It may seem tough, scary and possibly even dangerous.

But that next progression is within your reach. Here are five tips to reach that next level in whatever sport you choose to push yourself in.

Get beat down where it’s safe first

The elite are not so because they know how to nail a move. They are the top dogs because they know what to do when stuff gets real — which, at the next level, it will.

Get worked in a monster hole or get held down by a huge set wave. You’ve got to practice holding your breath, falling off your bike — everything to prepare for the worst-case scenario so that you don’t have to wonder about it.

Objectively prop yourself up

Even if you look a little sloppy, always push yourself to try. You'll get better with practice. Photo: Courtesy of Sabrina Barm

Even if you look a little sloppy, always push yourself to try. You’ll get better with practice. Photo: Courtesy of Sabrina Barm

The margin of error you created in your mind is as wide or as narrow as you let it be (and that comes with how you see the line and your ability to nail it).

If you’ve put in the work, you deserve to try that move. Tell yourself that and you’ll believe it; believe it, and you’ll achieve it.

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Just say to yourself, “I know, 100 percent, that I am capable of reaching my goal. I know I can do it, and I want to do it.”

Emphasis on “say”: Thinking is better than nothing, but saying it — or even yelling it — will get you closer to feeling it.

Get psyched for the target

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This concept is as hard to remember as it is obvious to think about.

When consequences of failure get bigger, they can overshadow why you’re looking to try the difficult move in the first place. Think of that and only that.

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Envision that feeling of the board under your feet at the landing or the sweet weightlessness of your bike in the air. Hold onto that feeling like it’s a drug and you’ll not be able to think of anything else. And you’ll work to kill that craving.

Remember, you’re into the sport because you love it.

Smile

The author smiled her way through her first-ever adventure triathlon. Photo: Courtesy of Mary Hibberts

According to the Association for Psychological Science, the adage “fake it till you make it” actually works.

Researchers found that making a facial expression can influence feelings in a way that’s consistent with that expression.

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Smiling makes us happy, like feeling pleasure at whatever made us smile. So smile as you look on at the trail or rapid, because you’re about to do something you know you’ll love.

Just dive right in

Chances are, the worst that can happen won’t, but the feeling you think you’ll get from not doing it will. Make sense?

Take a breath and look ahead. Fill your brain with that breath and that image — and dive into it. This technique will take time to master, and you’ll always be working on it.

Hopefully, the beatdowns you’ve been working on have helped you with this. In the end, just push off and into the drop.