What does it take to become an extreme sports athlete?
This is a question that I have been asked many times over again by many different kinds of people whether it be someone who watched me make a BASE jump or someone conducting an interview. This question has always baffled me to a degree because for me my answer was always “passion” It takes passion to want to do things like rock climb, BASE jump and skydive. The sheer number of times I have been asked this sparked my interest and I decided to dig deeper with in me to fully understand and be able to explain what it takes to truly become an extreme sports athlete!
The first step in any aspect of life is to develop a desire, some people are born with a specific desire while some grow into it after they have been introduced to something they feel will fill their soul and excite their life! This could be as simple as knitting or as complex and risky as BASE jumping. Desire is not just a thought that may come and go with the change of the wind, but a constant in ones mind and heart, a longing to experience something different and new. With Desire comes lots of research, reading articles, watching people in the sport, figuring out the steps of progression to get you to where you want to go!
The second requirement in begging your journey into a new and exciting sport is true Passion, with out passion we wander through life aimlessly going in each and every direction with a blank look on our faces. The passion associated with extreme sports is not just a passion to defy death, but to be completely free of constraints, to be completely involved in the moment and to have total and focus. The passion that you have must out weigh the fear of inherent risk that is associated with your desired sport. With passion comes an incredible stop at nothing drive which is the third necessity. When there is pure passion fueling actions there is no limit to what one can accomplish. Now that is not to say that everything will fall into your lap just begging for your participation. It takes effort, some times struggles but the difference is the drive one has to succeed Desire, Passion and Drive is what keeps us in the game, preventing us from failing or quitting! That is what will keep the ball rolling in the direction you want to go!
These first three are essential to beginning a new chapter in any aspect of life including participating in extreme sports but with out this fourth step your efforts will be useless and that is Attitude! With out a positive attitude succeeding in an extreme sport will become very difficult! Our attitude accounts for most of our success, there will be times when you get angry, frustrated and want to progress faster but remembering that it is about the entire experience and not just the outcome will help to improve your attitude. A good attitude is also essential to fully understanding the risk involved and accepting that risk for the sake of having the experience you desire.
With these four steps anything is attainable, it might take more time then originally expected but if you stay open to the process, willing to learn and accepting of the risk as well as the judgment you might receive not only from family and friends but from others who participate in the sport then you will succeed. Because if you think of it every day, see it in your future, research it and take small steps every day to accomplishing it then it will have to happen at some point! My mom always said where there is a will there is a way and I have to agree with her! Put your mind and energy into what fills your soul, have a pure reason for wanting this in your life and you will make it happen!
Basically, to sum it up, it takes the same concoction of mental and physical willingness and drive that any major life goal takes to accomplish! Just because there is a higher risk does not mean that it takes a different approach to succeed!
The mind will give up long before the body will so mental conditioning is more important then physical conditioning