When reading surf magazines, we often come across articles about surfers riding giant waves and endless barrels. Images of pristine beaches make us dream of surfing paradise destinations. Pro-surfers winning contest after contest inspires us to be on top of the game, living a healthy life full of surf adventures. But what does it really take to live a life of optimal performance?
Well, for passionate surfers like myself, life isn’t always as we want it to be. We are not pro-surfers surfing and training every day. The best amongst us surf every morning or every sunset before and after working hours, but often it’s only during the weekend that we can surf, and perhaps plan a few yearly trips. These surf moments become so precious that we want to get the best out of them.
I remember when I was living and working in Sweden, I only surfed once or twice a year when flying to Morocco or Indonesia. It was so hard to get back to a good “surf form” after an extended period without being in the water. It was only at the end of the trip that I would enjoy the paddle without having sore muscles and getting my surf reflexes right. Luckily, things have changed since then. I live in Bali, I surf at least once a day, and also surf trip regularly.
The thing is if you would like to get the best out of your surfing you need to be at an optimal performance level. No matter if you are a regular surfer or only go into the water occasionally. If you like surfing as much as I do, you want to develop the right mindset to progress and perform at your best.
In this optimal performance surfer series, I will be sharing tips with you that will not only help you become a better surfer but will also improve your mental and physical health. The methods I will be writing about are used by professional athletes, and widely thought of by mental strength professionals all over the world. I will break them down to you into simplified practical steps.
I will be showing you specific tools for both mental and physical health. I’ll share techniques to help you become more focused and sharp, how to deal with pressure, anxiety and fear and how to boost your confidence level. There will also be episodes about building motivation, time management, fitness for surfers, and nutrition.
ROUTINES, DISCIPLINES AND HABITS
When we think of optimal performance, the first image that often comes to mind is one of the world-class athletes who has broken records. What they achieve is a result of countless hours of practice, focus, motivation, discipline, and resilience. Winning athletes have all used the same patterns and methods for achieving success in their chosen fields.
Now some of you might be reluctant to the idea of sticking to routines, but what can you achieve without a minimum of some sort of consistent effort?
This is because the idea of doing the same thing at the same time every day makes you feel like you are losing your freedom. The idea of having to do the same thing over and over can make you feel restricted or bored. We call this “value conflict”.
Take for example someone with a strong value for improvement and as well as freedom. This person might want to have a higher level of accomplishment to fulfil a need for growth, but because he doesn’t like disciplines, he may at the same time unconsciously sabotage his success because of the conflicting value of freedom.
Discipline and routines won’t stop you from having freedom in your life. You need to redefine what freedom means to you. If you want to grow a muscle, you will need to lift weight regularly. This regular practice is what will give you results.
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practised every day.” – Jim Rohn –
Everything that I will be sharing with you in this series will require a minimum of discipline to make it work. It might be a little challenging in the beginning but imagine how it feels to be more focused, healthy, flexible, and ultimately become a better surfer who’s also in tune with himself. If you think this isn’t something for you, you can stop reading here.
WINNING IN LIFE AND WHAT IT MEANS
Surfers often have a natural lightness of living, and we can surely appreciate the surfer’s positive mindset. A lot of people could learn from our way of living and thinking, but what makes a surfer’s mindset so different?
Surfers live up to their own values, they do things that matter to them, and they are guided by a set of values which has a strong impact on their wellbeing.
Think back to when you started surfing – how did you feel and what did it bring you regarding sensations? A feeling of freedom, happiness, joy, excitement, togetherness, belonging, and love for nature and the ocean? Whenever someone “wants” something most of the time this is ultimately driven by an underlying value or set of values. Values are what we stand for. They are what we believe are the fundamentals of our happiness.
This leads us to the first lesson about a life of optimal performance: Living in accordance with your own values.
Whether you are after being healthier, free, or simply the joy of riding a wave, you need to be conscious about what drives your motivation today and how much you are willing to do to keep it consistent tomorrow.
MOTIVATION IS THE KEY
If you have been reading this far, this means that you are willing to do the work and learn how to perform optimally. Great! So here are a few questions to start with:
. What do you want specifically in becoming an optimal performer?
. What will it specifically feel like to be an optimal performer?
You will most likely come up with goals, not values, but keep on digging with this sequence of questions:
. What is important to you about …. [goal]?
. What matters to you here?
. Let’s say you already have … – what’s more important than that or what do you value more?
The answers will give you an idea of what you value most. For example, you might value passion, excellence, discipline, enjoyment, and personal growth.
Choose your top 5 values, then put them in order of importance.
And then ask yourself what simple things you could do daily to reach your values?
This will be the foundation of our work. Your answers will be your reminder and focus point to staying motivated to reach your goal of optimal performance for surfers.
- Surfing is fun, but if you want to enjoy it really, you need to be in optimal performance.
- Reaching optimal performance needs a minimum of dedication.
- Use your values as a reminder to keep you motivated.