Having “The Fear”: Part 2

by Fraser

A while ago I posted about having the fear, in particular, me losing my confidence and ability to ride kickers. I also mentioned how much I now relied on my amazing impact shorts.

This happened back in January 2009. When I returned to Morzine this year in March, I was dead set on correcting what had gone wrong. I was determined to get my confidence back and hit the Chapelle Park kicker line, again and again. It was a strange feeling: part of me wanted to go to a different resort so that I couldn’t hit those jumps, the other part didn’t want to consider any resort other than Avoriaz, because I felt like I had to conquer the fear…

But it didn’t happen. After spraining my ankle pretty badly on the first day, I didn’t really snowboard after that. Obviously I was disappointed to miss out on the snowboarding, but equally bad was missing the chance to tackle the confidence issues.

And so the fear has lingered.

Here’s how it goes: I’m riding at a jump and I want to go slower. Consequently my platform for take-off is all wrong. I’m assuming here, but I think the result is that I sit back, away from the jump, and end up with my weight over my heel edge. Straight airs just don’t work like that. I’m totally off balance in the air…

Looking back, it’s actually been a long time since I was regularly riding park jumps. 2007, probably? I think a big part of the problem is that I’m rusty. For example, when we went to Castleford last Friday, I was hitting the kicker. For the indoor slope, it was fairly decent. Not big, but ok.

And I sucked on it. I’m not going to say that the fear was kicking in, although in the back of my mind there was something making me put too many speed checks in, but I was just bad. Sometimes I was taking off on my heels a bit, and when I was flat, my timing was off, I couldn’t ollie at the lip. The result was a load of straight airs with bad balance…

How am I going to get better?

Get comfortable. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was considering quitting that kicker in favour of rails and boxes, when a friend told me to keep at it. And that’s what I did. I decided to stop thinking how badly I was doing, and just ride the kicker. Just keep hitting it.

And a few positive things happened:

  • I enjoyed myself. I was having fun despite being considerably worse than I’ve been in the past.
  • I actually got a couple of really nice airs – a mute tail bone and a silky smooth ollie come to mind.
  • I got that feeling of repetition. Just doing it over and over, and getting comfortable. That’s the place I need to be.

At this stage, the stop worrying about being bad was key. I stopped expecting to be able to ride the jump how I used to be able to ride kickers, and just got on with it. The jumps were bad but I was landing everything and not having negative thoughts on approach.

So my plan is to do more of the same. Reset my idea of what I can do, and just ride kickers. Get comfortable. Get in that place where the next thing I try is a small addition to something I can do over and over. I need to get back in a state where I can improve, rather than worrying about getting it all wrong

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