Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Extreme Sports' Mental Hurdles

For most action sports, getting over the mental hurdle can be the hardest part. For me, that hurdle was the biggest with free-diving. When you're diving down 60ft+ on one breath of air, it takes very strong mental fortitude to not only convince yourself you can keep going, but that you'll be able to make it back up. Of course, as soon as you turn around and your lungs start to expand, you realize that you probably could have gone even farther that your target. You're frustrated and relieved at the same time when you get to the surface, and can't wait to do it again.


Many extreme sports are like that. You just have to commit to it, knowing that the odds of survival, if you do everything like you've planned for, trained for, or read about, it will be okay. Once you go "over the edge", you realize that your fear was holding you back from an amazing experience, and after, you just can't wait to do it again. Mentally, bungee jumping was more nerve racking for me than skydiving, because, even though I'd been skydiving multiple times before I went on a bungee, I'd never experienced the ground rush, nor had the ground for reference. It was one heck of a thrill and makes me believe that, once I've done some more research, I'll be stoked to try BASE jumping. Just don't tell my parents; I've given them enough gray hairs already.


The rest of the list from 5 to 10 is somewhat self-explanatory, and decreases the hurdle with the speed of the sport. If you're looking for a way to build up your fear tolerance, I'd start from the bottom with rock climbing and work my way up.

1. Free-diving

2. Bungee Jumping

3. Canyon Swinging

4. Solo Skydiving

5. Motorcycle Driving

6. Ice Climbing

7. Tandem Skydiving

8. Scuba-diving

9. White-water rafting

10. Rock Climbing


As I stated in the first article of this series, all of these rankings are based on my subjective experience and should only be used as a guide when deciding whether to get into a particular sport. If you don’t do your homework and make an uneducated decision, any of these sports can kill you. However, with proper training and awareness of the potential danger, these sports can become some of the most amazing experiences of your life. I only rank sports I have personally done, and I agree that there are other sports that could fall somewhere on this list; I just haven’t done them yet!

Thanks for reading.

Ethan J. DeLano “The EJDe”

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