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Who is Rebekah and What is Mind-Body Performance Coaching?
I was a Figure Skater who struggled with perfectionism, competition nerves and confidence. This held me back from achieving my greatest goals as an athlete. I was inspired to use my training and experience to create the Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program, a one of a kind program focused on strengthening the Figure Skater’s mindset. It is everything I needed when I was a young skater with big dreams and I know it will work for you!
End of a Season, Start of a Playlist!
I often say, CBC Radio 2 is the soundtrack to my life! It is always playing in my home from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, my house is filled with the familiar sounds of Mornings, Tempo and Drive. As a young skater I was inspired by the music I heard on the ice. I spent a great part of my teenage years choosing, and editing music that I then choreographed for myself and other skaters around Nova Scotia. When I hear an iconic piece of music like Puccini’s Turandot, it takes me back to the first time I watched that piece being skated so brilliantly by Jenny Meno and Todd Sand at the US Nationals in 1995. As an incredible skating season comes to an end there are a few programs and pieces of music that were really memorable for me. So memorable, that the music is now a staple on my Youtube playlist. I would love to share these with you so you can enjoy them as well. 1. SYML – Where’s My Love Charlie Bilodeau and Julianne Seguin skated their long program to this piece. Beautiful lyrics and a folky acoustic sound combined with their genuine connections made this program a real win for me this season. Check it out here 2. Nemesis – Benjamin Clementine Nathan Chen skated to this jazzy, contemporary piece in his short program this season. The combination of brilliant choreography and Benjamin Clementine’s unique vocals made this so enjoyable. Take a listen here. 3. Sound of Silence – Disturbed Elladj Balde resurrected this short program for his final competitive season. I had the pleasure to meet him and watch him skate this with incredible passion live at Nationals. Although this music has been skated to by others, no one brings the authenticity and emotion to it quite like Elladj! Watch it here. 4. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Joseph Morgan Nam Nguyen skated to a really cool version of one of my all time favourite pieces of music, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. When skaters choose new and unique versions of classics it makes me appreciate that lyrics are allowed. Check it out here. 5. Lighthouse – Patrick Watson Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot skated to this piece last season but I still can’t stop listening to it….so it deserves an honourable mention. This program, this music catapulted them into the stratosphere of pairs skating for me. One of the BEST pairs programs I have ever seen. (listen to the commentators gush) Although they struggled technically last season, this program really highlighted how incredible they could be. I have been addicted to Patrick Watson ever since! Watch here Until next time, keep your brain in the game!
Zagitova’s Devestating Performance: Too Much Too Soon?
Nobody saw that coming! Going into the World Championships and even after a mistake in the short program, everyone believed Alina Zagitova was a shoo in for the World gold medal. Her ability to focus mentally and perform consistently has made her an unbeatable force this season. I think many believed she was not capable of making mistakes. However, her free program at Worlds showed us a different side of her: a young, vulnerable girl who just recently stepped into some pretty big shoes. The Thing about Expectations I imagine the pressure and expectations she felt from her country, her coaches, fans, family and friends was ENORMOUS! It doesn’t matter whether the expectations are real or imaginary…if you feel pressured to perform, your nerves will run high and it becomes almost impossible to get out of your head and into your skating. A Very Sticky Mistake After the fall on the first lutz Alina’s strong demeanor seemed to shift. Her “perfect” track record was broken and so were her spirits. The rest of the program appeared to crumble, as she was unable to get past her fall leading to 2 more falls before the routine was complete. That is how mistakes work, they are always the stickiest in our minds. A mishap on an element can plant a seed of doubt, like a virus in the mind, that clouds belief in self and technique in general. Everyone knows that Alina could physically do all those jumps but her mind obviously told her otherwise. The Role Mental Training Plays Ultimately, developing mental skills to take your focus inward and away from the outside distractions becomes a strategy to combat this. Breathing exercises, positive self-affirmations and using keywords to get in the zone are all techniques I teach my skaters. For Alina, letting go of the mistake on the lutz by filling her mind with the keywords on the next element would have helped her to get in the zone during her performance. By disconnecting from the negative emotions she instantly experienced with the blow of the fall and tuning into the technique required to be successful on the next elements she may have been able to regain her composure and move into first place. One mistake cannot break a performance…unless you let it. Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game (AFP Photo/MIGUEL MEDINA)
Olympic Lessons in Mental Training
It has been 2.5 weeks since the Olympics finished and I am still revelling in how it all turned out! As a viewer and lover of figure skating, I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying event. As a mental trainer, there were so many nuggets of wisdom and take aways that I have been sharing with my skaters since the events finished. Where do I begin! Well, I believe one of the biggest mental game lessons was learned by our Canadian, Gabrielle Daleman. Lesson 1: Getting in the Zone A great Long in the team event was the start of Gabby’s Olympic experience. This was very reminiscent of her success at Nationals just a month earlier, and of course, her incredible performances at Worlds last season. It seemed clear to me that her mental game was strong and I wondered what she was doing to develop this. Then came the individual event and it unfortunately began to unravel. A mistake on her signature triple toe/triple toe combo in the short seemed to plant a seed of doubt that derailed her confidence and possibly developed into a negative story on the jump. The rest of the short went well but the ghost of the mistake on the combo obviously haunted her going into the free. Making a similar mistake on the combo in the free program left her visibly shaken, culminating in a disastrous program. So what happened? My belief is that it was 100% mental! Her body knew how to do those jumps, eyes closed, hands tied behind her back, so it wasn’t a matter of physical fitness or training. But, how can the body seem to “forget” how to jump in a high pressure situation? A mistake on its own cannot break a performance…but if you choose to focus on it it can sure make it close to impossible to regain composure. The mind, when left to its own free will, will default to that critical place and bounce around from future to past to present thinking and back again. When the mind is focused in the future, you are thinking “what if?” and creating feelings of anxiety in your body. When the mind is focused on the past, you are thinking “remember when?” and your body will experience feelings of worry. Both these thoughts and feelings are counter-productive to your mission to skate a personal best and create an epic performance! To make this happen you want to be focused IN THE PRESENT! To be in the present during a performance is to GET IN THE ZONE. I have created a system that teaches skaters how to do just that, GET AND STAY IN THE ZONE! Getting in the Zone Break your program down into each of its individual elements; spins, jumps, and step sequence. Come up with 1-3 keywords for each element. Flood the mind with the keywords of the element you are doing. Once the element is complete, detach from the outcome and let it go. Flood the mind with the keywords on the next element and repeat the series of completing the element, detaching from the outcome and letting it go. Whether it was the best, the worst or just an o.k. attempt, it is in the past and choosing to focus on it will distract from what you are currently doing. You can think about it, fret over it or celebrate your success AFTER the skate is complete! With practice, this system will allow you to make a mistake and let it go instantly to complete the rest of the program brilliantly. It will also allow you to create a magical, flawless performance, one element at a time. Meagan Duhamel and Kaetlyn Osmond both displayed examples of this during their Free programs. For Meagan, an uncharacteristic touchdown on the side-by-side triple lutz was quickly forgotten when, not 10 seconds later, she landed the throw quad salchow cleanly. Kaetlyn also had a small step out on her triple lutz, a mistake that had no bearing on the rest of the program which she seemed to float through. I applaud these women for showing their mental fortitude at the biggest competition of their careers. I believe learning how to get and stay IN THE ZONE would have been very beneficial to Gabby during the Olympics. This is not only for elite athletes. You and your skaters can use this system to train for the next competition. Message me to find out more information about Getting in the Zone! Until Next Time, Keep your Brain in the Game!
Meet Rebekah Dixon
- Understands Figure Skating from an Athlete and Coach's Perspective
- Creator of the Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program
- Specialist in the Field of Human Development