Why talk about the mental aspect in the world of paragliding?

1. Understand this concept and differentiate it from other aspects.

Technique, strength and speed are important criteria for performing moving exercises in sport.
Good breathing, good flexibility of action, serene awareness, knowing that you have room for improvement, depends on a capacity of our brain called the mindset.
Without this mental awareness, the technical gesture will not be precise, the strength will not be at its maximum, the velocity will be slowed down, and the action in general will be imprecise.

The difference is between our two ears. Because everyone can teach you a technical gesture in theory, but only you can know what you really do in a concrete situation.
The mind is a pillar of learning as important as the technique.

You often hear people say, “That person has a good mind! She’s going for it!”

Commitment and mentality are two different things.

Commitment is deciding to go somewhere or do something in the knowledge that you can succeed. We are trained to, technically, theoretically, mentally in tune with ourselves. Commitment is analysing a situation to minimise the risks. So to commit is to know that you have a good chance of achieving your goal. All that remains is to manage the unpredictable moments of the little adventure.

But the unexpected is scary, so we don’t commit ourselves!

To have a good mind is to have sufficient knowledge of oneself in certain situations, to step back and find solutions.
The mindset is a work of personal management, which confronts our brain with known situations:

  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Anxiety
  • The relationship with others
  • The unknown
  • The unexpected and many others things

We know that this happens between our two ears, so it is important to develop these abilities.
The criteria for success are to devote qualitative time to it, and to have the capacity to CHANGE, to make your ways of thinking and your habits evolve.
The following advice is intended to make you aware of certain known or experienced situations. You will find many solutions by yourself, if others persist, it would be interesting to consult a coach to help you.

2. What are the signs that your mind can be worked on and can play a counterproductive role

1st scenario

You are better in training than in competition.
You are always making excuses for whatever action is coming up.
You are looking for better equipment to make up for some bad luck.

A simple solution
Set your own goals. They should be difficult but achievable.
A goal that is too easy flatters the ego but does not allow for progress and impairs vigilance.
A goal that is too difficult, or even impossible, flatters the ego in a barroom conversation, but brings much disappointment and loss of confidence over time.

2nd scenario

You are overwhelmed by the pressure in certain key moments (a hang-up in a low point, flying in a turbulent area).
You don’t dare to do things (amplitude of control action, stopping an autorotation).
You lose your means or your sensations at certain moments of the flight.

A simple solution
You need to be aware of your stress level when you fly. Check in every 5 minutes with an alarm on your watch or phone.

Little stress = lack of alertness = Danger
Too much stress = Panic fear = Danger

In order to avoid losing your mind, you need to focus on the moment and act accordingly. Do not think about the negative consequences that this may cause.
Avoid projecting the future! Avoid dramatising a situation that has not happened. Put yourself in “solution mode“. Imagine different ways out of different situations, positive thinking clears the vision of the situation.

3rd scenario

You no longer find pleasure in flying.
You find excuses not to fly.
You run away from complex situations.

A simple solution
– The most important thing is to find your pleasure, knowing that it corresponds to your objectives and not those of others.
– Without pleasure there is no motivation, without motivation there are no results, without results there is a loss of confidence.
The pleasure of flying is the most important thing to boost the motivation to learn and understand.
Lack of confidence, fear of being disappointed, the look of others, the judgement of others, anxiety… and many others can be the causes of a lack of pleasure.
We all have the capacity to work on ourselves, if we want to.

Good thinking and see you soon at the school

Fabien BlancoParagliding Instructor & Sports Mental Trainer

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