Recent Blog Posts

11 March, 2014

Pressure

A few hours ago, Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Medina won the Quiksilver Pro 2014 by defeating local favorite Joel Parkinson in a pretty thrilling finale.

When you come from behind repeatedly to defeat the likes of Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson at Snapper Rocks, that’s no fluke let me tell you.

The Aussie legends took early leads and dominated much of their heats. However Medina never flustered. Needing big scores with just minutes to go, he stuck to his plan, kept focused and surfed incredibly well under pressure. Handling pressure is the true sign of a performer.

But how do YOU cope with pressure?

You may never be taking on the titans of the sport like Fanning, Taj and Parko. But you, I and every other surfer will face pressure situations on a regular basis.

It might be:-

-taking off with a crowd of paddlers right in front of you (looking like stunned deer in the headlights)

-taking off with rocks or shallow reef front and centre

-trying to complete a tricky turn in a crunchy part of the wave

-going for a nose-ride when all of your hipster friends are ogling from the channel

-paddling into the biggest wave of your life and contemplating the future of your personal well-being

Beginner, intermediate or pro surfer. We all face pressure.  In fact that adrenaline component of surfing is why many of us get addicted to the stuff.

But when under pressure, many surfers drop their game and make stupid errors. Errors that are far below their true capability. Annoying? You bet! But there is a solution and it’s very simple.

What you need to do is FOCUS.

But that’s not helpful is it? Really… what does focus really mean after all?

Focus is narrowing your concentration towards things that matter. What are the little things that can help you perform better in this situation? Whatever those things are that will make a meaningful difference are the things you need to keep at the forefront of your thinking.

Examples of good focus:-

-taking off with a crowd of paddlers right in front of you (looking like stunned deer in the headlights)

-taking off with rocks or shallow reef front and centre

-trying to complete a tricky turn in a crunchy part of the wave

-going for a nose-ride when all of your hipster friends are ogling from the channel

-paddling into the biggest wave of your life and contemplating the future of your personal well-being

It’s not rocket science. These are pretty simple. But in that moment of truth, do you find yourself thinking of other stuff? Falling off, hitting the rocks, running people over, making a fool of yourself or going over the falls backwards like you did last time? These are all occurrences that have not actually happened yet and will definitely not assist your performance. Therefore they are extremely distracting to better surfing. They become self-sabotaging.

Keep it simple – when you’re feeling pressured about anything, replace any less-than-helpful thoughts by concentrating really hard on small, specifics that could add up to create the exact outcome that you want to happen. Positive reminders. Productive thoughts. Specific and useful commands. Think only of these.

If Medina had of been thinking about winning today, he would have lost. Instead he put his head down and focused on catching some inside runners away from his opponent, drawing out his bottom turns and belting the living daylights off the top of the wave.

Do you see the difference?

Ross

Tropicsurf 

Image – ASP /  Kirstin Scholtz

Video – http://www.aspworldtour.com/posts/33104/medina-tops-parkinson-to-win-quiksilver-pro-gold-coast

Share this page

    Comments are closed.