training blog - confidence, It isn’t an uphill battle, it’s a downhill one
Some of you who have read my previous blogs may recall I’ve been in a long recovery process from a broken leg sustained while skiing in November 2016. In those early days after the injury, I didn’t know if I’d ever recover well enough to Ski but fortunately, I made a good recovery, and I did get back on ski’s a little under a year later. I can remember the sense of fear I had; almost like I was a beginner all over again standing while trying to muster the confidence to go down the slope. I did, however, manage some very tentative skiing from low down and even mustered the courage to go up to the top of the snow dome slope for a final run. While looking down, it was like standing at the top of Everest and psychologically it was! My friend gave me the encouragement I needed and after a draw of breath to stop my legs shaking, and a big “Come on, do it” in my brain, off I went. At the bottom, I felt like I’d won Olympic Gold and left with so much confidence and joy that I had achieved something I thought I might not ever do again but there was still a long way to go.
Fast forward then 2 years later and the opportunity to return to the Alps and see where I stood. The brief was simple - try to gain the confidence over the week to see if I was capable of still going for the next qualification level (just like I was trying to do 2 years before). Again, I had that “Everest” moment but gradually improved over the 5 days ending in a day where I was skiing behind the trainer, speeding behind him down the hill and the feeling of euphoria was unbelievable! So apart from the fitness required to ski again, what other techniques have I used to succeed?
1. No hesitation, go for it – When faced with something we are cautious about, thinking about it for too long will let the part of the brain take over that tells you to “Flight” in that all-important “Fight or Flight” dilemma; this was my “Everest” moment above.
2. Each experience is a chance to learn – Every experience is a chance to reflect and then learn what we can do differently and also continue to do well. Reflection is a great tool to give you confidence going into next time.
3. Use Visualisation – Thinking through what you are going to do and visualising a great result will trick your brain into thinking you’ve done it loads of times before; this will help you massively before you start.
4. Don’t Over-focus – Focussing on the very end goal can overstretch your confidence and send you into a panic. Break everything down into smaller more achievable tasks and celebrate that achievement building up to the end goal. In my example, this was as simple as putting boots on and off, then going on a slope and working from low and building up; can you imagine if I’d just gone straight back up to the top of the mountain on day one?