Waterskiing is one of the most addictive sports. It’s great to practice and do better every day, but there is nothing compared to the fun and the satisfaction of wining. To do so and to be in the top of the podium you need to have mental strength.
Slalom skiing In a tournament is usually 4 to 6 passes. Each pass last 16.08 seconds (for the men) and 16.95 (for women and kids). Between each pass they will stop the boat to shorten the rope and wait for the water conditions to be ideal for 30 seconds aprox. The skier that wins is the one runs more buoys with less rope. To be in a world class level the skier needs to run buoys at 10.75mts witch means that the rope is 10.75mts long from the boat to the handle. And the distance from the boat to the buoys is 12mts.
Here is how you can train yourself to become mentally stronger and achieve a better performance:
1. Always think positive: Get a list of 5 to 10 things you do best a) Agility b) Balance c) Great turn in 2, 4 and 6 d) Great style e) Lots of experience
2. Get yourself short and long term goals a) Run you hardest past plus two more buoys by the end of the year on a Record Capability Tournament b) Get invited for the pro tournament in the next couples of years.
3. Get a game plan on how you are going to achieve those goals. a) Get more into mental strength b) Practice 8 to 10 sets a week c) Get coaching from top coaches like Chet Rely once a month d) Video analysis at least twice a month e) Get into a fitness routine f) Get into a nutrition routine
4. Overcome your mistakes with solutions Concentrate on how to fix the mistakes (solutions) instead of focusing in the problem. For example if you are falling in one ball at 11.25 mts instead of thinking why you fell think what you need to work to get to two ball.
The most important part of waterskiing is that you have fun and that you enjoy it as most as possible. And what makes it most gratifying is to know YOU are the best. It doesn’t matter if you are the best of your friends, club, country, pro tour or the world.
To be able to ski good in competition you’ll need a lot of good practice as well as mental strength.
Here are some recommendations for getting better in competition:
Ski constancy: Being able to ski good in tournament is not a matter of good luck. It’s a matter of a lot of practice with consistency.
a) Always run your opening pass. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, windy, if you have a headache, cold, etc. Don’t be intimidated if you start to slow or with a very long rope. ~What counts it’s where you finish not where you start~ The objective of an opening pass is to stretch, to feel the water, the wind conditions, boat, driver, and getting ready for the next passes.
b) Ski with tournament conditions: Perfect Pass as close as possible to actual times Measure your rope and handle. Have your slalom course survey Try to ski with a good boat driver but it’s also good to ski with different boat drivers
c) Get to know your equipment: Now a day technology plays an important role in any sport. In waterskiing Carbon Fiber has played a great role in making skis lighter and faster, but also more fragile. You need to know that skies do give up. Get to know where the fin works better for your type of skiing, where the bindings are balanced depending your position, etc…Your rope and handle gets a lot of stress from all the practice, so be aware of this and don’t wait until it breaks.
d) Practice in adverse conditions: How many times have we got to the best man made lake in the world and the day of the tournament a cold front showed and there are white caps all over the place? Many of the biggest and most important tournaments are in places where the spectators matter more than the skier. As a result the conditions aren’t good at all. Try to practice as most as possible with wind conditions, with different boats and boat drivers, and without stopping at the end of the lake (so you will have back wash). This way when you get to a tournament with these conditions you will feel confident and not intimidated.
e) Go out to run at least 24 buoys in a row each practice session. This means running your first 4 passes complete. It’s important the number of buoys you run VS the number of passes.
All this will help you become mentally stronger and more consistent. Still you need more to win!
You need to know how to do your personal best under pressure.
Here are some tips so you can do your best in a tournament:
1. Breath: Learning to breath can give us the power to relax and focus. Breathe deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth for a minute or so. Concentrate on the noise of the wind that is created while inhaling and exhaling. This will give you a mind peace. By doing this you will focus on the present and stop thinking of the past. Once you practice this and manage to relax within the first couple of deep breaths you will be able to do it between passes.
2. Focus: There are many focus exercises that you can try. The idea, is to practice a lot before your main event.
The best time to focus is when you wakeup or before you go to sleep. That is when we have our mind relaxed the most.
Sit down in a balance and in a comfortable position. Take deep breaths for a minute. Inhaling from the nose and exhaling from the mouth.
Concentrate on the sound of the wind going into your nose and out of your mouth. Start picturing yourself in your hardest pass.
Picture yourself from the moment you make your deep water start. Try to imagine colors, noises and smell that surround you.
Pull out for the gates and try to run a complete perfect pass, the way you would like it. It might be hard at the beginning and probably you are only going to see yourself running one or two buoys. But don’t give up! Keep trying until you can do it complete and perfect. Once you do in mornings and nights, try to apply it before you ski.
There are many exercises that can help you focus: a) Try to do video analyze your best passes and try to do it every time before a tournament.
b) Have some great pictures of yourself skiing or someone you admire
c) Watch a video of someone better than you, pause it and picture yourself doing the same.
d) Watch a video of yourself doing something wrong, pause it, and the picture yourself fixing the problem.
e) Think of someone better than you and write down 5 to 10 things you admire of him:Andy MappleArturo NBalance109Technique108Smoothness87Agility98Constant speed88Though107 7.8
Compare and Evaluate yourself in a range from 1 to 10 (10 being the best) on each thing you wrote down and make an average.
Everyday repeat this evaluation depending on the result of the day practice and try to score higher every time.
3. The day of the tournament: Sadly, with waterskiing we only have one chance to do our personal best.
Sometimes we never had a chance to ski at the lake before the tournament, you may never had skied behind that driver and boat, probably it may be very windy, very rolly, or we have the pressure of everyone expecting us to ski great.
I suggest before your tournament you try to do a list of things that will make you comfortable, for example:
• If possible go a day or two earlier to practice at the lake where the tournament is taking place.
• If you are traveling a long way don’t ski as soon as you walk out of the car or airplane; Take a long walk, drink a lot of water, and stretch whenever you have a chance.
• If it isn’t possible to practice before a the tournament, arrive earlier to the lake and take a walk around. See if it’s a short set up, how long they stop between passes, wind conditions, etc.
• Have a starting order and make a calculation off aprox. 5 min per skier and take your time
• Have all your equipment ready.
• Go to a comfortable zone, stretch, breathe like you have been doing on practice, focus and visualize yourself running your personal best.
• While you are visualizing yourself make a game plan on what to do. Never tell your self what NOT to do. Our brain doesn’t understand the word NO.
a. For example, if I tell you to not pull your arms in. What did you visualize?
• Always tell yourself and other skiers what they should DO.
• Remind yourself all your great things you can do:
• And make a sentence with those words affirming that. Example I’m one of the most agile skiers in the word.