Lack of confidence when your out in the water, can rip your surfing apart.
The pre surf froth can quickly fade away and you're left to deal with a hangover of negative thoughts and feelings.
Have you ever wondered if it was possible to transmute this negative energy into something good?
Better still, maybe you could even use it to your advantage.
It’s been well documented that confidence is an inside job.
So, how do we work on our confidence to improve all aspects of our surfing?
And, how can we carry this confidence forward with us through all areas of our lives.
If you want to find out more, then read on.
Box breathing is a powerful breathing technique to hack your brain, allowing you take control over the body primeval unconscious responses.
Box breathing emphasis control through counts of four on both the in and out breath allowing your automatic nervous systems to maximise the full use of oxygen into the body.
Deep breathing has long been promoted for it's long list of health benefits on both the mental and physical body and box breathing is a simple tool you can use to effectively develop better breathing habits.
Thankfully our subconscious mind automates our breathing so we can focus on more pressing issues - like what's for dinner...
However by simply bringing our awareness to our breath we can greatly enhance our inner and outer emotional state.
When we are frightened, anxious or fearful we tend to have a shallow, short and rapid breaths.
When we are relaxed, calm and confident we tend to have deeper, longer breaths.
What this means is our breathing has a direct link to how we are currently feeling.
This is crucial to building more confidence in the water.
To put this simply:
Deep Breathing = Greater Confidence.
"Once someone experiences the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of box breathing, they will want to do it daily."
Mark Divine -
Former Navy Seal Commander
THE CONNECTION TO BREATH AND EMOTIONAL STRESS
When we're feeling anxious, fearful and lacking in confidence our minds tend to race away with thoughts and future scenarios.
Our mind seeks more validation of ‘why not to go in’ or ‘why not to take off on that steep drop’ so its goes around in a looping pattern of negative and fearful thoughts.
If you have experienced anxiety, you will know all too well how this pattern works.
When we connect our minds back to our breath we help to redirect our thoughts.
"Your breath is always the anchor to the present moment"
Connecting ourselves back to the present moment through our breath helps to ground our energy and stop negative looping though patterns from continuing.
Box breathing promotes deep full inhale and exhale breaths which helps to calm and regulate the automatic nervous system.
This invites a calm and centred emotional state which creates more confidence and enhances greater self belief.
"Maybe I can actually take off on that wave..."
When you develop a great sense of confidence with your surfing, this then has a domino effect on:
You no longer live in the doldrums of what if ... but I can!
It's a huge shift in your mindset.
I’ve used a specific technique called Box Breathing which has personally helped me to see some huge results in my own surfing.
Box Breathing Method
The box breathing method can be used to increase breathing capacity and improve confidence in the water.
To learn how to use Box Breathing effectively in your surfing, download the guide below:
DEVLOP BETTER BREATHING HABITS
Developing better breathing habits and using a tool like box breathing can help to bring greater confidence to your surfing and any situations in which you feel scared, vulnerable or out of your comfort zone.
Box Breathing can be used as an excellent anchor for when you need a confidence boost.
Try it out for real...
If your surfing out the back and you feel it's a stretching your ability, simply take a couple of minutes on your board to practice a round or two of box breathing and you will soon feel the positive effects.
Better still the more you practice box breathing throughout your day the more you will see longer lasting results.
BECOME AN EXPERT IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Is it actually beneficial to always push yourself?
I am all fall for pushing your comfort zones and breakthrough new paradigms. In fact, I would go as far to say that I thrive in this area of my life.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m actually a little addicted to these situations because of the spike of domaine you get afterwards and sense of accomplishment.
Throughout my year, I will often have personal goals associated with scenarios or events which I find challenging.
I do this purposefully so I can prove to myself that anything is achievable.
Mind over matter.
But when it comes to confidence in your surfing, this is when I draw the line and I have a completely different approach.
I'm going to give you a little analogy which I feel will really help you to understand this a little better.
The Tour Guide Analogy
An expert Tour Guide will know the entire landscape like the back of their hand and will be able to customise their experiences depending on their group.
They will able to take the tour in such a confident manner that all their clients will leave feeling like they got their monies worth.
As soon as the same tour guide takes you on a tour where they don't know the landscape they begin to run into trouble.
Stretching their knowledge and possibly taking some risky decisions in the process.
Can you see what I'm getting at here?
SOLID FOUNDATION IS THE KEY TO YOUR CONFIDENCE
You don’t need to go to the very limits of your ability all the time.
If you want to build your confidence you first need to become an expert in your comfort zone and only then move forward to the next level.
This is so underestimated yet deeply important in your learning curve.
It’s about building on solid foundations and making sure your 100% comfortable within your ability and certain types of surf conditions and only then, do you make the step up to new challenges.
When you do this, you're building on a solid framework which will only assist with increasing your confidence.
You see a lot of surf coaches pushing their clients too early on in their
learning which ultimately results in a negative or unpleasant experiences.
And, it can take a loooong time bouncing back from such an event.
GET REALLY GOOD WITHIN YOUR ABILITY
So weather your beginning to learn how to duck dive or maybe you’re transitioning into cutbacks.
Stay within this specific learning zone until your absolutely 100% confident and comfortable to move onto something new.
There is nothing wrong seeing a beginner surfer still in the white water, yet can pop to their feet straight away.
There is nothing worse than seeing a beginner taking off on a four foot close out and spear dropping into a shallow sand bank.
In surfing, accidents often happen when your pushing the limits of your ability.
Worse still if you experience an incident which instills a load of fear into you, this can hinder your progress and you may even be having to hang up you board forever.
THE EMOTION LOOP
Confidence is a self fuelling cycle. If your feeling confident in life, it’s often because you’ve been on the receiving end of multiple positive events or experiences.
When you flip this around and your lacking in confidence, it's because the negative events and experiences in your life have stacked on top of one another and the wheel is no longer turning in your favour.
It’s now moving further and further away from your flow state.
This is not the place you want to be.
When this pattern forms, it’s more difficult to send the wheel back in the right direction.
Considering how confidence affects nearly every area of our lives, it’s crazy to think it’s only a little emotional loop in our brain's limbic system.
THE CYCLE OF EMOTIONS
All emotions positive or negative are triggered by events which we experience throughout our lives.
I’m not going to go deep into any neuroscience here, but there is a formula that our emotions follow.
As humans we are much more predictable than we appreciate...
We constantly marketed how unique and individual we are, yet collectively we experience life events in much the same way.
Which is very helpful when learning how to deal with emotions.
I call this formula The Emotion Loop
Picture A: Negative Confidence Loop
Picture B: Positive Confidence Loop
When you adapt this formula to your surfing you can begin to appreciate why you maybe suffering from a lack of confidence.
There are a couple of key strategies which you can implement immediately and will really help you to see some big changes in your confidence.
CREATE ANCHORS FOR BETTER OUTCOMES
Firstly set up an anchor. This is used in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to help recall and build on positive emotions.
For the sake of this article I’m going to suggest pressing your left thumbnail into your left index finger in a pulsing motion.
Now I want you to visualize a moment with your surfing when you felt complete confidence within yourself, the environment and your equipment.
A memory when you felt as though you were the expert in your surfing.
Hold this memory and this feeling for as long as you can, while your pressing the anchor.
What we are hoping to achieve here is, is to associate the emotional feeling of confidence with the physical sensation of the anchor.
Now I want you to be aware of The Emotion Loop next time you go for a surf. Especially when your feeling a lack of confidence.
The next thing I want you to practice is anytime you’re feeling like a superhero, remember to press your anchor.
The reason why this is important is because next time your surfing and your feeling fearful or maybe you are out of your comfort zone, your anchor will help bring your awareness back to the times when you felt super confident.
This will help trigger the positive self fuelling loop.
When you get into the habit of using your anchor, you help to distract the mind and via it off the negative loop and back onto the positive loop.
When you use this tool correctly it can be one of the most powerful and quick solutions to help boost your confidence in and out of the water.
The mind is a complex muscle and this is only a teaser of the many tools and techniques to help boost your confidence.
One thing I do know for certain.
Anyone you know who displays phenomenal confidence has worked hard on themselves.
It takes the inner worker to start seeing the results on the outside.
Boosting your confidence isn’t an overnight success story.
But with the right steps it won’t take long for your to start seeing some results in your surfing.
"Bring your superhero confidence into your surfing and your surfing will skyrocket"
There is nothing better than learning, growing and living to your full potential in this life.
Now I want to hear from you...
Let me in the comments below if there are any tips that specifically have helped you build your confidence in your surfing.
I would love to hear how you get on with the tips I’ve suggested .
Now over to you.
P.s If you would like to know the exact box breathing technique then click here.
Ex WQS warrior, and all-round frother - Loz is the technical coaching queen at the House of Surf.
She is also a mindset and life coach and has a habit of living in her van way too much.