Skiing-with-Confidence: How to build yours.

Skiing-with-confidence makes all the difference between enjoying it, and not doing.  But the kind of thing in the picture, just doesn’t work.  There is no point in someone, or ourselves telling us to “Be Confident”.  If it were that easy it would not even be a topic,  never mind one as important as it is.  You might just as well say “Be Taller!”

This kind of thing doesn't work - just saying "Be Confident". But there is much you CAN do to get there.

This kind of thing doesn’t work – just saying “Be Confident”. But there is much you CAN do to get there.

This “just be confident” admonition is a something-for-nothing policy.  Like most attempted short cuts it saves time in getting you to somewhere that isn’t worth going in the first place.

To ski-with-confidence is a process, not an event.  You generate it internally and it does not automatically happen.  Like so much else, to be any good you have to work at it.

More, below the fold – read on 

Pictures of people looking smug don’t help either.

Pictures of Mr. Smug don't help either - they just make you hate them.

Pictures of Mr. Smug don’t help either – they just make you hate them.

Do not think that because pictures and posters like these don’t work, then nothing will.  In fact there is a very great deal you can do to lift you own confidence in your ability to pull-off what  you want to achieve.  You have to work at it.

The first question you need to answer is – “Am I in fact prepared to work at it?”.  Or – “How much work am I prepared to put in, to give myself the chance of having the confidence level I really would like?”

Skiing-with-Confidence – when is it justified?

You won’t get self confidence automatically.  You generate skiing-with-confidence internally by processes you can learn.  The world outside of us does not impose either confidence or lack of it.  And it may not be irrational.  If I currently feel a low level of self-confidence about skiing the Poubelle Couloir at Argentiere, then at my age, I’m probably right.

But if I really wanted to do it, and if I went to the trouble of practicing enough, I could build-up the level of difficulty of the descents I practiced until they were just short of the Poubelle’s challenge.

Then, by working on my self-confidence about it, I could rely on the extra focus I would have, and I would give myself the very best chance of succeeding.  You can, if you think you can, but only within reason.  If you are not a bird, don’t throw yourself off a cliff parachute-less however confident you feel.

Skiing with Confidence: base it on truth.

We’re not easily fooled, especially by ourselves.  But you can easily under-rate yourself.  You will not feel confident if you have no foundation for it, and you won’t believe it if you just tell yourself you are.  You need to build it, and have some foundation for it.  That way you will not only be able to believe it, it will be true.  These things are not do-able in “one bound”.  We are not living in a schoolboy adventure book.

We don’t get anywhere by telling ourselves to “be confident” in some situation, such as a black bump run, if the truth is that we simply don’t have the technical ability to pull it off.  We can’t “get confident” first, and then expect that to translate into skillful performance.  But you can have sufficient skill, and hide it from yourself by lacking a confidence level you deserve.

Don’t deny your real strengths.

You need to examine not only the situations in which you lack self-confidence, but also the strengths you have.  Don’t deny them.  Never tell yourself you have none.  You do have them.  Search them out, and remind yourself about them.  They are the foundations upon which you will build the self-confidence you want.

So, for example, you may know that on a blue slope you can effect a whole series of short-radius arcs, but they break down sometimes if the snow conditions are not perfect.  Avoid like the plague then telling yourself “I can’t do this”.  Temporarily it may be true, but it is too crude a description.  You are not taking any of the nuances into account.

Better, to say, “I can do this on good snow on blues.  Now the snow is less good, what do I need to do to make this work?”  The answer might well be, to not ski this slope at all, or if already started just hack your way down as best you can while avoiding self criticism, and get over to a suitable good blue slope.

Once you are there, set about examining and practicing those required arcs, until they are absolutely second nature to you.  Then, find a short slightly more difficult run, feel the challenge, grit your teeth, be determined and you will find that you have made an improvement.  You may not be perfect, but you will be on your way.  And that will help you ski-with-confidence.

How does the skiing-with-confidence process begin?

You begin it by going over some key aspects of your personal experience.  You are best advised to work on them along with your coach, rather than on your own.  Here are the first few –

  • Explain what skiing-with-confidence means to you.
  • Think back to any occasion (it doesn’t have to be skiing) when you felt a high level of self-confidence, and write down what you noticed
    (feelings, thoughts, sounds, what you were focussing on)

    • Name the occasion:
    • Describe in detail what you noticed:
  • Now pick an occasion when you lacked self-confidence.
    • Name the occasion:
    • Describe in detail what you noticed.

Work with your skiing coach.

When you have done these few things as thoroughly as you can, contact your skiing coach to take the process further.  If I am your skiing coach, or if you have no access to one, or if we already have an ongoing relationship because you read my blog regularly, then email me your results, and we’ll take it further.

If you need help in developing skiing-with-confidence just ask me.

Leave a Reply