Have you ever gone through a patch (maybe you’re in one right now if you’ve clicked on this article!) where you know that you are perfectly capable of landing a trick, but for whatever reason, you just can’t bring yourself to commit?
Sometimes even the act of trying it can be a battle in itself. It’s not that you don’t know how, or that you haven’t landed it yet – You might have legit done that trick hundreds of times, but find yourself in this weird situation where you can’t bring yourself to commit.
1. Positive Self-Talk
If your self-talk is negative, and you are telling yourself that you will fail at something, chances are you probably will. Conversely, if you are telling yourself that you are capable of dropping into that 6ft ramp, or board sliding that handrail in town you’ve been eyeing up all winter, then it starts to become much easier to visualise yourself doing it, believe in what you are manifesting, and to actually go get it done.
Your psyche is always listening to those self sabotaging thoughts – so remember to be kind to yourself!
2. Managing Expectations
One of the most helpful things to remember, is that no one notices your mistakes as much as you do. Most of the time, people probably aren’t even paying attention to whatever you’re doing with your skateboard. Instead of being embarrassed, or getting worried about what people are thinking about you, do whatever you need to do to help you land your trick, in your own time, and in your way. That could be anything from a mini meditation before you drop in, setting up your phone to film and watch back your progress in real time, or even giving yourself a little pep talk before a skate.
Do whatever you need to do to feel confident, and remember that you are probably the only one who notices – and definitely the only one who cares!
3. Take A Step Back
It is SO easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated when you can’t land even the most basic of tricks, and it’s even easier to make the same mistakes over and over again when you’re in that kind of headspace. Whilst ‘just go for it’ works for some types of skateboarders, in some types of setting, it’s important to remember that small, steady steps are vital for anxious learners, because jumping the gun can lead to self doubt and a lack in confidence. If we find our guests are ‘stuck’ with a trick and not progressing, we take a step back and focus on some of the easier tricks we learnt prior, perhaps go back to learning with hands or whatever methods feel the most comfortable.
Rewinding, and taking a step back can make such a difference in rebuilding that confidence and getting back into that focused mind set.
4. Put Yourself in Your Friends Shoes
Whenever I struggle with a trick, I always ask myself: “Would I be getting this mad and speaking to my workshop guests in such a negative way?” And the answer is always most definitely no. If my guest was trying their best, I would never get frustrated, angry or disappointed. Reminding myself of this helps me to relax about my own insecurities.
Asking yourself how you would react if your friend was in a similar skate dilemma will help you to realize that your insecurities aren’t as terrible as you make them out to be in your head.
5. Speak To Someone Who Knows
Sometimes, all that’s needed is a fresh perspective, another way of ‘seeing’ the trick and I find it really helpful to ask someone who can do the trick in question. There are a lot of factors to consider when trying a trick, not just feet positioning and weight distribution, but also where your shoulders are facing, where your head is turned to, how sometimes you need to flick your toes out or grab them around the coping like some sort of little hand claw.
It’s almost impossible to know everything involved, even if you did, it’s likely you’ll forget when it comes to actually trying. So, phone a friend, ask the audience, or book in a skate lesson or workshop!
Mental blocks are frustrating, and sometimes they come out of nowhere. They happen to the best of us, from hobby skaters to Olympic athletes.
What’s important is identifying how and why you feel the way you do when it happens, and trying different strategies to overcoming it, are how you can come out the other side.
It’s true, sometimes you do just have to pull the trigger and force yourself to commit to a trick you are feeling nervous about. But, practicing it as much as possible, and making yourself try it in as many different parks, on as many different obstacles as you can, will help you to build the confidence needed to get that trick on lock.
Once you make it through something like a mental block though, it becomes much easier to face those inevitable, future challenges!