So I’m sure we’ve all had ‘the fear talk’ with ourselves.
We stand in front of some snowboard jump/rail/box and start thinking about all the things that can go wrong. Needless to say, that just makes you even more scared and possibly even makes you run away with your tail between your legs.
Don’t think good snowboarders don’t get the same fear, because trust me, we do. It happens on bigger features, but we still feel the same fear.
So here’s an exact run down of how it happened to me this week and how I overcome that fear. You can do the same.
1) Scaring yourself
Yesterday (or 2 days ago by the time this blog goes live), I was sitting on top of the jump line in Whistler Blackcomb’s XL park. I took this photo:
I actually took this photo because I needed a second to stop and psyche myself up. A few things scared me.
- It had been lightly snowing, so the speed of the jump was going to be different from the day before
- There was no one in the park (good for lapping the park… but also bad because I had no one to help me judge the run-in speed)
- You do not want to knuckle on jumps over 40 feet (and this was a good 50-ish feet with a big knuckle)
So there I sat, scaring the crap out of myself. One thing crossed my mind.
I actually tore my ACL in this park 5 years ago when I knuckled the 4th jump in this park, so it really doesn’t take much to remind me that one knuckle on a jump this size can send me to another knee surgery and 6 months of rehab.
2) The “you can do it” talk never works
Okay, so we’ve all done the “You can do it!” self talk where we tell ourselves to stop being a chicken and just do it… but we all know that rarely works.
For a split second we get confident, then we remember all the reasons we’re scared and we’re back to square one. Telling yourself to be brave just plain doesn’t work.
So here’s what I do instead…
3) Why can you do it?
This is the secret sauce: Why can you do it?
It’s easy to say “I can do this!” but it’s a whole different matter to say “This is why I can do it” and go through all the reasons why. When you go through the ‘why’, you start to give yourself confidence and show yourself exactly why you can do it.
It’s basically the opposite of sitting there scaring yourself with all the reasons you’ll hurt yourself or fail. You’re simply giving yourself all the reasons you should succeed.
I sat there and went through the reasons why I can do this:
- I’ve hit this jump a hundred times before
- I did a practice lap and checked the run-in speed
- I speed-checked the jump on the previous lap
- I know the rough feeling of how fast I should be going to clear this jump properly
- I know the rough drop-in spot for this jump
- I had adjusted the drop-in spot for the slightly slower conditions
So with that, I dropped in and did a big straight air and enjoyed another couple laps in the empty park by myself.
The bottom line
The trick to this is you can’t fake it. You need to have real, legitimate reasons of how you’ve gone through the right steps to approach the trick/feature and how you’ve built your way up correctly.
So you can’t go up to a 70 foot jump as a beginner and say “Why can I do this? Because I’m a boss!” and expect that to help your fear (although I’d find it pretty funny if someone tried this).
Not only will your fear not go away, but by not correctly building yourself up to that challenge in steps, you’re putting yourself in a lot of risk.
Build yourself up to the trick/feature that’s scaring you, then remind yourself of the preparation and steps you’ve taken to get there. That’s how you beat fear the right way.