What Can A Sports Psychologist Do For You During A Performance Slump? - Stab Mag

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What Can A Sports Psychologist Do For You During A Performance Slump?

Adin Masencamp got his head straight and then beat Jordy Smith to win the Ballito Pro.

cinema // Feb 10, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“The biggest factor for me was working with a sports psychologist who assisted me with rebuilding my mental strength, believing in myself, my ability, and that everything I was doing was working towards being better,” says Adin. 

Adin Masencamp has his sights firmly set on reaching the pinnacle of competitive surfing. After winning the WSL Africa Junior Men’s title in 2017, he quickly backed that up by winning the WSL Africa QS Men’s title in 2018, winning the 2019 VW SA Open of Surfing, placing 5th place at the Billabong Pro Ericeira Portugal QS10 000, and earning a spot into the Pipeline Invitational in Hawaii later that season. At the end of the year, Adin finished 38th on the QS, narrowly missing out on CT qualification.

But then in 2021 he had a slump. 

On the 21’ CS, Adin placed 73rd in France, 49th in Portugal, and 25th at the US Open; he was a no-show at Haleiwa. He finished the year ranked #98, only the top 96 are automatically seeded into the prime 10,000 CS the following season, meaning Adin had to go back to the regional QS series to earn his shot again. At the same time, his major sponsor Billabong decided to pull their stickers off his board. 

“It really knocked my confidence,” says Adin. “I had dealt with losses of sponsors and heats before, but this one felt different, it really weighed on me.” Adin began working with Dr. Jacques Breitenbach (Chiropractor) at Virgin Active, Red Bull trainer, Michael Watson, and sports psychologist, Dr Andrew Lewis. 

“Working with a sport psychologist helped me deal with the heat and sponsor losses, and once again see the value in myself, clear my mind of the noise, setting realistic goals that would set me up for what really mattered – winning the Ballito Pro.” After getting the nod over 21’ SA Champion, Shane Sykes, and Eli Beukes, Adin Matched up against Jordy Smith in the final. 

Tough gig

Adin posted an excellent 8.17 for his opening ride, leading the final, until Jordy came out flying for a massive, clean air reverse to bank a 9.00. Suddenly the energy shifted, and soon the guys were moving more to the left of the bank in search of waves with bigger sections. 

Adin took off on a big one far down the beach whacked two critical turns leaving Jords chasing a 6.94 in the dying seconds. The wave never came. Adin wins the Ballito Pro against his childhood hero. 

“It feels amazing. I had a couple of clutch moments leading up to the final where I had to perform under pressure. I worked really hard on my mental strength, nutrition, my surfboards, everything before this event. So for it all to come together means so much,” said Adin on the beach post-heat. 

Watch his ‘Road to Victory’ here and follow Adin’s ascension back into the big leagues.  


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