, you want to be the snowboarder that approaches your first 20 foot jump, and checks off what you’ve done to prepare and what you’ve done to work your way up to that 20 foot jump.
You want to draw your confidence on the fact that you’ve done everything you can to break it down and master the required techniques and practiced your way step-by-step to that 20 foot jump.
You want to be confident because you’re prepared, not because you don’t know any better. This type of confidence is harder to break and a major injury won’t instantly take it away from you.
Yeah you’ll still have to re-gain your confidence and there will still be some fear you have to get past, but it’s a lot easier to come back from injury and have confidence in yourself when you base your confidence on being prepared and checking off a list of things you’ve done to prepare, instead of having blind confidence that can crash down at any moment.