Believe in Yourself

FasterSkierFebruary 6, 2004

We’ve all heard it said that in sports you should believe in yourself.  Perhaps this is an unattainable ideal.  After all, from my own experience the biggest obstacle to success has been controlling the “mental game” which dictates my physical ability to accomplish something.  We as athletes, are always trying to be “mentally tough”, or to “get in the Game”.

 I recently proved to myself the absolute necessity for an athlete to believe in him/her self.  This took place in a freestyle sprint race that I was expected to win this season in Fort Kent, ME.  I had a lot of pressure to win, which always plays with your mind, for good or bad.  In this case, I was in a good position to win the A final heat of the sprint and take home the glory and the cash.  I had pretty much walked away with three victories from all of my previous heats, so naturally my confidence was soaring.  I told myself that I was sure to win.

 I lined up next to the other girls and felt my aggressive tension build as my fingers and arms began to tingle with excitement. The announcer made a few remarks and joked that the only thing that could prevent Rebecca Dussault from winning this thing, would “be a fall within the first hundred meters.”

 Next, the gun sounded and we were bolting from the line!  I went hard and found myself out ahead of the others.  I quit thinking about technique, balance, strategy, and finesse for just a moment and then suddenly I hit the ice hard with my knees.  I did a remarkable face plant!  The other girls carried their momentum up the first hill as I watched them swerve to miss me and then resume their positions.  The crowd really got in to the drama of it all and the announcer made a big deal of it.  As we rounded the lodge and went out of the view of the spectators, I tried to pass the 3rd place girl too aggressively and again I found myself on the ground wallowing in the slush. All the cards were stacked against me. The first crash had passed so quickly and without much thought, but this one had me in a mental struggle.  Who can fall twice in a 2:00 min. race and still have a chance to even catch the pack?  I watched as they skied away.  If I hadn’t really wanted that win, I would have considered myself done and out of luck, but I did want it and badly. I chased hard all of the way around the course.  Good tactics and careful movements were all that I had to work with.  I did go on to win that race, but thought about it long and hard afterward.  Following are some things that I thought about.


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