Canopy pilots who run a course with high self confidence are more relaxed and don’t get intimidated or anxious.
They focus on the positive, maintain optimistic thoughts and allow themselves to trust their ability in crucial situations.
Confidence can be gained by practicing, by believing in your talent, by others giving you positive feedback. You can grow in confidence by winning an event or having one sweet swoop that just felt great. Your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your ability will greatly influence your confidence.
The ultimate state of confidence that professional athletes strive for is the enduring, long-term, self-empowered confidence that is gained through quality practice, sustained success and a positive attitude.
But there are also some quick-fix methods that can boost your self-confidence:
1. Tune Into Your Patterns
The first step to gaining confidence is to examine the thoughts, feelings and situations that help you gain and swoop with confidence. Armed with this information you can focus on methods of gaining trust that are more relevant for you.
2. Take Control, Don’t Be Controlled
Don’t let challenging situations scare you and cause you to doubt your ability. Direct your attention to the methods that are within your control, such as: how much you practice; the quality of your practice; how you respond to a bad landing or vertical; controlling your mental and physical preparation; and what to focus on or think about in a given situation. All these things can be controlled by you.
3. Develop Long-Lasting Confidence
Enduring confidence is more stable and based on long-term factors such as: past success; many good approaches/landings; healthy practice; and lots of training. Situational confidence is prone to fluctuate with the demands of each competition and can change based on the difficulty of the next; how good your last one was; or outside pressures and distractions. Recall how much you have practiced and remember you have paid the dues that are necessary to compete at your level. Remember the successful runs you’ve made in practice and in competition, rather than focusing on a couple of missed gates.
4. High Confidence Not Fake Confidence
Fake confidence is believing you can do something that is truly above the range of your physical abilities or skills. True self-confidence is an inner belief in your ability without exaggeration of how good you are or the skills you possess.
5. Think, Feel and Act Confidently
Think optimistically and maintain positive feelings and appropriate actions to support your thoughts. You can hurt your performance by negative thinking, doubt, indecision and fear. Maintaining optimistic thoughts and acting poised is one way to maintain your belief in yourself during times of adversity.
6. Be Accountable, Don’t Delay
If you wait to become confident until after you have a good run, this becomes an error in mental preparation. To be a good canopy pilot, be accountable for swooping with confidence before you exit the plane or before you even gear up. Visualization of the perfect run in detail will help you set some details and make you accountable for that particular swoop.
7. You Get What You Expect
You need to imagine success. Picture in your mind what you want rather than what you fear. Imagining success means looking for reasons to swoop well rather than reasons to swoop poorly; expecting good things to come rather than fearing what might go wrong; and seeing yourself as an excellent canopy pilot rather than expecting to make mistakes and miss gates.
Embrace your next swoop challenge. Take your positive experiences and self-manifest them into your next landing.
Classy landing by Jonathan Tagle
Headline image shows Pablo Hernandez, by Mark Norman