The “Send It” Mentality
Kincade Pavich // July 2, 2018
Kincade Pavich, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho
Every athlete in this world strives to progress. It’s natural to want to improve at whatever you do. With that said, there is a huge divider between action sports and all other sports in this world. It’s what I like to call the “Send It” mentality, and to be a good athlete in any action sport it’s an essential. Some people come by it naturally, some have to work for it, and some never acquire it. So what is it, and why is it so essential to action sports?
First, take a sport that doesn’t require the “Send It” mentality (SIM for short). Soccer is a good example. Soccer is an intense sport that requires persistence and dedication to become a good player. It requires strength, quick mindedness, and a tenacious personality to compete at a high level. What it does not require is immediate jumps in progression. With soccer, you practice and you improve. You practice more, and you improve even more. There is no point in the progression of a soccer player where a higher level of risk is immediately required to continue to improve. Soccer is a respectable sport with a lot of talented athletes, but it’s not a game that requires the SIM. It’s not an action sport.
Defined, the Send It Mentality is the ability to perform in situations that do require an immediately higher level of risk to continue progression. Take an action sport like freestyle skiing for example. There comes a point as a freestyle skier where you’re a capable and talented athlete, and it’s time to learn a backflip. The backflip is a trick that requires an immediate increase of risk and a high level of commitment to first learn. The difficulty lies in the unknown. While you believe you’re capable of the trick, there is no way to know unless you try. You could land on your neck, and that scares people. This is where the SIM comes into play.
The SIM is essential to all action sports. While it may not come easy, the more you do the easier it gets. There are three keys to becoming a good action sports athlete:
- Knowing you’re ready to try something new
- Knowing you can commit to trying it
- Trusting your friends
From my experience, all 3 of these are essential. When you’re ready, you’re ready. Waiting does nothing. Get your head in the game and just do it. Be ready to commit despite the unknown or don’t do it. Commitment is everything. With commitment, risk is small. Without it, it’s probable. This is what makes action sports their own breed of sports – they require this ability that no other sport requires. The third point above is relevant for if you’re not entirely sure you’re ready to try something new. If you have friends in the sport who have watched your progression and truly know your level, they know what you’re capable of. If a friend you trust says you’re ready to backflip, believe them, picture it, and learn it. This is a tight knit community and friends will be one of the biggest motivators you have. Find a positive group of people to rip with and keep them close.
So you don’t have the SIM naturally and you’re having a hard time acquiring it. Your chest tightens up when you think about going upside down or doing a new trick, and you always bail or freeze up when it’s time to give it a go. This is most of the people in this world. That’s why most people aren’t good action sport athletes. Again – it’s a small, wild community. But let me tell you this – all it takes is one time. Beat that feeling one time. From there, it gets easier and easier. Your first invert will terrify you. You won’t know what it’s going to feel like or if it’s going to work. That’s the point. You will learn to love that feeling, and once you have confidence and the ability to commit it just keeps going. You learn one trick, and then another, and another, until you see a new trick in your head, put your head down, and try it. The SIM gets way more powerful the more you use it.
If you’re afraid of something, fall asleep picturing yourself stomping it. Wake up and go do it. Beat that feeling in your chest just once, and then you’ll be trying new tricks for years to come.