Mindset Training for Wind Sport Performance
GETTING IN THE ZONE
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘get in the zone’ as an encouragement to focus on a task and achieve one's goals. Whether we call it ‘the zone’, ‘flow’ or being fully present and immersed, I think we can all agree that fear continues to exist in this focused, productive and fulfilled state of being but somehow we’re at peace with it.
Professional athletes are constantly pushing the threshold of what is safely possible. To stick that new trick, ride bigger waves, perfect turns, get higher and go harder. I know this feeling quite well. Back on New Year’s Eve of 2019 I achieved the greatest state of flow I've ever been in at Peahi (aka Jaws) which led me to set the Guinness World Record for the ‘largest wave ever windsurfed by a female’. That wave was 10.97 meters (36 feet) tall.
Picture: Fish Bowl Diaries
So how did I get here?
A combination of physical and mental preparation were the recipe for my success. As a professional athlete and a personal trainer I believe mindset training is essential to help athletes achieve their goals. It is often overlooked unless you're a professional athlete yet everyone can benefit from it plus it does not require any fancy equipment. All you need to do is close your eyes and imagine certain things.
During the 2019-2020 winter I started training my mind with Lia Nees, CH, who is the founder of Cephalo Hypnosis and the creator of the Hypnotic Athlete Accelerator method. I was intrigued to realize how similar hypnosis was to meditation. It was a fascinating experience that led me to ride the biggest waves of my life and also lower my day-to-day stress. I can remember everything about the wave that established the world record: I was looking at the giant wall of water that was stretching in front and above me and I remember thinking the wave is going too fast, I’m not sure that’ll be able to make it. But as I was having this thought my entire body was focused on one thing only: making it. It almost felt as if I could hear my conscious mind deal with fear while my body was simply focused on sailing well, gaining speed, absorbing chop, compressing and transferring the wind through my body into the board, keeping the fins gripping. The work that I had done with Lia at the subconscious level to instill confidence in myself was stronger that the fearful thoughts in that moment.
Picture: Erik Aeder
Our subconscious mind holds our long-term memory, emotions, feelings, habits, addictions, fears, anxiety, involuntary muscle movement, instincts, creativity, developmental stages, and muscle memory that has developed throughout our entire lifetime. During hypnosis sessions, the subconscious naturally comes to the forefront of the mind to make deep and lasting changes that infiltrate the conscious mind once out of hypnosis.
WHY HYPNOSIS IS GREAT FOR ATHLETES
Hypnotherapy is the perfect tool for athletes because it helps to tap into the subconscious mind, where the vast majority of performance originates. Instincts, muscle memory, and performance are all stored in the subconscious mind. When athletes are in ‘the zone’ it really means they are tapping into the subconscious. Getting into the zone is easy once you learn how to quiet the conscious mind so that the subconscious can easily come to the forefront (by intentionally going into a hypnotic state).
HOW HYPNOSIS WORKS AS MINDSET TRAINING
Through breath work and complete relaxation of the body and mind, the subconscious becomes readily accessible. The thoughts provided during hypnosis are permitted to influence the thoughts, feelings and actions in day to day life. People who practice self-hypnosis report feeling stronger and fitter in every way, more alert and energetic, less easily fatigued or discouraged. Athletes and non-athletes alike can become deeply focused, less distracted and less preoccupied with the self. The nerves become more steady, the mind calmer, clearer and more composed. This tranquility allows one to become worried or agitated much less easily. It also results in less fear or apprehensiveness. Sounds pretty ideal, doesn’t it?
Picture: Sweet Water Hawaii
HYPNOSIS IN COMBINATION WITH A DIGITAL WORKOUT PROGRAM
You have probably heard that the best type of physical activity is the one you actually do. In other words, the most challenging part of working out is showing up. This is why online training programs can be more difficult to commit to. While it’s freeing to be able to work out whenever and wherever, it also gives us the option to choose to cross another item off the to-do list instead of moving our body like we said we would.
While creating Solid Shoulders I was acutely aware of this challenge and saw its similarity with my mental training journey to conquer my fear in giant waves. I had to identify and change (through hypnosis techniques) limited beliefs like “I am not good enough” or “I am not strong enough” at the subconscious level. Through surveying people, I identified their limited beliefs around working out. The most common statements were “I don’t have enough time”, “this or that is more important than my physical and mental health”, “working out is chore”, “taking 20 minutes to workout will ruin my schedule”. These beliefs play a huge role in holding people back from doing what they truly want to do.
Hypnosis is a very powerful tool to tackle limited beliefs. When practiced regularly it can help one stay accountable to one’s self. Which is why I was ecstatic when Lia agreed to collaborate with me on her Solid Shoulders program by creating a guided hypnosis recording that clients can listen to in order to help build their mental toughness and stick with the program. It’s like having your own inner motivator!
ABOUT SOLID SHOULDERS
You can find this mindset ‘super power’ through a guided hypnosis audio recording included in the Solid Shoulders program by NC6 Training. The 18 minute audio hypnosis is meant to help strengthen the motivation to work out so that nothing will get in the way of taking care of your body and mind. Listen to it in bed before falling asleep or any time during the day, sitting comfortably with your head supported.
Designed specifically for windsurfers and wing foilers, Solid Shoulders is a unique upper body mobility program built on 8 years of experience as a professional ocean athlete and certified fitness trainer. It is comprised of:
3 workout videos
1 foam rolling video
1 guided hypnosis for mindset training
The program can be downloaded for just $35 (no subscription required) at https://www.nc6training.com/programs
Sarah Hauser is a professional windsurfer, brand value ambassador, motivational speaker, and personal trainer recognized worldwide for her performance and innovation in big wave windsurfing.
Based on Maui, Hawaii, Sarah is a 3x overall winner of the International Windsurfing Tour, 2x Winner of windsurfing's most prestigious contest the Aloha Classic, and recognized worldwide as one of the top big wave riders in the history of the sport. Her accomplishments have earned her the attention of a following who not only supports her athletic conquests but also her advocacy of eco-friendly and gender-balanced policies, projects, and products worldwide.
Sarah constantly pursues mental and physical training techniques to fully prepare herself for any situation big waves or life may throw at her. After receiving her personal training certification, she has helped the world’s best windsurfers as well as those vacationing to Maui with workout programs to keep them on the water longer, performing at their best, and feeling great. Sarah has expanded her training to digital fitness classes to stimulate the body and mind.
Athlete reel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De16KpCeAJM&t=3s