FORWARD FEAR, THE MENTAL PART (2)
Preparing yourself mentally, besides being fit, is the key to stick moves with the element of fear. But, the preparation has several phases; visualization, supportive beliefs, loading up and ignition. All phases are important and you probably recognize the part you’re interested in. I’m gonna break down the different phases however, just to give you some more insight information to better understand the reasons to succes or… to failure.
Did you watch the movie? If not, please do before reading any further. What do you feel when watching this? What do you think about going forward? Did you ever get injured during surfing? Had some hard crashes? Broke your gear? Got bruised? Seeing Boujmaa crash is a trigger as my questions are triggers also. A trigger releases memory’s called clusters. Clusters are mental images and are not only visual but a collection of information from all our senses and are labeled with an emotional code, fun or painful. So, everything we experience in life has an emotional code on the scale of pure fun/happiness to pain and trauma (the Fun/Pain mechanism). As you can imagine, the middle of the scale is neutral. Our senses are the antenna’s to the world, so everything we see, hear, taste, touch or smell combined with feeling is given meaning to by comparing it to the information in our database in the subconscious part of our brain. For example; hearing a song on the radio brings back memory’s and if you try you can recall all kinds of information from the senses at that time. Smelling something works the same way etc. The way we learn is by sensing, experiencing, doing…. adding information to our database. By experiencing we also are developping beliefsystems to feedforward our survival; fire is dangerous, water is fun and… forwards are painful. So, in a lot of times, painful experiences in the past makes us avoid possible pain in the future and we are warned by fear. I’ll get back to that later, I like to start with the Visualization phase.
Visualization is key in understanding the complete move. We are using the mirrorcells in our subconscious brain to simply copy behaviour and if you practice dry you can built a complete motorprogram. The forwardloop is more like rolling over one shouder, like in judo. Use slowmotion movies or photoseries to get an example of the move. Having visualized and rehearsed it’s just simply starting the motion and everything else will follow, like an autograph. Put your pen on the paper and write it down. It has a beginning and an end and it doesn’t matter if you write it down big or small, the motorprogram is adjustable without changing its original form. If you make it an exercise, try starting in the middle of your autograph and finsih it. Your conscious/cognitive part of the brain is taking over now and it’s hard to be fluent and smooth. The motorprogram is not in the conscious part of our brain, it’s in the subconscious part. So, we have to feel and execute moves not by thinking in movement parts but by connecting to movements we already master, using existing motorprograms like rolling, pulling, stretching, crawling etc. Don’t think about in what angle your knees and ankles are when walking, what time your weight is switching from the right foot to left and what your arms are synchronizing during the movement… JUST F*CKING WALK! So in my opinion, breaking down, practicing movement parts is a waist of time and may only serve a function in learning how to fall in the water… in most cases, been there, seen that, done that.
Limiting and supporting beliefs
In part 1 I was talking about commitment and acceptance. And they both are connected to underlying beliefs. Let me state some of the beliefsystems; if I fail I’m a loser, if I fail I’m nothing worth, if I try I’m gonna hurt myself, I’m going to break my board, I’m waisting my time, I can never do this, I’m too old to learn, I’m a waverider not a jumper, I’m not as talented etc etc. By using the conscious and cognitive part of your brain you can simply ask yourself the question if what you’re thinking is really true. This is what all psychologists do in RET, Rational Emotive Training. And, you can build some new beliefs that are more supportive and inviting. For example; ‘failure is the key to succes’, ‘if you do what you did, you get what you got’, ‘if you don’t go you won’t know’ etc. Hurting yourself by being precautious by using a crashvest, extra neopreen layers for your butt and a helmet, spinlooping instead of going over the mast to not break your board and maybe if he can, I can. And yes guys, two weeks ago, at the age of 47, I sticked the first forward in my first attempt after really committing myself for the first time. Using rolmodels to compare yourself with, absolutely helps. But this is all the cognitive/conscious part of your brain and not the emotional/subconscious part and only helps in the setting up phase of your attempt. In a scheme;
Behaviour (getting your forward on a pic) is visible through our decisions (I pulled the trigger and went for it), a result of the goal I set (I want to stick a forward), supported by belief (I can do this and I know how) energized by a positive emotion (joy, pride, power and fun) triggered (stimulus-respons) from the database (our subconscious). So, now I’m down to the most important part of the preparation to a forwardloop, loading up and ignition. That’s going to be the last part of this article. 50 likes, by pressing the button above… COME ON!!!
Rider: Iballa Moreno Photo: John Carter, PWA Word Tour Gran Canaria