In a second article by pro snowboarder Jussi Tarvainen on the topic of injury and recovery, we look at how fear can impact you . If you missed the first article 5 Reasons injury can be the best thing to happen, make sure you check it out.



How To Overcome Fear After an Injury:


Fear causes second-guessing, overthinking, and errors which can easily lead to wipe-outs and injuries.


Fear manifests nervousness, freezing and choking up, which in turn causes you to underperform and get stuck.


Understanding when it’s smart to listen to fear and when it’s holding you back for no good reason is crucial to overcoming these mental obstacles.



So What Is Fear?


Fear is an emotion that’s triggered by a potential danger to you. It stimulates a stress response that releases cortisol into your brain.  It raises your heartbeat and clouds your thinking, making you second-guess your abilities and make mistakes that can lead to seriously injuries or at worst, death. Fear throws logical thinking out of the window.


Fear can cause:

  • Nerves, anxiety and panic
  • Underperforming
  • Second guessing, self doubt and overthinking
  • Freezing & getting paralysed
  • Crucial mistakes and injury


Luckily there are mental techniques you can use to overcome the fear that slows you down and prevents you from improving and progressing to the next level. Like a coach that can give you the right recipe to progress, you can use techniques to overcome mental obstacles and clear your headspace.



Fear Is Not Real:


What’s important to understand is that fear is not real, it is only in your imagination. Fear is your future projection of a possible scenario that could happen. It’s all those “what if…” worst case scenarios: how you could mess it up, get wiped out and end up in the hospital. This is what causes you to choke up.


Just like the weather forecasts can be wrong, your fear can also be inaccurate. It is however, extremely important to understand when you should listen to your fear and back up (red light), get focused and re-evaluate you situation (yellow light) or when you can push through your fear (green light).



Stuck With Fear? – The mental scars:


Have you ever gotten stuck with fear? Just when you are about to try a new or old trick, you start to second-guess yourself, overthink the heck out of it and freeze? You feel like there’s an invisible force chaining you to the ground, paralysing you from moving. You might be making a comeback from an injury and afraid to mess up again. Or the fear might be irrational, yet it still has its strong grip on you.


Accidents and close calls create what are called “mental scarring”.



Mental Scars:


What often ends up happening is that your mind creates these fear links between a negative experience and the pain related to it. Physical or mental. Say you got injured, blew your knee or hit your head and you feel physical pain. This pain gets linked up with the memory of that incident and stored in your psyche.


At the same time a trigger is created that recalls the memory.



Fear Triggers:


The trigger is something that reminds you of the incident when you got hurt or had a close call. It can be a trick you got hurt doing, a place where you got hurt, or it can be a sound you heard or it can be a specific feeling.


This trigger will automatically and unconsciously bring up the memory of getting hurt. When you “step on the trigger” it launches a chain of events in your mind, such as “what if I get hurt again” thoughts that lead to second guessing yourself, feeling insecure and making you freeze or underperform, leading to critical mistakes.


These in turn can lead to re-injuries.


Knee surgery in snowboarding
Alexa found a way to erase fear links and keep snowboarding after 3 knee surgeries. That’s her in the top photo about dislocate her shoulder back in 2003. 2016 and still going strong.



Erasing Fear Links


In order to get rid of this over protective burden, you need to go back to the memory of the incident and break the link between the trigger that brings up all the hesitation, overthinking and paralysis. Sometimes these irrational fear links are created without a close call or injury. The same process applies for unlinking them.


But how do you do this? It’s simple.



MG180X Pull Out Method:


I developed MG180X methods during my career as a pro snowboarder and a mental progression accelerator coach for Olympic medallists and X-Games winning action sport athletes. I was desperate to overcome my own fears that were holding me back from improving, learning new tricks and having the freedom and fun I desperately yearned for.


With my 1-on-1 clients from beginners to pros, I often use various different techniques layered on top of each other to break these fear links. Sometimes though, just one technique is enough. So put this into work right now and see the difference it can make to your performance.



Step #1


Right now take a moment to recall the memory of the incident where you got hurt. Relive the thoughts that were going through your mind when you were about to attempt that trick or manoeuvre.


Got it? Okay good.



Step #2


Now you have a memory in your mind. That memory is either 1 or more images, or collection of images in a sequence of events (like video). Usually those images or videos are close to you and that’s what’s generating the power for fear to cause hesitation, second-guessing and self-doubt.


Now imagine pulling out of the memory. As if you were in a hot air balloon and rising higher and higher. See your memory below, getting smaller and smaller the further away you get. Keep rising until you see the whole country from above, then the earth and all the way till you see the whole galaxy.



Step #3


Repeat this 10 times and while doing it; speed up the process 2-5x faster. Next recall that memory and note how your feeling towards it has changed. What you’ve just done is diluted the emotional grip that the memory had on you.



Next Up: Part 3


In part 3 of this series of articles you’ll learn:


  • 3 dimensions of consistent progress and improvement and how to know which to improve to accelerate your progress
  • 10 Most common mental progression barriers in action sports
  • When to listen to fear and when not to
  • Three MG180X methods to overcome fear


Read part one 5 Reasons injury can be the best thing to happen


If you have a fear or other mental obstacle that’s holding you back from improving or you want to gain more confidence and consistently perform at your best then I’d like to invite you to apply for a free 10 minute Performance Diagnostics Skype call – get in touch with me on


This is a guest post by pro snowboarder Jussi Tarvainen.


Hiya, I'm Alexa. Always on some sort of adventure! I'm excited to share my stories & introduce you to other rad women, also living the dream. I'm here to inspire you to do the same :-)


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