Power Up Your Contest Surfing Performances - with Mental Training
Having the confidence to show your best moves under pressure is one of the qualities that separates the best, from the rest. Welcome to mental training.
Are You a Surfer Who Performs Your Maneuvers Even Better at Contests than when Freesurfing?
No, not many do. So if the answer is yes, congratulations! But if not - mental training can quickly help you become the competitor that surfs your best maneuvers brilliantly under pressure.
It also gives you that vital confidence to go for waves and maneuvers that you may not have previously had the confidence to go for.
The perfect surfing performance (such as when you are in The Zone - the peak performance mental state), always happens instinctively - and not from consciously thinking through all your moves.
Which makes sense as that's not what you do when you are freesurfing, either - you only think hard about the moves when you are practicing a new maneuver for the first time.
All those instinctive moves come directly from your own memory bank, with your subconscious - and by training your mind, you learn how to plug into this, and bring out the magic when you need it - at the surf contests.
You can spot surfers without mental strength a mile off, because the unexpected errors only come out when under contest pressure.
Pressure of competition events oftens brings out problems which simply never exist when relaxed freesurfing. eg. confidence issues, playing it safe (not going for difficult maneuvers or big waves), massive nervousness etc.
"Surfing is 80% mental"
Layne Beachley - 7 time World Champion
"When you are in the moment you can tap into all the energy around you and use it to create your destiny"
Garrett McNamara - surfer of the highest wave in the world
The good news is that any surfer can dramatically improve their contest performances - because confidence, board skills, your whole range of maneuvers, courage, acceleration, balance, control, determination, endurance - and virtually everything else you need - can all be 'programmed' in, yourself - using techniques like visualization.
This is where you mentally imagine handling the most difficult sets, waves and conditions brilliantly in your next contest. To make this more effective, its best to include various amounts of detail - the venue of the contest, paddling easily through its whitewater and currents, successfully taking big, medium and small sized waves, etc.
This helps you to mentally 'experience' aspects of the next event, even before you get there - so when the day arrives, you will feel mentally in sync with the environment and conditions.
Visualization is just one of aspects of your mental preparation - as your mind already knows exactly how to perform your entire range of maneuvers, in all kinds of wave conditions.
So you also need to be able to free your mind of mental clutter, so your surfing can 'flow' automatically during the contests. This can be achieved with regular relaxation techniques.
Luckily these two techniques work well together, firstly using a relaxation method - as this moves your mind into the correct mental state, ready for visualization.
Then you follow this with your mental surf 'programming' - 5-10 minutes of vividly imagining surfing at your optimum level, in all conditions, to suit your next competitive contest.
Do this on a regular basis, particularly in the lead up to an event - and you will notice the changes and improvements over the weeks and months ahead, particularly in your contests.
For those of you who prefer to be guided through the entire experience, with hypnotic suggestions included as well, I created a surf program which has had excellent results, see below.