National Technical Team member, Adam Gardner, weighs in with some tips and tricks to help you prosper this season. These are some great tips for you to consider from one team member's perspective -- we encourage you to use them as a starting point, and experiment / research for yourself on ways to implement!

I am sure by now that all of us are aware of the benefits of starting the season in good physical shape. Some of us put some extra effort into pre-season training and some of us keep active enough over the off season to organically transition into sliding. 

Either way, the physical act of snowboarding has probably started to enter our minds. At the same time, I think it's safe to say that most of us have some questions about this upcoming season and are feeling some level of uncertainty. That's why I think this year especially, it is just as important for us to mentally prepare alongside our physical preparations for any challenges that could arise. 

Overcoming mental obstacles and roadblocks has always been a big part of snowboarding. My experience has shown me that snowboarding requires a certain degree of mental toughness, as well as physical toughness. So why is it so easy to overlook exercises in the mental preparation department? 

The greatest riders are super athletic, but also very mentally tough. All riders from beginner to pro are constantly dealing with mental tests such as overcoming pain, frustration, fear of terrain, the cold… the list just goes on and on. If you are mentally strong you will be able overcome demanding situations without too much distraction, too many excuses, or any other emotional influence. 

Which brings me to one of the key points of my discussion: what is mental toughness and how can we get better at it? 

While every person may have slightly different opinions on what it means to have mental toughness, I see it as overcoming and sometimes excelling through situations that are challenging, frustrating or downright uncomfortable. 

As instructors many of us deal with mental struggles firsthand in ourselves (think of an unexpected course result or getting handed a never-ever lesson on a pow day), and we've all certainly seen it happen to our students. 

The first step at getting better at dealing with these situations, is to become aware of them. 

Situations can snowball toward a breaking point quite easily, testing you on the daily. On the upside, practice defusing inconveniences or frustrations before they have a chance to compile, this can be an effective way of gradually building mental strength and clarity in small situations. This helps cement the same reaction pattern when much larger, more stressful situations arise. 

As far as getting better at becoming more mentally resilient goes I have a few things that I try to become aware of and implement into my daily life: 

1- Don't take the easy option. 

Force yourself to do something that is slightly more challenging instead of cruisy. The world is full of gadgets marketed to us to make everyday life easier. Don’t let ease and efficiency make you weak- take the stairs not the elevator. 

2 - Put yourself in intentionally uncomfortable situations. 

I think we all have a few things that make us uncomfortable, pick something and make yourself do it anyways. Start with something basic, take a cold shower once in a while. 

3 - Reflect on your reactions. 

Things happen, and most things are out of our control. The only thing you can truly control is how you react to a situation. Think back on how you may have reacted poorly to a situation or what triggered you; do better next time. 

4 - Put your ego aside. 

Don't let something petty hurt you. Try to realize that when it comes to what other people say and do, whatever got under your skin probably wasn't a direct attack on you anyways, unless you have trigged a reaction from someone else. Example: “but that A-hole just cut ME off!” Well unless you cut him off first, that probably wasn't a direct attack on you. You’re not that important.

5- Try to see some light in the worst situations. 

“Damn, I broke my leg and can't snowboard. Well to make the most of it, now I can spend some time taking that online course I've always wanted to do.” There is almost always a silver lining to every scenario. Look to the future positives. 

Just remember, start small to prepare for bigger challenges. 

It may take lots of time to practice and gain awareness to build mental strength. You are guaranteed to slip up - just be aware it happened and do better next time. 

I hope that this gives a few of you a glimpse into some things I have been working towards. Being more of a ‘snowboard guy’ and less of a scholar, writing this article has been a way to challenge myself and intentionally put myself into an uncomfortable situation. This can be a challenging topic, but with they way things have been going it is proving to be a pivotal one. 

Have a great season no matter what it may bring you! 

Thanks for reading, 

 

Adam Gardner 
CASI Technical Team 

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