The Pressure of Performance

BASI Trainers Quality Assurance

I am very fortunate to have worked my way to the very top of the ski teaching industry.  As well as holding the top qualification and having worked with all levels from beginner to international competititors, I have spent 20 years training and educating other instructors in my role as a BASI Trainer.

I have delivered all BASI Teaching and Technical courses and twice been elected by my peers as their Trainers Director, I regularly train the Trainers and recently I have been appointed as the Team Coach for the Great Britain Interski Team.

I am at the top of my profession and I continue to love the challenge and stimulation this brings. 

However, last weekend was once of the bigger challenges of my career so far.

Every 3 years, every BASI Ski Instructor Trainer has to undertake a technical exam, our Quality Assurance, to prove that we are still able to ski to a high enough standard to train and assess ski instructors.

Last weekend was my turn.

No matter how well I believe I ski, my inner voice presents doubts.  I am getting older, and, as one of the 'older' trainers my knees and hips bear the signs and symptoms of the 35+ years hard, high level skiing.  Maybe it’s time for me to step aside?  Yet I am still so passionate and inspired from being involved with such a knowledgeable and talented group and I feel I still have so much to give. Maybe I am not skiing to the level anymore?

This could be the end.

I could feel the pressure building weeks before the 7th / 8th January.  And this pressure was accentuated from a personal perspective that I had nothing to gain and everything to lose.  If I pass I carry on as a Trainer, as II have done for over 20 years.  If I fail, I lose a major part of my life, one I am not yet ready or prepared to let go.  And, I would have to resign my position as trainers director, I would have to resign my position as Great Britain Interski Team Coach.  My inner voices were playing tricks with me.

As a performance coach, it is important to be on the other side and put yourself out there and have to deliver a performance.

I can ski.  I can ski well but performing isn’t just about an action or activity.  It is about delivering against a criteria, hitting standards, beating targets.  It is about excelling and not just going through the motions.

I have long recognised my personal tell tale signs of anxiety and know when to embrace them and when to manage them.  I enjoy the ‘butterflies’ in my chest, the slightly tight feeling I get.  The increased arousal that I know has to be there to enable heightened awareness and the performance I want to put down.  I hear my inner voice, give it its time but hang little significance to it.  I know that I have done my preparation, my skis are perfect and I am ready and when I start to ski, the inner voice goes quiet and there is an inner stillness and I ski well.

The first few runs were great, I settled onto my skis and felt strong.  Although the inner voice returned throughout the day and tried to distract me I knew all I could do was ski the tasks set as well as I can.

I have come away from the QA relieved and proud that I am still a BASI Trainer, happy that I committed and achieved and with a new direction on how to continue to develop my performance.