This is showing that if the arousal level is at about the middle, people can perform better or best.
The optimal arousal level increases a person’s concentration, so focus deeply on one thing at a time.
When the brain is in an optimal arousal level, it stops working on unnecessary tasks while continuing to work on limited tasks.
This is the state of concentration.
When you are having fun doing something, like when kids are playing and they forget about dinner time, you are in that state of deep concentration.
Therefore, your brain is working only for FUN stuff and doesn’t listen or see anything around you.
Of course, muscles are relaxed so unnecessary functions are turned off, but limited parts of muscles are working properly.
This is why FUN environments increase or bring out one's best performance.
Old famous athletes have always said to "Have fun" to bring out people's best.
Snowboarding is getting more competitive these days, but the roots of snowboarding are coming from Skateboarding and Surfing which are mostly just for fun.
So I think this method of increasing your performance is preferable for most general snowboarders.
But to make your snowboarding fun, you should know your optimal arousal level.
If you try too hard to make it fun and end up becoming hyper, you won’t be able to control your performance because your arousal level will be too high.
Now let's talk about why COMPETITIVE environments bring out one's best performance.
It's obviously because top athletes are always leading and bringing out their limits.
But what is happening in their mind and body?
Actually, I can't perform my best in this way.
I have experienced so many failures within this type of environment in the past.
What was happening in my mind and body was that my mind would panic and my muscles would stiffen before the start of a riding contest.
I was obviously in a state of high arousal where my performance levels would decrease too.
So my brain was visualizing that I would fail.
Then, I didn't believe I was performing my best and surviving in this environment.
With these negative emotions, my brain couldn’t just focus on one thing it and increased its focus of unnecessary tasks.
My son is not a snowboarder, but he plays soccer.
He performs very well sometimes, but also performs not so well other times.
It’s because he can't be competitive due to his personality, but he likes playing in a fun environment.
I'm taking videos every time they play a game and I analyzing their performance after the game.
-Yes, I'm a typical dad that has a lot of fun with my son, and it's my nature to analyze performances as a coach.-
When he’s performing well, he is moving very fast, but when he isn’t performing so well his moves are slowed down.
There is obviously a competitive environment when a game is being played.
So just like me, if he feels like he will have conflict with others, his arousal level will drop causing his performance to slow down.
But when the team is winning, he is so happy to play and his arousal level will increase, causing his performance to improve.
Let's bring it back in snowboarding.
Riders who survive in COMPETITIVE environments are only focusing on performing their best or winning.
They might visualize negative pictures, but they also visualize positive pictures more often than they do negative ones.
So they are seeing in their mind how they will succeed rather than how they will fail.
Then, they can believe in themselves and concentrate on only one thing which stops their brain from working on unnecessary tasks.
So, their brain and bodies will be somewhere between relaxed and tense, and arousal levels will be kept at the best level for their performance.
The Human brain has been developing throughout history.
Our ancestors were more like animals.
Animals have very limited brain functions for surviving in the law of the jungle.
But humans have developed a new brain around this old brain to provide other ways to survive.
So, we still have this old brain deep inside of our brain.
When we are in tough environments where we have to survive, this old brain function will be strongly activated and other unnecessary functions will be limited.
So our brain will be in the best state of concentration for one thing, as well as our bodies.
This is one of the hypotheses for why top athletes such as Shaun White perform at their best consistently.
Competitive environments are not realistic environments for general snowboarders to improve their snowboarding.
But if you have a rival amongst your snowboarding friends, you can be in a Competitive environment.
The reason why your friend may be a rival might be because of a girl or because of leadership within the group.
If you are in this situation, then you can have a chance to improve?!
But just like me, don't cause your arousal level to be too high from being in a Competitive environment.
If you get too deep into a Competitive environment and lose control of your mind, then a Fun environment would be best for your improvement.
Remember that Danny Davis, who is leading snowboarding as the Style master, is always having fun while snowboarding.
But he is winning in Competitive environments as well.
Either way, the key point is how to control your emotions so you can maintain your arousal level at the best level.
There are so many way to control our emotions that you can find on the internet.
Try finding the one that’s best for you and perform your best on the hill.
If you are able to consistently be at the best arousal level, it'll be better than having a coach beside you.