If you’re a true extreme sports fan, then you’ve seen the incredible stunts of the Yasutoko brothers… you’re aware of the legend of Tony Hawk… and you’ve seen more than one brave climber swing from ledge to ledge along a complex artificial cliff face. Extreme sports professionals make it look easy, but the reality is that it is not. In fact, extreme sports require an extraordinary degree of precision and coordination that borders on a need for perfection. In very few sports is one’s sense of timing critical not only to winning, but also to preventing serious, life-threatening injuries. Extreme sports are tagged such for a very good reason.
For casual fans of extreme sports such as skateboarding, aggressive in-line skating, and ice climbing, the slightest mistake or a sudden burst of muscle spasms during competition can do more than just cause them to lose the game. Forgetting to take a muscle relaxant at the right time or losing your timing to mae that critical grab could potentially lead to serious injuries or a fatal accident.
All the dangers involved in doing extreme sports make it even more unbelievable when people like Tony Hawk, Fabiola da Silva, and Matt Hoffman make it look so easy when they perform in their respective extreme sports. The slightest mistiming in getting one’s body back to a proper landing position could result in broken limbs, or worse. Muscle spasms can also be a problem for other sports. For sports that involve incredible feats of physical coordination and strength, such as ice climbing, any sort of muscle problem at the wrong time can result in a drop from a great height.
The various physical hazards involved in extreme sports require the same degree of dedicated practice and muscle training as other sports, if not more so. However, the mental conditioning is also an integral part of successfully training someone in the world of extreme sports.
Even if it doesn’t look like it, concentration plays a large part in extreme sports. The mind can’t afford distractions like nausea and migraine headaches when you’re several feet from the ground and you’re trying to figure out how many times you can spin your body before you have to get back into landing position. Besides that, your mind must also be attuned such that your coordination is perfect, allowing you to impress people by pulling off nearly impossible stunts and tricks.
Interestingly, unlike other sports, the only real way to practice for extreme sports is to basically do the same things, but without the competitive setting. Which means that a person has to expose himself to the same risks that he would while in an exhibition or competition. Practicing for an extreme sport means that you have to take the same measures to avoid muscle spasms, nausea, migraine headaches, knee pain, lower back pain, and whatnot that you would if there was a cash prize on the line.
However, in contrast to the increased risk to one’s person if one gets these sorts of problems in the middle of a “run,” there is a lessened risk of the typical extreme sports athlete to actually develop an obvious physical problem. Extreme sports athletes tend to be serious about their training, but somehow maintain a generally laid-back attitude. This may seem rather contradictory, but most athletes in this sport aren’t as obsessive as athletes in other sports are. There is a distinct lack of anxiety towards things like muscle structure and physical dominance, as the sports tend to put more emphasis on coordination and style.