I spent hours and hours skiing by myself off the Thunder Chair. I took the same route countless times. Directly to the right off the chair was a little steep that was about ten turns long. I learned quickly that in order to be in control on a steep slope, I had to lean out. If I leaned out over the hill, I had leverage to keep my ski's edge on the hill. If I hung back and clung to the hill, I lost my leverage, my edge and was soon on my hip sliding out of control. That was why a ten turn run was perfect. I couldn't fall too far.
|A skier about to make a turn on a steep. This is the moment of weightlessness that is both frightening and addicting.|
Learning to lean meant fighting my instincts to hang back. It meant creating my own momentum in a situation where I was fearful of speed. It created a moment of weightlessness that felt a lot like falling. It was scary! Once I leaned, I was into the first turn. There was no turning back. A little lean equaled action and my job at that point was to keep up with what I created. As soon as I learned the skill, I couldn't get enough of it. I was soon skiing the Cirque or Headwall or even the Alta Chutes. I no longer watched my buddies head off without me, but instead I was close behind and skiing the entire mountain.
Learning to lean is a skill that helps you in any situation. It is that moment when you take a breath, close your eyes, maybe even say a little prayer and then LEAN. It isn't about having confidence or even courage, its simply about creating your own momentum. There can't be thought. There can only be action. The action is small and almost immeasurable, but it is enough. It is a lean.
|Rory McIlroy lost his way at the Masters, but was soon back on his game. He created his own momentum.|
Losing your confidence can happen in short lapses during a round or it can happen over a long period of time and stick with you. It hurts and it takes the fun out of golf. What players need in these times is a lean and very little more. They need to quiet their mind, close their eyes, say a little prayer if needed and create their own momentum.
When things aren't going well and you feel really low about yourself and your game, confidence seems like the magic you are missing. When you have those feelings, force yourself into action. Give a little lean and create your own momentum. That action doesn't need to be big, but it will signal your commitment to yourself and the situation. Know that you will still take some falls. It will make it tougher to create your own momentum, but remember the drill; take a breath, close your eyes, say a little prayer if needed and lean.