Skiing courses and Self Confidence. Part 2

Skiing courses often do not address self confidence issues.  Self confidence is built by you as I explained a week or so ago in part 1.

Falling skier

We all do it, even the experts. Better Skiing technique helps!

I identified some of the stressors that work against you when you are building your self confidence.  Here are some, again –

  • expectations of disaster
  • negative mental images
  • a belief that you may not be up to the job.
  • thoughts of failure or inadequacy
  • thoroughly misplaced perceptions of the next bit of slope – an endless list really.

All of these have a predictive quality about them; they are forecasts.  Forecasts are seldom right.  Read on 

We all think in words, and many of us also think in pictures. Forecasts are seldom right, but imaginings make outcomes more likely.  Therefore if you imagine yourself in the picture above you’ll more likely set up behaviours that help bring it about.

It’s all about choice and discipline.

What if you chose to imagine this instead?  It is after all, your choice.

Self confidence

Not a time for gross movements!

First of all consider that what you think is a choice.  That what you think sets up the environment in which your behaviours occur, and that your behaviours set up your outcomes.

So clearly you can change your (likely) outcomes – maybe not 100% but certainly giving yourself better chances – by changing your thinking.  And it is exactly that – a choice.  You have to choose to do so, and then actually do it.

Words programme our minds.  We continually have an internal monologue going on and all too often it can be negative.  A famous French footballer once described this as like have a little duck sitting on his shoulder when he was taking a penalty, and continuously quacking “you might miss this”.. “if you miss it you’ll be ashamed”.. “you’ve missed them before, you could easily miss this one as well”.  And so on.

He explained this when on an NLP course and said the answer was to shut the duck up.  It’s a choice.

Self confidence and realism.

On our skiing courses I frequently teach skiers who have unrealistic current expectations about themselves.  In consequence they think they should be better.  There is no reason to think so – they are where they are in their skiing because that’s where there skiing path has led them.  Hopeless instructors.  Too little time getting the fundamentals right.  Unhelpful family taking them on inappropriate slopes and so on.  But they arrive with excessive expectation.

That’s ok.  Nothing wrong with that.  UNLESS they then judge themselves against those unrealistic expectations.  If you think you should get 100% you might be disappointed if you get 99%.

In consequence it would be much better to not have any expectations.  Just experiment and see what happens.  This is not easy to do but at least – no value judgements please!

So here’s a very simple and I promise you very effective tool to help you begin to change your own self confidence.  It works.  I’ve personally proved it.  It can fee a bit weird at first, but fortunately it’s free so you’ve nothing to lose.

I myself, when learning to become a skiing coach went on skiing courses that did more to destroy my self confidence than help build it.  Lots of sneering from teachers who seemed incapable of understanding my difficulties.  As a result I used these techniques to overcome them.  It works.

Self talk and/or images

First make a note of typical things you say to your self, or picture.  Then ask if they are task related or emotionally related.  E.g.  “I can’t stop my skis from sliding away” or “Soft snow scares me”.  The one is technique related, the other just emotion.

Self statement or image


or Emotion?


Take a few minutes to look these over.  Get to know them.  Get to be aware of them.  And make a mental note of what outcomes your self statements and images helped to bring about.  And they did help to bring them about – those outcomes didn’t just come from outer space.

Now, the next step is to find a way of changing these situations.  And this is just as simple.  The key to success with it is to be ahead of the game.  In addition you know that in certain situations you talk yourself down and you know how you do it.  Plus, you will do it again next time if you do not have ready, already in place, a better alternative which you have practiced – the practice is important because you need to feel psychologically comfortable with these substitutions.

Turn your negatives into positives.

After you have become accustomed to your chosen new phrases and pictures you can use the old ones as a trigger,  a cue to fire-off the new one.   Here’s another very simple form for you to turn you negatives into positives, and I’ve put a few examples from my own experience.

Current negative self talk

Replacement positive phrases/images

I can only make four arcs in powder before I fall over

That’s ridiculous – if I can make arcs, then I can make arcs. This time FIVE just to prove it!

I get too scared on steep slopes

I’ll not be beaten. Stop. Calm down. Execute just one arc. Repeat.

People will think I’m a “wimp”

Doesn’t matter what people think I’m going to give it a “go” and see what happens.

I “ought” to be good at this by now.

WHY? All I have to do is persist and I’ll get there. Not being good now doesn’t mean I won’t be.

Can self-confidence building really be this easy?

I didn’t say it’s easy.  I said self-confidence building is simple.  Trouble is, that simplicity makes some folk think this is too simple;  how could this possibly work?

Well, it works by slowly shifting the way in which you think.  That shifts the way you perceive your self.  What it does is to create a new, happier, more hopeful environment in which you can more easily change your behaviours ( what you DO) which progressively changes your outcomes.

Following on from that, what next then?  If you don’t believe me – try it.  If do believe me – try it!  You have to decide to be more self-confident, and here are your first tools to do it with.

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