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Eighty-five BASI candidates took part in the following questionnaire.

Corinne Mayhew - August 2015

Q1. Have you found BASI exams to be difficult in a psychological sense?

No - 18.82%

Yes but I've managed to get past it - 54.12%

Yes and I am struggling to pass my current level because of it - 17.65%

Other (please specify) - 9.41%


At times

Dealing with passing and failing people. I have to keep to standards

Renelle M really helped me out on my L2

No but hearing peoples stories of upper levels has made me reluctant to advance.

Sometimes, but I prepare myself mentally to deal with psychological barriers to help myself look through them

At times testing depends upon the communication skills if the trainer.

Very thought provoking

I've only done the first level and it was quite relaxed cos I was told everyone passes just with a different date to do the next level (this was 10 years ago) and I wasn't in a rush to do the next level and I knew I could ski at level 1 standard..


Q2. What have you found to be the main psychological barrier to success in a BASI exam?

Answered: 80 Skipped: 5

Previous experience - you have failed this exam before - 7.50%

Attitudes of other course participants and how they perceive you - 10.00%

You are worried about a previous injury - 3.75%

You don't understand what the trainer wants you to do in order to pass - 11.25%

You feel the pressure as this is the only exam running this year so you can't afford to fail - 16.25%

Other (please specify) - 51.25%


Pressure of exam Situation, knowing I had to achieve a level. As a trainer I still find it very stressful,mainly from knowing students are going through their own areas of stress and that I have to hold up in demos/explanation and that my opinion doesn't come into it.

Mounting frustration in trying to complete short radius turns which then interrupts flow in the rest of my riding leading to a downward spiral

The pressure of being unsure of your own ability and hoping that you meet the standard

Performance anxiety. Visual overwhelm. The size of those moguls & that zip line last year freaked me out.

Light mix of above, until I understood more of the comment below

I get over excited . Try too hard

Assessment is a living animal and the above choices blend in many cases. I would cite the second, fourth and fifth choices as most significant in recent experience.

Not enough experience

Task may be on the edge of psychological comfort zone

Setting high expectations of what level I want my riding to be at

Poor choices for answers...'you feel the pressure as this is the only exam etc..' WHAT? You could have a hundred reasons why you 'feel the pressure..' You feel the pressure because you are generally a poor test taker, because you are tense and know you don't perform as well when it's cold, because you have heard the trainer doesn't pass people over a certain age, because you wonder if you're not prepared, because you know that your chances would be better if the snow was firmer softer grippier, whatever, because everyone else in the group skis better than you...etc etc etc

Sustaining a high standard under exam conditions for a whole week is psychologically taxing.

Easy to make mistake when being watched

People are not ready. Too far off the mark before attending

People transferring their fears onto me during the exam

All of the above

All of the above apart from the injury one

Pressure simply because it's a pass or fail exam

Just being able to let go and perform 'at the level'

All of the above at different times

Personal ability

Pressure due to financial and work implications of failing

A mixture of what i perceived to be a blinkered approach on behalf of the relevant trainers combined with my lack of self confidence when performing in front of my peers.

From observing other course participants, the barriers are often psychological rather than ability.

I haven't felt psychological barriers

Just a feeling of stress because the exams are very important to me.

Injuries as stated above, but also the workload can be very draining. For example a 10 day course with lots of time skiing and then studying the theory is very tiring!

Don't want to pay for another exam

Goalposts moving.

The trainer kept pairing me up with the only other girl in the group who was clearly the worst, as such, I always felt behind and that we we both going to fail.

Any exam comes with the psychological stress of a test. Failure, retakes, extra costs etc

The pressure of being watched, and really wanting to succeed.

I think the main one for me (when i did level 1 aged 17) was the realisation that I wasn't as good at skiing as I thought I was haha. I soon overcame that barrier (day 1 or 2) and the rest of the course was relaxed.

I would pick almost all of above apart from 'not knowing what trainer wants from you'

It can vary course to course, this year I got a knee injury the week before my course level 3 tech and that was a huge mental barrier as I was always wary of pushing it too much in case I made it worse and riding in pain the whole time. Then there other time where you think you’re doing really good compared to others but then your told otherwise by the trainer so you begin to wonder what exactly they want from you.I think even too being a girl and going for level 3 you are in a male dominated environment and you put a lot of pressure on yourself to prove you can ride like one of the guys!!

A bit of answers one and three, and how the week has gone so far.

A mixture of all the above.

A bit of all of the above. Plus you have to pass all elements. So for example you can fail on short turns when everything else is good. It would be better in these cases to just need to do a resit on the element you failed on.

Fear of failing

No barriers

Worried that level is not achievable for me and the trainer is not going to tell me to keep me motivated, but am effectively chasing an unattainable goal.


Q3. Do you have any techniques for overcoming psychological barriers during a BASI exam?

Breathing exercises, controlling what the mind thinks, being able to take 5minutes/a run out. Temporarily separating yourself from the situation and try to see it from a different perspective...

The first step was to recognise the frustration. Realise it as an indicator of drive and passion for the sport. Lowering the arousal level. Breaking down the exercise and understanding it in your own way, taking bits from each trainer and converting them. Don't take everything they say as gospel. Concentrate on positive goals.

Focus only on one thing at a time

Surrounding yourself with positive people who will give clear constructive advice with your skiing

Friends and team work


Ask the Trainer for input, use their feedback as a guide. If they are tweaking little things, harshly or not, you must be doing better than if they are focusing on big things

Be as prepared as possible before entering into a course so you don't have too much work to do when you get there. Rest on rest days! Enjoy it and absorb all the information you can get.

Hair lift pep talks with a coach/friend in UK...have also found a good chair lift cry releases the tension. Otherwise the 'just go for it' self talk.

Doing 3 principles courses. Try reading Garret Kramer and his book still power. Understand what barriers are. Many free videos online, search George pranski, Jack pranski, Arun turner, and or look at metaphors in movement by Andrew t Austin, his work on barriers is very different but tied with 3principles gives great insight.

Breathing exercises

I'm now a hypnotherapist specialising in building focus, confidence and managing yes

Tell yourself you can do it, and practice

Make sure you are not pushing yourself when completing the "problem" task - practice outside of the BASI arena to ensure the problem is reduced as possible when you are in the exam

Try not to think too much about the exam/content in the evenings. Try and create a supportive and encouraging atmosphere in your group.

Train your performance up to a level where you know that you can fulfill the tasks required of you. Treat the exam as training to take the pressure off yourself.

Pre-course preparation to remove doubts

Maintain the psyche!

Relax and treat the exam course as a learning experience. Prepare don't sit an exam hoping to improve and pass, just try and make sure I'm at the level required (mentally & physicallu) before the course starts.


Remember it's only snowboarding, it's supposed to be fun

Just finding that rhythm...and shouting at myself

Block out negative thoughts and concentrate on the current task

Try to remain positive and go for it.

There would not be so many psychological barriers if peeps were at the level before attending

Share your thoughts and talk to someone on the course, others will be going through the same thing

Look and speak to no one else until lunch / after, focus on what the trainer wants specifically and then play game of copy cat working on performance from the board

Keep head down, focus on the here & now rather than worrying about everything else going on around

Train hard beforehand so confidence is at a high; focus on learning and what you're achieving each day; enjoy being with like minded people!

Visualize Neil Mcnair naked doing his switch turns

Be relaxed!

Renelle helped me meditate to empty my mind and I snowboard better like that. She had me snowboarding down red pistes with my eye's closed

A positive mental attitude, not paying too much attention to what others are doing or saying unless relevant

Self belief and concentrate

Relaxing and not really thinking about the exam too much. Just enjoying the riding and being in the mountains with a good bunch of people.


No, I wish that I did! The biggest barrier is that I work with trainers before an exam and understand their language, expectations and what they are looking for. I then go to a BASI exam where the examiner is more 'old school', uses different terminology which I then can't translate, feel stupid and get put in the downwards spiral of feeling like a failure again.

Enjoy the training and the skiing/snowboarding and concentrate on getting better rather than worrying about the level.

Drinking heavily

Relaxation meditation, main issues are the pressure of performing to the right level on the day. Even if the level is aquired nerves can still play a part.

In my younger years I approached many (Lower Level) exams with absolute confidence that I had stronger skills and knowledge than the rest of the course attendees. (This does sound arrogant I know, but I was young and relatively skilled, and the approach seemed to work at the time)

A lot of the problems people face are negativity and self doubt. You can see they have the potential to succeed but their mind gets in the way. I presented my lesson as part of my assessment to include a warm up and physical/ mental relaxation exercise to keep an upbeat state of arousal but also the hope of a clearer focus and mind for the skiers (some rather stressed and nervous exam participants! ) I was about to deliver the exercise too

BASI should acknowledge that people can be good instructors even with psychological barriers. A bit more time and respect would be well suited.

Lots of practice and good knowledge technically and tactically in a range of environments with good equipment and to be physically fit. If everything else is in place I have the confidence to not encounter psychological problems

Just making sure I eat and sleep well. Staying focussed and being as prepared as I possibly can.

Trying to do as much preparation as possible, getting in to a routine for the days of the course, ensuring I have a good rest/recovery strategy for when I come off the mountain.

Being very prepared before the course

Say to myself. "It's just a test the world will not come to an end if I don't make the standard"


No, I was livid and upset every time I got paired with her but kept it to myself and tried really hard to do everything perfectly. I passed in the end but the two weeks were a horrible experience.

Being both physically and intellectually prepared

Focusing on the task, thinking about long term goals and avoid thinking about the pressure too much!

Think in a clear manner about the immediate task in front of you

Remember there are thousands of skiers that are way better than you. Also, when it comes to eurotest training - don't be a pussy, just give it some and enjoy the adrenaline. I think the reason most people struggle with the euro test is cos they are pussys. Just haul some frickin ass and send it, forget about 90% of that technical bumpf you've been told over the years and just ski down there as fast as you frickin can.

If I feel like the physiological pressures are getting to me, I try to treat the BASI course as a learning week and not as an assessment. It means that perceived pressure is removed, I take in more of the information as I'm less stressed and generally perform better. I guess it's all about mind set and if you go into the course wanting to improve and not just pass then your either going to get closer to the mark, hit the mark or improve beyond the mark, all of which are necessary progress and make the course worth the money.

Don't think about it being an exam, just ski!

No, but next time I'm going to try listening to music whilst skiing (and with permission from trainer to do so)

Reminding my self that at the end of the day, it's just a course. I know that there should be no need to fear. I'm bigger and better than those 5 days on the course...

Just trying to forget what everyone else is doing and focus on your own riding. Going into it with the mentality of having fun and when I have fun riding that's when I'm more relaxed and then your riding and style is just so much easier/ better.

DO the homework!

Staying relaxed and positive on the morning of each exam day

A little, but I will be more prepared next time.

Positive mental attitude. It is possible. You can do it. A lot of the negativity comes from you/me. I have heard people write three positive things down every day leading up to exam, regardless if overall that days wasn't good. Support from family and friends really helps, if people actually believe in you.

Meditation Relaxation Visualisations Putting it in perspective (I am a human givens practitioner so I nee

Yes, go inside your self, cut off everything else and everyone else.

Have fun, relax, it's just snowboarding

Cognitive behavioural techniques

Preparing myself physically. So I can perform at my highest level during the course

Try not to get too stressed. Don't get in my own head

No need

I have a race routine for race days and use it during courses. It's a superstitious thing, but it seems to work for me.

Not really. I tend to respond better to being told I am not able to do a thing then I can usually motivate myself to prove 'them' wrong. BASI doesn't give me that opportunity as the Trainers never say that you are not able to do a thing, they just give some random estimate of weeks training that will allow you to achieve the thing.

CBT and meditation


Q4. Do you believe that training the mind is just as important as training the body before a BASI exam?

Yes - 68.67% 57

No - 3.61% 3

Maybe - 13.25% 11

Other (please specify) -  14.46% 12


1.If not more important!

2.The mind is going to determine how you ride. If you enjoy it it will come through in your riding and teaching.

3.Maybe, just have a 'give it a shot' attitude

4.Yes and no. If the body was technically capable of the criteria the psychological aspect would disappear.

5.Important, but not as important. If my body is ready my mind will be ready as a result.

6.For some people yes for others No

7.Depends on the exam.

8.That would depend on your personality, Though I believe it would have been useful for me had I had a clue in years past.

9.Equally important


11.It depends on the person but in most cases it is the limiting factor (in my opinion). You need to train the mind differently depending on the person and the thing they are trying to achieve. For example if you're a cocky 17 year old who thinks he's shit hot on a level 1 course then you gotta train (I prefer to say adjust) the mind completely differently to a timid (technically perfect) level 3 skier trying to pass their eurotest.

12.Not just for a BASI exam for any sport or life in general training body and mind together is so important as if both mind and body are strong then you are a force to be reckoned with. I find yoga is very good for this!!