Use Positive Sports Psychology For More Powerful Skiing
Did you ever watch a downhill ski racer preparing themselves before just entering the starting gate? He or she is in deep concentration with their eyes closed, seemingly in another world. What are they thinking? And more importantly what are they not thinking? The answers to these questions have been the focus of sport psychologists for many years.
For optimum sport performance, we must think positively. Positive thinking dispels mental blocks and with them inhibitions and fatigue that can ruin your ski run. The same practice is now being used in business seminars where public speaking is so important. Negative thinking is easy and it takes less energy. Athletic power takes brawn and brain. They work together as a team. You need to psych yourself UP not OUT. Take a moment before your run and put yourself in the proper frame of mind.
Imagine a second body that looks just like you. It is your exact twin. This twin is amazing and is going down the run just the way you want to go. It goes down the run just like a great ski instructor. It skis with flawless form.
Now think about that image and feel it enter your body. See that image again and again. Know inside that you can follow that skier.
Copy every move as if you were taking a private lesson. Let that image ski the same slope over and over again before you push off. Let it pre-ski the slope in front of you a couple of times to show you the best line down the mountain.
Try it-its fun!
This doesn’t mean to let your body turn into mush. Of course not. It does mean to relax every muscle you are not using. Every muscle has a mate that’s attached to it. Its antagonist. When it is relax the main muscles has more power and endurance. When it is uptight, the working muscle has a harder time working. That’s why warming up is important- to relax that antagonist muscle so the main muscle can perform at their best. Warm up on easier runs, then go for it. Stretching is also very important and why you always see experts stretching before entering a starting gate. It is also a time to clear and focus the mind on the run ahead.
Super athletes have super concentration, but they weren’t born with it. You need to think about here and now–there is nothing else in existence at this time. You must focus completely on what you are about to ski. Focus on the run, pretend your ski edges are growing nerve endings!! Another fun thing to do! But believe me it works. Keep your mind on the business at hand. Don’t think about anyone watching. Don’t even think about your thinking. Do it. As the Nike ad says “Just do it”. Truer words were never put into a sports ad.
Gurus have mastered the art of breathing. They have mastered it to a point where they can control their racing heart. Professional ski racers also have mastered the Eastern art of mindful breathing. Many people forget to breathe when they ski. Except when they fall down exhausted. Than they let out the big lung full of air they were holding due to fear. Breathe fear out – in hale courage and power! Don’t stop breathing! Breathe out on each turn. Breathe out through the turn. On each pole plant breathe in quickly and fully! Then use that breath to oxygenate your muscles – feel the air going into your leg muscles. Now make the turn and edge those skis and breathe out! Breathe tension out during the turn! Coordinate your breathing with your turns and your fatigue level will be much less. You will have much more power.
You can’t ski upright if you are looking down at the snow. Keep your head up. Your head weighs many pounds and when bent down it cuts off your breathing. Your vision is also affected. Look at the point where you want to go. Look the passage between the trees not at the trees themselves. Your body follows your eyes. Look at where you want to go. Guide your body there!
By using advanced sport psycho-physiological guides we can ski better. We can also use the same techniques for many other sports by modeling this example of skiing. Experts in any sport including skiers don’t just happen – they get coaching in these methods that we often take for granted. Practice them. Work with them. You’ll have more fun skiing!