I’ve had a request to talk about preparation, so here are my thoughts on the subject.
Now, there’s some very practical stuff you can do. Some of this may seem obvious but even the very best of us have human moments!
In skiing, it’s important to regularly check your equipment. Over the years, some of things I’ve seen:
- A brand new pair of skis with one of the screws holding the bindings on to the skis just turning around in the hole
- Whilst running a Masterclass for trainee and qualified ski instructors, attendees forgetting the importance of having their skis and other equipment in good working order
- A client reached the slopes and put her skis on, and when her boots wouldn’t click in to the binding discovered that the DIN screw at the back of the bindings had fallen out!
- And I’ve forgotten my gloves (last week!), lift pass, contact lenses, and had the screws fall out of my helmet visor!
And then there’s the usual checklist: lift pass, money, insurance, goggles/sunglasses (clean and scratch-free), helmet (check the use-by date and for cracks etc), sunscreen, weather forecast (what to wear), piste map and so on. I often see this checklist fixed to the back of the front door of chalets to remind guests, which I think is a great idea!
And then there’s the Headstuff: How do you prepare for skiing with nothing on your mind?
Well, I’ve been asked about visualisation, positive thinking, ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, and other techniques. And here’s the answer you probably don’t want to hear: they’ll only work when they work.
Let me explain what I mean…If you’re relying on these to kick in automatically when needed – or even worse, you have to recall them to mind when you want – they won’t work. They will rev up your mind even more and your performance will drop off significantly. That’s just putting more on your mind and having to think about, rather than having nothing on your mind.
If in the moment they naturally come to your mind as a useful thing to do – and this is accompanied by a good feeling – then by all means go ahead. Chances are, when you have the good feeling you won’t need to do any of these as that’s the clear state of mind you’re looking for anyway!
As an example elsewhere, it’s the difference between the act of meditation, and being in a meditative state. Mediation is the act of doing something to achieve a meditative state. A meditative state (a quiet mind) is frequently achieved without the act of meditation, by all of us, and is something we naturally fall into.
So, the secret is to appreciate that you don’t have to prepare to ‘get’ in the flow or ‘in’ the zone…you are already, naturally there…you just have to realise it!