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The value of confidence and 'getting over fear' (for lack of a better word) - Page 4

post #91 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
Are there others? I thank you all for some suggestions i hope to try and look forward to others' tricks too.
For overhangs/drop offs.. one instructor took to skiing me UP them... as i would not ski DOWN... Skiing UP the slope first allows you to assess how it feels... a quick turn and you go down what you have gone up... and you can choose how far UP you go and so limit the amount of DOWN...

If you ski UP a slope often enough(and then down) it becomes a bit less daunting when you look down from the top... after all the straight down bit is far easier than the UP TURN DOWN you have already done... (don't ask but it works - that is all I can tell you about them) Weirdly enough you need speed to go up - which never seemed to occur to my rather limited brain to assess that a drop with no momentum should have been safer.
post #92 of 155
nolo: I call bullpucky that women are more susceptible to "paralyzing fear". I am especially incensed that the argument is being promoted by a woman. Usually this kind of "arguing for limitations" of females is from the other side--cf.

Actually, the fact that testosterone can help diminish or eliminate some fears certainly supports the premise that on average women will be more susceptible to fear and will show more hesitation to throw themselves into a dangerous situation. After all, women have much less testosterone than men, generally speaking.

I will go even further and say that men, as they grow older and have less testosterone (and perhaps more brains ) are more susceptible to fear and take less risk. Just about every middle aged man I know, would tell you that they won't take anywhere near the risks they took when younger. They might talk about responsibility, family, kids, but that is just a macho way of saying - I am scared to risk my neck.
post #93 of 155
I don't think that this thread was proposed as denying fear exists in men or women; or that there are many levels of fear. It asks the question of how to deal with fear constructively to allow you to do what you WANT to do. Gender really has little to do with it. As I get older I experience more of the feelings described by TomB. The terrain that scares me is nothing to some people, but I think would make some other's hair stand on end with...paralyzing fear. I have been gripped and had to turn around from an objective I wanted. Personally, I think those situations would be possible with the right assistance, encoruagement and skills. Being taken against your will to a frightening situatoin or to terrain that is outside your personal objectives, is a different matter than wanting to accomplish something more than you have been able to mentally or physically, or even retaining the ability to decend lines you enjoyed as a younger person. I believe the original poster and Jedijodi (who never returned), were seeking such tools, not sympathy.

FWIW, I think the charge over the brink method is awful. I ski many lines that I think requrie careful analysis of obsticals and exposure and some thought of the route. These lines are not visible without hanging your skis over the edge. If you are unable to take the time to analyze your line without being gripped, you don't belong on the line.

I'm a bit disappointed not to see some input from the pros on their suggested progressions for overcoming fear to tackle acheivable goals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post
Actually, the fact that testosterone can help diminish or eliminate some fears certainly supports the premise that on average women will be more susceptible to fear and will show more hesitation to throw themselves into a dangerous situation. After all, women have much less testosterone than men, generally speaking.

I will go even further and say that men, as they grow older and have less testosterone (and perhaps more brains ) are more susceptible to fear and take less risk. Just about every middle aged man I know, would tell you that they won't take anywhere near the risks they took when younger. They might talk about responsibility, family, kids, but that is just a macho way of saying - I am scared to risk my neck.
post #94 of 155
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=42219 bit of a similar discussion last summer, with a few detours, albeit no pros on that one either.
post #95 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
FWIW, I think the charge over the brink method is awful. I ski many lines that I think requrie careful analysis of obsticals and exposure and some thought of the route. These lines are not visible without hanging your skis over the edge. If you are unable to take the time to analyze your line without being gripped, you don't belong on the line.

I think there is a major difference in context here. That is not remotely the type of situation I was talkiing about, and I suspect that is not what the original poster was talking about either.

I'm thinking of a relatively easy trail that goes along flat and then rolls over a short steeper pitch. The challenge is largely psychological -- i.e. it isn't really dangerous for anyone, just scary. (Think Bear Claw at Killington, for those who've been there). On a busy day, there will be a crowd of people milling around at the spot where the slope changes. I'm sure a lot of those people are fretting themselves into a worse and worse mental state.

I discovered the benefits of keeping moving back when I was one of those people. I would stand there, get my self psyched out, tense up, and when I finally started, blow the first turn. If I just slowed enough for reconnaisance, I could keep making decent turns.

An objectively dangerous line is another matter altogether. (And I suspect, by the time anyone gets to such situations they have long before figured out their own approach.)
post #96 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=42219 bit of a similar discussion last summer, with a few detours, albeit no pros on that one either.
Thanks for the pointer CTK. This is the sort of thing I was looking for:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan View Post
I don't think fear of exposure (whether skiing, boarding or climbing) is fundamentally different than the fears of never-ever skiers: Beginner skiers are deathly afraid that they will not be able to stop, will keep picking up speed and "get killed" (even tho they are only on a 5 degree bunny hill). Beginning rock climbers are afraid that their protection will rip out (even if top roped), their belayer won't be paying attention, etc. Beginning glacier walkers are afraid that the other members of their rope team won't know how to self-arrest, rig a rescue, stepped on the rope with their crampon and didn't say anything, whatever.

It all comes down to the perception of trusting your life to your own skills, those of your team and the capabilities your equipment. If at some deep level you have doubts about any one of these things, it eventually comes out. Address each of them, and for most non-phobic people, the fear eventually goes away. The problem is that "addressing the issues" really means building confidence in them, and this might take years of experience at gradually increasing levels of difficulty.

It's not "repeated exposure to exposure" which works, but repeated exposure with periodic demonstrations (at increasing levels of difficulty) that the protection systems in place (eg, knowledge of avalanche risk, ability to self-arrest, ability to ski/board the slope, ability to survive an unexpected night on the mtn, etc.) really work.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM
mdf, I probably should not have read the "charging" advise through the filter of where I try to overcome my personal challenges. Otherwise, my post was fair to all abilities and gender. Effective tools for dealing with fear are more accurately described by Tom (Physicsman), for ANY level of skier / terrain, than the suggestion that charging will solve the problem for most skiers. It certainly must work for some however, and there does come a point where if you have the skills, you should be able to put them to use without thinking about it in detail.
post #97 of 155
TomB, put me in the group that doesn't want to believe that we're governed by hormones -- I prefer to believe that we are governed by free will. We choose. One of the students at Stowe asked if we meant "perceived skill" or "confidence at doing" and I answered that they amount to the same thing. If fear is a problem, become more skillful. The process will enlarge your self-image.
post #98 of 155
Bullpucky, is it? Against all the empirical AND scientific evidence, apparently it's "bullpucky".

Well, back when I was young, I took steroids and played men's sport, which was a lot of fun. And I experienced how men are affected by fear. There's a surge of excitement, power, almost anger, and it's a real rush (or "buzz" as someone else said). I noticed it as before, as a kid and young teen, heights and steep ski slopes had me curling up like a dying spider.

When I stopped playing muscle sports and stopped the medication, gradually this reaction went, and I re-experienced my old female fear, looking down a ski slope and visualising smashing into rocks, hurtling into the abyss, and my limbs would freeze up; they'd become heavy, clumsy, and unwilling to move.

Now I can ski most things, but occasionally I get that feeling again, usually while looking down a drop-off I've got to negotiate to get to the run. I can control the fear much better now, because I've had lots of practise, my skills are strong, I have tactics and tricks, and dealing with the fear in a positive way has become a habit for me.

I teach a lot of women, and when I outline my ideas on female vs male fear, the women start nodding, while the men look puzzled and then want to argue about it.

To say that identifying female fear is to denigrate women is to buy into that old chestnut that men define what is good and right. How about looking at it a different way: women are different, not less-than.

Who said that hurtling down something dangerous with adrenaline surging through the brain and body is such a good thing? Especially if the skills don't match the endeavour. Women who experience gut-drawing limb-freezing fear can expect to hurtle down that hill too, but they will get to the point of doing it differently, and when they get there they'll have just as much fun but riding the ragged edge of disaster won't be a part of it.

I think we're at a stage of social development now where we can recognise that men and women are different, without it being some kind of put-down.
post #99 of 155
No, I'm sorry, stereotyping is stereotyping. I'm agin it.

All women need heel lifts.
All women should move their bindings forward.
All women are fearful.
All women love pink.
Bullpucky.
post #100 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Tiger View Post
For overhangs/drop offs.. one instructor took to skiing me UP them... as i would not ski DOWN... Skiing UP the slope first allows you to assess how it feels... a quick turn and you go down what you have gone up... and you can choose how far UP you go and so limit the amount of DOWN...

If you ski UP a slope often enough(and then down) it becomes a bit less daunting when you look down from the top... after all the straight down bit is far easier than the UP TURN DOWN you have already done... (don't ask but it works - that is all I can tell you about them) Weirdly enough you need speed to go up - which never seemed to occur to my rather limited brain to assess that a drop with no momentum should have been safer.
I like this method.

I have been teaching several students so far this year in the level 4/5 area, and fear of steeper slopes seems to be a consistent theme with those students, which include women, children and yes, men. I will add this to my bag of tricks.

I will admit to having experienced this same petrification once before, on a steep slope with very limited visibility from blowing snow. I got part way down the slope and simply froze up. I simply could not move. (Several members of epicski observed this happening.) It does happen to men, but I do think men tend to be embarrassed by it.
post #101 of 155
Quote:
put me in the group that doesn't want to believe that we're governed by hormones -- I prefer to believe that we are governed by free will. We choose.
This is a false dichotomy, in my opinion.

To say that people aren't governed by hormones is like saying that we're not governed by the laws of gravity. (I prefer "affected by" to describe both.) However, despite any effects of any physical differences, we are governed by free will, and by choice. I agree with Cirquerider above; the original question was asking for recommendations about how to assert that free will.

I agree with nolo that it's an overgeneralization to group "all women" into a set (empirically, after all, nolo doesn't agree with some of the feelings that have been described). But I don't think that's the point that people who are bringing up the testoterone studies are trying to make.

The original point wasn't about "all women", but was to try and conger some empathy. It's hard to believe that anyone else can feel anything differently than the way that we do. So some of the suggested strategies -- "just do it", etc. -- for helping people who feel this way (whatever their gender) may not work as well.

Quote:
If fear is a problem, become more skillful. The process will enlarge your self-image.
Here we're in total agreement. But there are different approaches to becoming more skillful. For me, the most successful have been where I haven't had to master the skill and my fear simultaneously.
post #102 of 155
btw - natural testosterone variations exist in women too. The "athletic fingerprint" is all in the ring finger (same for men and women)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15038135/

All this stuff is the very interesting nature/nurture debate once more. DNA sets the stage for a lot the more we find out.
post #103 of 155
Nice post, Delta. You added exactly what was needed to clarify my points.
post #104 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
Nice post, Delta. You added exactly what was needed to clarify my points.
Yes,,, it kind of brings us right back to what Little Tiger was saying, doesn't it: that hormones can have an influence on how we react to fear. Just as Delta said, I saw no instance where she made any suggestion that hormonal influence was equal gender wide. Just recognized a tendency and provided scientific study evidence, then was brave enough to share with everyone her own battles with fear.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
I would also submit that your attempting to play the gender card is utterly bogus.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nolo
I call bullpucky that women are more susceptible to "paralyzing fear".
If we have new standards around here, I suggest two more time outs are in order. Talk about BULLPUCKY. We're looking at it.
post #105 of 155
Sadly and ironically, now that I have empirical knowledge of the horrors of severe injury, I almost have a fear of being overly confident. As I've said in other threads, I was hurt a time when my skills were at their best, and my fears were almost non-existent. Unfortunately, when I lost my fear, I lost my common sense.

Now, whenever I start to regain confidence, it makes me anxious. Talk about a vicious cycle!:

I did discover something funny this weekend. At Copper, I had to do my surveys at Solitude, which meant that I had to ski down in uniform. I noticed that the uniform seemed to inspire the out of control morons to steer clear of me. Since my biggest fear is of crowds, in any situation, I was very pleased to have my line completely to myself. Big increase in confidence!
post #106 of 155

Fear is a subjective thing

I've noticed that when we talk about this subject--and we certainly have talked it up over the years, almost on a par with the threads on the advisability of wearing protective headgear--it always gets personal. While pondering why that is, it occured to me that it is the nature of the subject to get personal. Fear is a topic in which we are all equally experts, eh?

So everything that's said either rings true to our experience or it does not. As Delta said, all we need is one nonconformist to spoil the celebration.

This stuff, there's no right or wrong. People are complex biological creatures with multifaceted baggage of varying inconvenience to them that they deal with through the usual means. The point I am trying to make is that each of us is more than our makeup, greater than the sum of our parts, if you will. Just like the Wizard of Oz told the Cowardly Lion, everybody already has enough courage, "they are no more courageous than you!"

This is an extremely deep subject that we cannot hope to cover here, as HRStrat said. Let me just say one word about teaching approaches when fear is an issue.

Empathy. Defined as a capacity to participate in the feelings of another. If you can do that you will build TRUST, a word that truly deserves the capitalization. Then you can begin to expand the envelope through improving skills, which creates a virtuous reinforcing feedback loop.
post #107 of 155
Everyone has a fear or phobia of something. I'll admit to my fear of dying. Maybe the one fear we all share. As I get oler and wiser in my 56 years and the older I get, the more death becomes less of a fear and more of something expected. The less this fear comes into play for me the more I feel alive. Able to enjoy things more rather than take them for granted. What does this have in relation to skiing? I don't really know. What I have found myself doing in my middle years is taking chances and doing things and enjoying them that I never would previously. I'm hiking to backcountry staches and chutes and skiing stuff that previously I didn't because of responcibility to my Family and my well being. And, some fear.

Greater than the fear itself, is the fear of failure. The fear of failure has held more people back from doing what they really strive to succeed in. I've never had fearas a skier. Since age 3 when I first put the straps on my boots and slid down our back hill, I was hooked. I excelled all these years never fearing injury in my search of thrills on the ski slopes and other places. I feel sorry for those who have so much fear it keeps them from advancing their abilities. If this fear is so great that you can't overcome it, it might be better to enjoy other ways of Winter excitement. Snowshoeing is one way. Why kill yourself?
post #108 of 155
My greatest weapon against fear in my students is the stem christie. I try to acclimate my students to steeper and steeper piitches from week to week. I do this by teaching them a stem christie. They may need it eventually anyway, so why not give it to them early in their learning. I can then use the stem christie to take them down steeper stuff than they are used to. I can tell them just do one turn and stop. Once they know they can stop, I let them link two turns. Very shortly after they can link two turns, they can link turns to the bottom. Often they will try centerline turns on their own as they approach the bottom of the steeper sections. After I do the steeper stuff, the regular terrains seems almost flat to them and I can get them to ski much less defensively, and closer to the centerline. I view getting them to ski steeper terain as like stretching a rubber band. If I keep stretching it it gets looser, and then I can stretch it even more. I pay very close attention to time of day, and try the most challenging terrain between 10 am and 11:30 am, and between 1:30 pm and 2 pm. After 2 they are probably too tired. I do not like to challenge them first thing in the morning or right after lunch.
post #109 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
Everyone has a fear or phobia of something. I'll admit to my fear of dying. Maybe the one fear we all share. As I get oler and wiser in my 56 years and the older I get, the more death becomes less of a fear and more of something expected. The less this fear comes into play for me the more I feel alive. Able to enjoy things more rather than take them for granted. What does this have in relation to skiing? I don't really know.
Nor do I Lars, do try to stay on topic. Perhaps you could take your pending mortality issues over to the supporter section to find console, or I'm sure there are geriatric forums out there somewhere in Internet land that you could seek, but don't hijack skiing threads. Thank you so much for your compliance.
post #110 of 155
I have a fear of pain. If I am looking over a cornice or such, I cannot help visualizing a bad landing, I really try to over come it by "attacking" the mountain. Self talk helps with me. If I am not up to snuff with how I am skiing or what I am capable of, I tend to get upset with myself. One of the things I have found is that I am not as "comfortible" in the air as I was when I was younger.
post #111 of 155
Phil, does "self talk" instill confidence, or suppress the fear? (I see them as two different things)
post #112 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
If I am looking over a cornice or such, I cannot help visualizing a bad landing,
Not being able to visualize yourself sticking something (or skiing something cleanly) can definitely be cause to back off, think about it some more, and then come back when you can clearly see yourself launching, airing it out cleanly, landing, and then the nailing the runout.

Thinking cliffs here....I rarely hit something "on-sight" if its the first time. Usually I'll study it for awhile, see how the snow fills in both the takeoff and the landing, study previous skiers tracks, bombholes, and run-outs; and then visualize myself doing the same thing before hitting it.

Prior to doing that my confidence is usually pretty low. My greatest fears about these things are all the unknown variables so I just take a little time to learn about them more until I become comfortable.

(clicking picures enlarges)
Scope. Discuss. Figure out all the unkowns.


Visualize. Visualize. Visualize. In this instance I had to watch two of my friends go first to be able to say to myself, "yeah, I can definitely do that." Then I had to mark my exact takeoff on the snow and back up and make three trial runs at the lip to make sure my speed was right and that I was indeed visualizing myself correctly. I've gotten to this far on lines before and it still wasn't feeling right, so I might back off at this point too.


Then execute, keeping that perfect visual you had of yourself sticking it at the forefront.


Then it's on to the next fear to get over...

Kinda funny -- In my day job, (business development for a pharmaceutical development consultancy), I frequently find myself in high-pressure situations, giving presentations in front of large audiences with alot riding on my performance (large contracts). No matter how many times I've done it before, I often get those 'stage-fright' jitters before hand....and they're very similar to the feelings I have somethimes when standing on top of a big cliff. One of the methods I've taught myself for overcoming my irrational fear of getting up in front of that audience is to visualize myself on top of a line or cliff that I may have recently stuck. It calms me right down. Something to the effect of, "Well, if I can do that, I can do this.". And for some reason, it makes things alot easier for me. One of my favorite things about skiing are parallels and lessons you can learn to take into everyday life. Overcoming fears is just one of them.
post #113 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
I've noticed that when we talk about this subject--and we certainly have talked it up over the years, almost on a par with the threads on the advisability of wearing protective headgear--it always gets personal. While pondering why that is, it occured to me that it is the nature of the subject to get personal. Fear is a topic in which we are all equally experts, eh?
Some are more expert than others, as they have not only there own fears to deal with, they are responsible for the management of the fears of others. Those of us who have been in the business of fear management for decades know that patterns exist beyond free will, that fear in skiing can be a totally debilitating 3 headed monster, and that hormone levels definitely can and do play a role in the equation.

And of course it gets personal,,, this is an Internet forum and many people come here to sort out their own personal issues in skiing. Nothing wrong with that, in fact a good teacher with EMPATHY will expect that a poster here may bring a personal twist to their posts, will recognize their fears and perspectives as legitimate, and will strive to help them.

Good teaches do not criticize and personally attack a student for their perspectives, they work with them, and sometimes they learn from them. Much learning is available for the taking right here in this thread. Less is available if voices are ignored or squelched.
post #114 of 155
Rick, surely we are all teachers and all students here, the idea is to share learning. If a "student" or a "teacher" is unable to consider other ideas, then nothing will be learnt, that's where polite discussion comes in.

Perhaps some people with a great deal of knowledge are afraid of taking part in discussions because they will be told they don't know anything. It would be a shame that those who are not as articulate do not feel welcome, or encouraged to add their insight, because they fear the over-confidence and self-centredness of others.
Does that make sense, because I hate it when people's ideas are ignored, cause they suck.
post #115 of 155
Tyrone,

If I was standing where you are on that edge, my legs would be jelly. My biggest drops have been in the 20's as far as feet, not the "H-Airs" you are doing. I appreciate your words of encouragement, visualization is key. Self talk works well for me too. I completely beleive that there is more than one way to learn this, what works for me, might not work for somone else, but I am willing to be open to other ways of learning. I try not to be closed mind to just one thing.
post #116 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by WTFH
Rick, surely we are all teachers and all students here, the idea is to share learning. If a "student" or a "teacher" is unable to consider other ideas, then nothing will be learnt, that's where polite discussion comes in.

Perhaps some people with a great deal of knowledge are afraid of taking part in discussions because they will be told they don't know anything. It would be a shame that those who are not as articulate do not feel welcome, or encouraged to add their insight, because they fear the over-confidence and self-centredness of others.
Does that make sense, because I hate it when people's ideas are ignored, cause they suck.
I couldn't agree more, Fox. It infuriates me to see people persecuted here on Epic for expressing their opinions.
post #117 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Tyrone,

If I was standing where you are on that edge, my legs would be jelly. My biggest drops have been in the 20's as far as feet, not the "H-Airs" you are doing.
I understand you completely...maybe even more than you realize. At the beginning of last season, I was frozen on top of some small 8 foot airs. Literally frozen. It was first day back of the new season from ACL reconstruction and I was scared *&#*-less. Luckily my friends coached me off of it and it was fine. I wanted to back off of that little air so much.

Plus prior to this season, I had never hit anything larger than 20 - 30 feet. And I had LOTS of fears to overcome in progressing larger.

I found that the same visualizations and methods for calming myself down were the same regardless of the size of the drop.
post #118 of 155
Ty,
What bugs me the most and where I really get down on myself is that I know I have the ability (maybe not for a 50+ footer) but to do 20-40 regularly. And this in the terrain parks too. I am not sure if its age or what, but I just can't get the air any more that I used too, I just am uncomfortible in the air now. I remember as a teenager floating helicopters 6' now I rairly can get higher than 2'.

Looking at your drops, I know I would have a problem going over the rocks, let alone the 20-40' beyond that. Just looking atyour pics again, my palms are sweaty and legs loose. I remember after my biggest drop at Abasin, where I got more air than I expected and was in the air longer than I expected, I was done jumping after that. That drop was only about 25 feet or so. I know rationally, there is really no difference between that and a 35'er, just that 6" between my ears.
post #119 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post
Phil, does "self talk" instill confidence, or suppress the fear? (I see them as two different things)
My self talk usually starts me me yelling at myself with this following phrase... "Get you head out of your @$$..you know how to ski better than this":

I am not a happy person when I am not skiing well.
post #120 of 155
Phil, when you are in the fear state that causes you to ski badly, do you try to ski through that state, or do you ever just jack it in for the day and go to the bar?
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