Practice what you Preach: How my own Mental Training helped me prepare for Nationals!
5 Tools I used to get Mentally Prepared for Nationals Stepped outside my Comfort Zone – When you choose to step outside your comfort zone regularly you hone your skills of becoming more adaptable, flexible and ‘go with the flow’. These are all traits that help athletes handle competition better. Following through with my decision to go to Nationals pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone. It would have been much more comfortable for me to watch from my living room, behind a screen, but I chose to ‘do it’ despite how I was feeling and the outcome was wonderful Investing in Help – I realized that I couldn’t do it on my own and decided to invest in some marketing support. I worked with a team that specializes in trade show set ups and displays, removing that stress from me so that I could focus on what I do best – interacting and supporting the skaters! It is important for skaters to also invest in their off-ice training, whether it is in physical or mental training…you can’t do it all yourself! When you invest in help for the things you need help with, you create space for you to shine and be the best version of yourself Coping with Nerves – Watching the skaters who I work with live, I noticed myself taking on a lot of their nerves. Perhaps it was because I used to be a skater, but for whatever reason this was a bit of a struggle for me during the competition. We adopt the energy of others around us and so it is important to have tools to cope with this. I used deep breathing in the nose and out the mouth to help relax me, as well as, self-affirmations to remind myself of my power. Bringing my A Game – Self-affirmations also played a big role in helping me bring my A game. As well, I made sure I was in peak physical shape, with healthy eating, getting lots of sleep and taking vitamin supplements to boost my immunity leading up to the week at Nationals. It was important for me to present a strong, confident professional just like it is important for you as a skater to do the same! Trusting my Training – This is something I tell my skaters before every competition. You put in so much time and effort day in and day out, to go out for a few minutes and bare it all. Trusting that you have done the work that will lead to your success, no matter what struggles may arise the week before or the days leading up to that moment. I had to remind myself of the training and experience I have that have made me the expert in mental training for skaters that I am today. until next time, Keep your Brain in the Game!
Your Christmas Wishlist can be a Christmas Goal List!
Have you made a list for Santa this year? My kids are 7 and 5 years old and their lists were like a mile long! Many wishes for toys, books, and surprises. Maybe you have a skater wishlist that you keep in your head or share with your coach, parents and close friends. It may include new jumps, higher levels on spins and footwork, clean run-throughs, etc. Did you know?… A GOAL IS A WISH WITH A TIMELINE Want to make those wishes into achievable goals this Christmas? Start by setting a date by which you want to achieve them. When you break the year down into quarters and set 1-2 goals for each quarter it will feel less overwhelming. What are the goals you want to achieve by March 31, 2018? Write them down and 2 action steps you will commit to doing daily/weekly and I am sure Santa will be good to you this year! Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game!
Rehash in the Kiss and Cry…Yes or No?
You have just completed a ‘not so great’ performance and now you are sitting in the Kiss and Cry with your coach. He or she starts to talk to you about the mistakes you made, what you could have done instead, the levels you missed, how you can do better next time. What do you do? Engage in the conversation, eager to take the lessons from this competition and implement them in practice to do better next time or, Cringe! Shut down, look the other way, disengage. You would rather be anywhere on earth than sitting their rehashing the disappointing performance you just had. This season I have observed some pretty awkward, cringe-worthy interactions in the Kiss and Cry between skater and coach. This is happening even when skaters and coaches know the camera is on and the world is watching. Often the skater’s body language speaks volumes. Turning away from their coach, refusing to speak, and general discomfort with the interaction that their coach is trying to have with them. These moments are not helping strengthen the skater/coach relationship, so how do we prevent them? Preventing awkward Kiss and Cry interaction Coach: Strengthen your EQ (emotional intelligence) by taking notice of how your skater is communicating with you verbally and physically. Despite your natural inclination to communicate, respect what they need in this moment. There is plenty of time to rehash the performance in the week following the competition. Skater: Communicate your wants and needs with your coach at the start of the season, before competition. Coaches are not mind readers and depending on how long you have been working together for, they may not know what you want from them following your performance. Give your coach the benefit of the doubt, they want to help you feel good in those minutes following your performance and they want to help you learn, grow, and become the best skater you can. It is all about knowing what you want and communicating it so that you and your coach are on the same page! Until Next Time, Keep Your Brain in the Game!
Typical “Week Before Competition” Behaviours
The week before competition is typically a challenge for most skaters. Practice can be running smoothly, up until the last 3-5 days before competition, then there is a noticeable shift. As a mental trainer, I often work my hardest that week to reassure and remind my skaters to trust their training and the body’s muscle memory. The 5 most common pre-competition behaviours I notice in skaters are: Jumping to conclusions – “I can’t do it today so I won’t be able to do it in competition!” Making mountains out of molehills – “I fell on the jump in the program so I can no longer do it!” Creating negative stories – “Last time I performed I messed up the spin, today it was bad so it is not going to work next weekend!” Overemphasizing the importance of the last clean run through – “This is the last run through and it wasn’t clean so now I am jinxed for the competition!” Emotions running high – Easily irritated both on and off the ice. Do you experience some of these reactions before competition? If so, identify and write them down, recognize them as “common patterns of behaviour”. This will help in keeping your cool when you notice an emotion or behaviour arise. There are tools you can implement to help you control these behaviours: Deep breathing – in the nose for 4 seconds and out the mouth for 6 seconds, calming the body Reframing – asking yourself, “what could I think instead?” Taking a time-out to implement visualization – by the boards, between attempts of the jump to reset. Practice Goal Setting – use my Practice Goal Setting Template to help you better organize your practices Take control of your behaviour in the days leading up to competition and you will create more positive and productive practices that lead to great competitions! Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game
Gracie and Yulia! Start Mental Training before YOU need it
Gracie and Yulia Gracie Gold and Yulia Lipnitskaya have just recently gone public with their mental health struggles. Their relationship with the sport they love had to have played a role in their personal struggle. In many cases, expectations skaters put on themselves as they become more competitive lead to emotional overwhelm and perfectionism. Early signs of this are obvious in the 12-16 year old skaters I work with. Their focus moves from the inward joy of skating and recognizing their talents to an outward focus on how others are performing and how they don’t quite measure up. Pressure from parents and coaches, whether real or not, is felt. Mental Training During sessions of mental training we focus on the basics: protecting your power, controlling your nerves, identifying and replicating the factors that have lead to your success in the past, and most important the keys to “getting in the zone”. Commitment to mental training leads to consistent “flexing” of the mental muscle. Gracie and Yulia’s skating careers were cut too short. Neither will have the chance to compete at the Olympics this season. It is sad to think that this could have been prevented. If Gracie had sought out the right help after the 2016 World Championships, when she was clearly struggling, would she be on the road to the Olympics in Pyeongchang? Proactive Approach Taking a proactive approach to mental training works best. Here is a great rule of thumb: do the work before the problem arises so that you have tools to cope, if and when it does. Ask me how Mind-Body Performance can help you perform your best when it counts! Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game!
Getting Raw and Real about Mental Training
I recently asked the young skaters in my Performance Pods group how they felt about sharing their experience with mental training. Were they comfortable telling other skaters and coaches that they use mental training or not? To my surprise they all answered, “yes” they would be comfortable sharing if it came up in conversation. I am happy to hear this, especially coming from a group of skaters ages 10-12 years old! Stigma? Yes or No As you know, a focus of mine is to break down the stigma that still exists around “needing a mental trainer or a sports psychologist”. In interviews, you very rarely hear skaters mention the mental training they are doing as part of their regular routine. Instead, you see the media splash around news about skaters suffering from eating disorders, anxiety and depression, needing time away from the sport, after they have hit rock bottom. A Proactive Approach I believe a proactive approach to mental training is always the best option. Introduce the training BEFORE the skater needs it and she/he will be equipped with the skills to handle situations that may arise. IT JUST MAKES SENSE RIGHT? Having more and more elite skaters share that they work with mental trainers allows it to become normalized in skating culture and I believe this is very important for our sport. For example, Meagan Duhamel just recently shared that she and I are working together to strengthen her mindset for the Olympics. You can read about her experience at Skate Canada International in her blog Lutz of Greens. Check it out! Rehashing Skate Canada International I applaud her for being so raw and real about the stress and pressure skaters put on themselves at all levels of competition. Let’s engage in this conversation more so that skaters get comfortable talking about it and incorporate mental training as part of their regular routine. Until next time, Keep your Brain in the Game
What Patrick Chan’s Performance at the 2015 Skate Canada International can Teach us about Mental Training
Did you see that incredible long program skate by Patrick Chan at Skate Canada? Although his performance was epic it wasn’t what happened on the ice that impressed me as much as what happened when he left the ice. As he sat in the “kiss and cry” area awaiting his marks he turned to his coach and said, “I just shut my brain off….it was like tunnel vision”. She proceeded to engage with him about how you have to… “find the moment where you can take your mind and put it right there in your music…”. That kind of connection within the performance is something that elite athletes spend endless hours training to achieve. Patrick references the journey to this magical performance as having been a “battle”, and those of us who follow Figure Skating and love Patrick Chan are aware of the ups and downs that he has endured. However, this time you could see it in his eyes, he was SO focused during this performance…it was like he was in a trance. A flawless skate like his is not a stroke of luck. Patrick’s training and preparation, which obviously includes MENTAL TRAINING, garnered his success. As a Mind-Body Performance Specialist to Figure Skaters, nothing pleases me more than to hear this kind of dialogue between a skater and coach. We need to create more of this, by equipping our young skaters and coaches with the skills to TRAIN THEIR MINDS to work for them, not against them. Invest in your success and seek out someone who can support you in training your mind. Ask me how my Mind-Body Performance Coaching programs and workshops can improve your MENTAL GAME! Until next time, Keep your Brain in the Game!
7 Questions to Ask Yourself before Competition
As competition season is ramping up do you feel COMPETITION READY? Being competition ready is about feeling prepared, trusting your training, and having a PLAN OF ACTION. Here are 7 question to ask yourself the week leading up to competition. 7 Questions 1. What does your on-ice warm-up look like? 2. What does your off-ice warm-up look like? 3. What time are you skating? 4. Where are you in the flight? Do you prefer that spot or not? 5. Have you skated at that rink before? 6. How early do you like to arrive? 7. How would you rate your confidence level on a scale from 1-10? How would you rate your nerves on a scale from 1-10? Answering these questions requires you to think about the factors that contribute to your performance success. Some of these factors are controllable and others are not. It is important to recognize that you always have control over one thing….your mindset! You can choose to allow external, uncontrollable factors to affect your performance or not. Preparing ahead and creating a PLAN OF ACTION decreases nervousness and increases confidence. Until Next Time, Keep Your Brain in the Game
Let your Warm-Up be what it is
Let your warm up be what it is… Posted by Rebekah Dixon on Saturday, September 30, 2017
DO IT!…Despite Your Fear
Most skaters believe that they will feel more confident once they land a certain jump or if they are skating clean programs leading up to a competition…but in reality this is probably not true. Truth is, the most incredibly successful athletes in the world still struggle with confidence and to DO IT WHEN IT COUNTS!! In actuality it is not about how confident you are, but rather whether you continue to move forward in the face of FEAR and DISCOMFORT…or not. Like a turtle, do you retract back into your shell at the first sign of discomfort or do you continue to move through the fear? Do you get hung up on something not feeling just right leading to overanalyzing or do you use your keywords and training focus to keep you in the zone? Act Despite Fear If you continually act despite your fear or discomfort you will teach yourself how to be brave and establish this behaviour as a habit. There is no magic to bravery, it takes continuous commitment and practice to establish any behaviour as a habit. However, once a habit is formed it becomes automatic and flows. Being BRAVE is what really differentiates the “GREATS” from everyone else! You can be a GREAT! Until Next Time, Keep your Brain in the Game!
It’s a Marathon not a Sprint
When a parent inquires about mental training for their skater, they often ask, “how many sessions will my skater require? How long until we start to notice improvements in his/her mindset and therefore, experience the benefits on the ice?” Although this depends greatly on how quickly the skater “buys in” and how strongly he/she commits to the work, there is a standard requirement for change. Learning and applying mental techniques regularly to form new habits, ultimately leading to positive behavior change and results on the ice is more like a marathon than a sprint. Like any muscle in the body, the mind requires consistent flexing to strengthen. For the last 2.5 years I have offered 8 week coaching programs with the option to renew and what I have found is that the majority of the skaters I work with renew at least once. Many renew multiple times and there are some skaters who I have been working with for over a year. I believe that a level of commitment is required to get the best results and so I have decided to increase the Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program from 8 weeks (2 months) to 24 weeks (6 months). I can’t wait to continue to teach committed skaters how to use their mind to improve their performance on the ice! After all, it is about the journey, not the destination right?
Skating Moms, I Got Your Back!
Skating Moms, I got your back! Posted by Rebekah Dixon on Thursday, August 24, 2017
Stop Saying “Good Luck”!
Stop saying “good luck”! Posted by Rebekah Dixon on Saturday, October 1, 2016 Many skaters I work with competed this past weekend. I have spent weeks or even months helping them prepare mentally for the competitive season. A large part of that training is helping them create more productive, purpose-driven practice. Practice is the key to performance. You will only preform in competition as well a you do in practice. If this is the case than what about Luck? Great performance is about so much more than Luck! I am tired of athletes believing that by some stroke of luck they will go out on the day of competition and nail a jump or a clean program when they haven’t been doing it in practice. I believe this quote explains it perfectly, “Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity” – Seneca How do you attract more luck into your life…you pay attention to the 2 keys in this statement: 1. Preparation 2. Opportunity Preparation refers to your practice. Create more positive, purposeful, productive practices by setting practice goals daily. If you would like help with this then download my Practice Goal Setting Template Once your practice has improved you will notice a shift in mindset as you celebrate the small milestones on your path to achieving your BIG goals. Next you need to TRUST your practice. Trust that you have put in the time and effort required to skate your best at the competition. Opportunity refers to the competition/test day/show. It is when you have the chance to demonstrate all the hard work and dedication you have put into perfecting your craft. I want you to SEIZE the opportunity to go out there and skate your best. What if you were to look at competition/test day as an opportunity? Would this turn the often stressful event into a more positive, uplifting adventure? Next time you compete/test/show consider this an opportunity to go out there and show what you can do and remember, every competition is an opportunity to learn a new lesson that can be used to improve your next performance. Now that we have a better understanding of what luck really is let’s stop wishing “good luck” to our fellow skaters. Instead, wish them a great skate, remind them to seize the opportunity, and skate their best! Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game
Change your Thoughts, Eliminate Distractions on the Ice
During a first session with a new skater I always ask, how are your practices going? Too often they share with me the details of a bad practice and the many reasons behind what went wrong: I was tired, my skates weren’t sharp enough, other skaters were horsing around and that was distracting me, there were too many other skaters on the session. I ask them to write down the factors that contributed to the poor practice and from there we classify whether each factor is one that they can control or one that is outside of their control. For example: I was tired – within control Skates weren’t sharp enough – within control Skaters were horsing around and distracting me – outside of control Too many skaters on the session – outside of control Once we move through this exercise then we discuss how they could have changed the outcome of their practice and what they can do differently to make their next practice a success. The factors within their control are simple to change, they can get their skates sharpened before the next practice and make sure they get to bed an hour earlier so that they aren’t tired. Where it gets a bit tricky is when we focus on the factors outside of their control. What can they do about the distracting skaters or too many skaters on the session…at first thought there doesn’t seem like much. However, when we dig a little deeper we realize that what we can control is how we see/perceive our environment, those external factors. What does that mean? Well, once you are aware you perceive something as a distraction you can then take the steps to eliminate this. You can’t change the skaters engaging in the distracting behavior but you can change how you choose to perceive the action. Ultimately, it’s about taking ownership for your performance on the ice, changing the things in your environment which you can control and working on your thoughts around the things you can’t control because….YOU CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS!
Check Your Baggage at the Boards
How to: Check Your Baggage At the Boards Posted by Rebekah Dixon on Friday, June 3, 2016 Wouldn’t it be great if you could step on the ice with a clear mind to practice each day? If you could just wipe the slate clean from yesterday’s mistakes, today’s insecurity and tomorrow’s ‘what ifs’? In order to practice in the moment you need to let go of the past and future. A thought to help with this process is to ‘check your baggage at the boards’. Simply put….each day step on the ice with a clear mind, leaving whatever happened during your last practice, your last competition, or in your life before you came to the rink today at the boards. Remember, each practice is a new opportunity to learn, grow and transform into the athlete you are meant to be! 2 Steps to Help You Check Your Baggage at the Boards 1. Acknowledge What You Are Feeling Whether it is fear, anger, sadness…once you acknowledge what it is you are carrying you bring it from your unconscious mind (controlling you without being aware) into the conscious mind (awareness). You start to take back control, take back your power. At this point, you can choose to think/feel differently. 2. Positive Self-Talk You can use positive self-talk to help talk yourself down when you feel your emotions starting to elevate. Deep breathing, in through the nose and out the mouth is also a great way to calm the body. Putting the two techniques together, using positive self-affirmations on the exhale of the breath makes it even more effective. For example, on the exhale say ‘let it go’, out loud or in your head. The goal is to make each practice a positive, productive and purpose-driven experience.
5 Ways to Reframe, “I hate morning ice”!
If you are a passionate skater you probably fight for every ounce of ice you can get your skates on! Often this means early morning practices, before school, while it is still dark outside, and when you are still half asleep. Your mindset and beliefs about whether you are a morning person or not can really affect your practice. The beauty is that you don’t have to be a slave to your mindset. You created these beliefs and you can change them by using a simple technique called reframing! Reframing shifts the mindset from the negative to the positive. 5 Ways to Reframe “I hate morning ice”! I love the peaceful quiet of the morning I can jump and spin without having to maneuver around lots of skaters I can play my music often I love how productive I feel after an early morning session My day is done so much earlier Repeating these to yourself is a helpful reminder but the most efficient way to evoke real belief change is by listening to a script that highlights these. I use scripts with my skaters that allows them to develop new beliefs more quickly and at the unconscious level. If you would like to learn more about how scripts can help, inquire about my private and group coaching. Until next time, Keep your brain in the game
Fake It Till You Make It: Tips to Start Achieving Your Goals Quickly!
I am sure you have heard the old saying, “fake it till you make it”. The idea that all you have to do is ‘pretend’ you know what you are doing and eventually you will learn how to do it. For skaters this is a perfect way to pursue goals. Simply put, set goals for yourself and immediately start acting like you’ve already achieved them and you will speed up the process of turning those goals into reality on the ice! 3 simple ways to start ‘faking it till you make it’ Start talking to yourself like you have already achieved the goal – Feed your mind the thoughts you want it to think. An example of this is saying to yourself, “I land the toe loop every time, with incredible speed and flow” or “my program is skated strong with expression and connection”. Feeling the feelings that you would expect to feel when you have achieved the goal – Identify what those feelings are for you. Happy, proud, excited! Once you have identified those feelings then you can start to experience them. The best way to recreate those feelings is to remember a time when you felt incredibly happy, proud or excited. Recall that memory and feel the feelings, see the things you saw and hear the sounds that you heard when you felt that way. Show gratitude for the things you have not yet achieved – Using your positive gratitude journal, include things that you wish to happen but haven’t yet. Showing gratitude for the things that haven’t yet happened allow you to start co-creating with the universe and speed up the time it takes to manifest these dreams on this ice. Until next time, Keep your Brain in the Game!
How Gratitude can Improve Practice and Performance
If it is true that WHAT YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS then do you think it is a good idea to talk about and focus on that one thing that you did wrong today in practice? Absolutely not! However, when I ask skaters about how their practice went typically the first thing they share with me is what went wrong. Watch this video on How Gratitude can Improve Practice and Performance Focusing on the Negative Negative parts of your practice and performance create negative thoughts and those negative thoughts tend to be the stickiest in the mind. Negative thoughts occupy your mind and are what you often share when asked how your practice went. When you understand the concept that… THOUGHTS -> FEELINGS -> BEHAVIOR Then you get a better understanding of how a…. “Negative Thought -> “Negative” Feeling -> “Negative” Behavior You can see how by focusing on what went wrong during your practice or performance you continue to create more of that behavior on the ice. So how can you break free of this cycle of behavior? Create a Practice Gratitude Journal Purchase a journal that you can keep by your bed at night. That evening, after practice write down at least 3 things that went well during that practice. There are a range of things you can include in your journal. For example… “I had a great lesson with my coach” “My friend complimented me on the ice” “I landed my double axel for the first time clean” As long as it is POSITIVE and FOCUSED ON YOU, you can include it in your journal. A gratitude journal works because it allows you to focus on and show gratitude for the things that went well during practice. You then attract more of that positive energy into your life and into your performance. Start implementing this simple tool today and notice the effects it has on your performance and mood. SHARE WITH ME in the comments below how this has helped you. If you feel this information could benefit others, please LIKE and SHARE. Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game!
The KEY to Training While Injured
At some point in your skating career you may experience an injury and the slew of emotions that accompany this experience are palpable. Frustration, anger, sadness to name a few are felt by your “whole team” (mom, dad, coach, family pet!, etc). You want to keep pushing through, your parents feel for you but are considerate of your future well being, your coach wants to be supportive and provide the right guidance but is thinking about the upcoming competitive season and is helping you “play the long game”. The truth is, no one knows how far an injury can be pushed or how much rest is really required to heal the physical body…but you want to keep training. How do you train when we are injured? The answer is….VISUALIZATION Harvard research has shown that… “MENTAL TRAINING CAN CHANGE THE PHYSICAL STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN” In a nutshell… Harvard Medical School observed the motor cortex in the brains of 2 groups of volunteers. One group was instructed to practice playing a little five finger piano exercise for 2 hours each day over a 5 day period, while the other group were only allowed to imagine playing the piano exercise. What was remarkable was that the region of the motor cortex that controls the piano-playing fingers EXPANDED in the brains of those who IMAGINED PLAYING the music, just as it had in those who ACTUALLY PLAYED IT!(1) What does this mean for athletes with injuries? This illustrates the power of your thoughts to influence your brain. So…if you are an injured athlete who is taking a physical break seize this opportunity to practice visualizing yourself performing. 3 Tips to Turn Visualization into Reality on the Ice! 1. Make it a habit Committing a practice to habit is the key to positive results. Practice visualizing for 3 minutes before bed 5 nights per week. Consistency is key to creating a habit. If at first you forget or struggle, stick with it and after a few weeks of practice it will become routine and easy. 2. See it through your own eyes See yourself completing the jump or your routine through your own eyes. This means that you notice your surroundings, ie. the boards, lines on the ice, the sounds of your blades cutting the ice, as you complete the element perfectly. 3. Pair a feeling with the visualization Identify how you would feel having completed the jump or your routine flawlessly, ie. excited, happy, proud. Consider the connection between how you feel and your body language. When you are proud you have your head up, shoulders back, a smile on your face. Position yourself this way to help you experience this feeling while you are visualizing. Once you are back training it won’t take long before your visualization becomes your reality on the ice! Visualization has become part of your routine, so continue to use it as a tool to help you achieve your goals. Until next time, Keep your brain in the game!  Sharon Begley, “The Brain: How the Brain Re-wires Itself,” Time Magazine.com, January 19, 2007, accessed November 16, 2015, http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1580438-1,00.html
Canadian Ladies Shatter Glass Ceiling!
As a young skater growing up in Cape Breton, Canada I had big dreams of competing Internationally, going to Worlds and eventually the Olympics! Unfortunately, the belief was that you could never make it living in our little community. There weren’t the resources, the training or the level of coaches required to get you there. My role models were the Canadian Ladies who were competing at Worlds and the Olympics, however even they seemed to struggle with having the technical difficulty and mental training to be competitive internationally. Our beliefs about our own lack of ability, geography, and resources impose an invisible glass ceiling on our pursuits, whether athletic, academic, or career focused. Having few role models demonstrating that your goals can become a reality also reinforces this ceiling. For decades this was the case in Ladies Figure Skating, but not anymore! At this World Championships, Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman proved that Canadian Ladies have the superior technical ability and mental strength to “do it when it counts”! They have set a new standard for Canadian Ladies Figure Skating and I believe have become role models for every little Canadian girl, from even the most rural area, with big skating dreams. I challenge you to identify your own “self-imposed beliefs” that limit what you can do. If Kaetlyn and Gabrielle can, not only break through but shatter the glass ceiling on Ladies Figure Skating in Canada, then you can overcome any obstacles standing in the way of your dreams…especially the mindset ones! Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game Looking for training to improve your mental game, check out Work with Rebekah to learn more about the programs I offer. *picture borrowed from news.nationalpost.com website.
Skaters, Don’t Throw Away a Practice because of One Mistake!
In a recent coaching call, a skater was telling me about a bad practice she had. She was explaining the emotions of panic and fear she experienced after a mistake on one of the jumps while warming up to run the program. From what I could see and hear, these emotions were still raw. If you are like my skater you have probably experienced getting caught in an emotional trap before. You step on the ice ready to skate and the first mistake knocks you off your game, sending you into a spiral of negative emotion. Here is an important equation that I helped her work through during our session to better understand how to control and change her behaviour. Thoughts -> Feelings -> Behavior In her case a fall on a jump in the warm – up was the catalyst that created the… Thoughts of “what if I can’t do this in the program?”, “remember when I lost this jump for a month!” which lead to… Feelings of panic and fear, resulting in the… Behavior of skating a disappointing run-through. In the moment, she was so caught up in her Feelings that she never gave any consideration to the thoughts that were steering the boat! This is very common. I helped her take one step backward in the equation to identify the Thoughts that created the Feelings and replace them with Thoughts that were positive and in alignment with her goals. By simply asking yourself, “what could I think or say instead?” and choosing to replace your self-doubting, worrisome thoughts with these, you take control, not allowing one mistake to ruin your run-through or practice. Once you are aware of your thoughts, you have the CHOICE to CHANGE them and CHANGE THE ENTIRE DIRECTION OF YOUR PRACTICE!
Gracie Gold: Lift Her Up Instead of Squashing Her Spirit
It makes me so sad to see the way in which the media has squashed the spirit of a beautiful skater like Gracie Gold. We know she has struggled this season to find her consistency in competition and joy in her skating but hasn’t that happened to all great athletes at one point or another? This time last year she was #1 in the US and moved on to 4th in the World…an incredible accomplishment for a 20 year old skater. She became an International Superstar in the skating world, taking on the stress of that at such a young age. Now, seemingly a superstar has fallen and everyone is making assumptions, predictions and pointing the finger. When I watch her and listen to her interviews I see a young, fragile girl who is still trying to figure out how to cope with nerves and self-doubt while carrying the expectations of an entire country on her shoulders. Why are we so quick to judge someone while they are down? Is it because secretly we are just happy it isn’t us? Or because when we see someone struggling or suffering it makes us feel better about our own struggles or our own suffering? What if instead we were to lift each other up? Gracie Gold is a 21 year old girl first and America’s Skating Sweetheart second. She is a daughter, a sister, a friend, and because she is in the public eye we tend to forget this. She is someone who needs a support team to rally around her not relish in her disappointments. When we lift each other up everyone wins! I encourage you to make a conscious decision to not consume and feed into the negative energy being thrown at her. You can do this by holding back your judgement and opinion and instead, sending her positive, hopeful energy that she will turn her skating around. She is a fighter, she can do it!
Would you talk to YOUR BEST FRIEND like you talk to YOURSELF?
Have you ever really thought about the way you talk to yourself? If you are like most young athletes harsh words, puts downs, self-doubt, and judgement are just a few of the examples of language you use with yourself. Can you imagine using this language with a friend on the ice? What do you think would happen? They would probably start to dislike you, spend less time with you, stop being your friend altogether! I am sure you probably couldn’t even imagine talking to another person in this way right? So why is it ok to talk to yourself in a self-deprecating way but absolutely not acceptable to do this to others? The answer is….it isn’t ok!! and it needs to stop NOW! This kind of talk will never help you achieve your goals in skating. It will never get you where you want to go in life. Instead, start treating yourself like you treat others and like you expect others to treat you. Be COMPASSIONATE, LOVING and PATIENT with yourself!! …when you are falling on the 100th attempt of the jump, judging yourself for taking so long to master it. …when you can’t understand why it seems so easy for all the other skaters and you are struggling. …when you let your nerves get the better of you in competition. …when you think you are too fat, too thin, too muscular, too tall, too short, not pretty enough. …when you can’t understand why this is happening to you. …when you feel so frustrated you could scream, cry, kick the boards, etc! I, personally have been there as a skater and as a skating coach. Understand that ALL skaters have been through or are currently experiencing similar hardships and…Remember to practice COMPASSION, PATIENCE, and LOVE toward yourself! Share this with a skater who needs to hear it today!
5 Steps to Control Your Competition Nerves in 2017!
I remember being a young skater and being so physically prepared for competition. I trained my body hard both on and off the ice. The muscle memory was there but on the day of competition a force greater than me would take over….my nerves! When you fail to plan for how you will deal with your nerves plan to fail in your performance on the ice! Just like you train your body during practice and off-ice conditioning classes, your mind also needs attention. Here are 5 simple steps you can follow to help you mentally train for the nerves that arise in competition. 1. Accept that nerves are a normal natural part of competition. It is normal to experience heightened levels of nervousness when you are in a high stress situation like competition. You have trained hard and are emotionally invested in how you skate. You are not alone!. 2. Acknowledge the nerves that you are feeling. Do not try to push them away or pretend they don’t exist. Instead, bring attention to them, taking them from the unconscious to the conscious mind, so you can change them. You will feel empowered! 3. Identify the nerves by listening to your body. Ask yourself, “how does my body express nervousness”? Write down the physiological and mental reactions your body experiences. Putting them on paper reinforces what you did in step 1 and 2. 4. Breathe. Use deep breathing to calm your nerves. Deep breathing in the nose and out the mouth has a very strong physiological effect on calming the body. The great thing about using deep breathing as a tool for relaxation is that you can do it anywhere: in the car on the way to the rink, in the dressing room while lacing your skates, or standing by the boards waiting to skate out to your starting position. 5. Breath + Visualization. To really reinforce the impact of the deep breathing you can pair it with visualization. While closing your eyes, focus on the body part that is experiencing the stress. Visualize yourself sending the breath to the body part and command the body part to RELAX. I teach this 5 step technique to the skaters I work with and also create a personalized script that they use while engaging in the visualization. If you are interested in learning more about this technique and the techniques I teach in the Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program, send me a message! Until Next Time, Keep Your Brain in the Game
Duhamel/Radford on Getting in the Zone
Last spring I had the INCREDIBLE opportunity to interview Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford after they won their second World Championship. In reviewing this interview, I realize there are SO many golden nuggets of wisdom they shared that can help YOU improve your skating. I decided to highlight one in particular. In this 3 minute clip we talk about ‘skating in the moment’ or ‘in the zone’. How skaters are often thinking in the future about what might happen or in the past about things that have happened, holding them back from really being present in their performance. Eric shares how they would already be thinking about the side-by-side lutzes while in their starting pose waiting for the music to begin. He reflects on when it didn’t work it was because they were ahead of themselves instead of letting it go, being centered and staying in the moment where they could access everything they needed. Meagan comments on how over the last 6 years they have had to relearn the same lesson so many times. She would ask herself, “didn’t I already learn this lesson”?, “why do I have to go through this again”?, “I should have already learned my lesson from past experiences”. Meagan concludes that this is what is going to happen continuously. You need to keep relearning how to stay in the moment and training the mind and body to be in the moment to allow yourself to create the magic of being in the zone. A powerful lesson that you and your skaters can really learn from! Until Next Time, Keep Your Mind in the Game
5 Reasons to Join Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind
Coaches, if you have been thinking about joining this fantastic group here are 5 more reasons to jump on board! 1.You will learn the best GOAL SETTING TECHNIQUES to get your skaters away from the boards and moving on the ice with MOTIVATION to create more productive, purpose-driven practice! Great practice leads to great performance! 2. You will have first access to ALL the TOOLS, WORKSHEETS, TEMPLATES that I create and use with the skaters I work with privately. I will teach you to use them with your skaters. This includes the newest worksheet I am creating to Eliminate Negative Emotions! 3. You will have the opportunity to CONNECT and ENGAGE IN DISCUSSION with other coaches from ALL OVER THE WORLD! Past Mastermind groups have had coaches from Canada, USA, Tasmania, and Mexico! The small group allows coaches to feel comfortable sharing and also the chance to brainstorm ways to overcome difficulties facing their skaters specifically. 4. Want to improve COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS? Can you imagine how much it would benefit EVERYONE if you could all be working together, on the same page, supporting your athlete’s development? You will learn tips and tools to QUICKLY BUILD RAPPORT, STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP and COMMUNICATE CLEARLY AND DIRECTLY with the parents of the skaters you train. 5. Participation in the Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind calls could not be easier! Curl up on the couch in your pajamas with a cup of tea and log in to the call from your home computer. Can’t make a call? No problem! you can just watch the replay. Have a a question you need answered in between the calls? Post it on the private Facebook group and receive invaluable feedback from myself, as well as the other coaches. Message me to reserve your spot! Until Next Time, Keep Your Mind in the Game
Shift your Mindset after a Difficult Skate
“We did the best we could today” Meagan said after the long program. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford fought through both the long and the short programs at NHK Trophy this weekend. They knew they could do better, we knew they could do better but… THIS WAS THEIR BEST ON THE DAY. You may be thinking, this wasn’t close to their “best” how can they consider it their best on the day or any day? This can only be explained by the fact that these two are so MENTALLY TOUGH and have spent so many years TRAINING THEIR MENTAL GAME that they have completely changed their mindset. (I know this because I did an interview with them last spring after they won Worlds for the second time! You can watch it here). This doesn’t mean that they won’t have a bad day or a disappointing performance. It just means that they won’t allow a performance or a practice to define them as skaters. They struggle some days and so do YOU! It is how Meagan and Eric choose to view the performance that gets them back on the ice Monday morning working harder than ever for the next one. When you choose to hold on to and define yourself by your best or worst performance you get stuck. Three steps to shifting your mindset after a difficult performance are: 1. Detaching from the outcome 2. Finding the lesson 3. Letting it go You are NOT your best or your worst skate! Your ability and awesomeness as a skater is about SO much more than how you perform at one competition!! I can tell you this, your coach can tell you this, your parent can tell you this…but it is YOU who needs to believe this to be true. *Ask me how I can help you shift your mindset and develop this belief in yourself! Until next time, Keep your Mind in the Game!
NEW Mental Training Program for Summer School
Coaches and Parents: Is your club running a SUMMER SCHOOL and you are looking for OFF-ICE TRAINING to include in the schedule? Would you like to try something NEW and INNOVATIVE, that focuses on teaching skills to help your skaters overcome their greatest challenge: PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE? Would you like to include MENTAL TRAINING with an organized curriculum that is hands-on and integrative and has a proven track record of success? How about a program that could be EASILY INCORPORATED using technology? Look no further… I want to partner with your club to offer a Mental Training Program as part of the off-ice training during your summer school. This is a first-of-its-kind and I am looking to work together with coaches and club members to create a program that is perfectly suited to the skaters’ level and compliments the other off-ice training offered. Details: The program will be offered via Skype. You can set this up in a boardroom in your arena with a strong wifi connection. All you will need is a laptop, a projector and a screen or blank wall. Parents and Coaches of skaters are invited and encouraged to participate. This is a great opportunity for your club to offer a new, fun and highly impactful off-ice program to its schedule! Schedule of Topics 6 Weeks Online Mental Training Program for Summer School Week 1: The Unconscious Mind and how it Impacts your Skating Week 2: Changing Negative Thoughts into Positive/ Combating Perfectionism Week 3: Practice Goal Setting – Creating Positive, Purposeful, Productive Practice Week 4: Expanding the Practice Comfort Zone/Becoming more Adaptable Week 5: The Power of Visualization and How to make it Work for YOU Week 6: Identifying the Ingredients of a Successful Performance/Building Consistency The investment for this program will range from $150-$200 per 1 hour session depending on the size of group. Session length and topics are flexible. Message me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to talk about the details!
6 Ways Mental Training can TRANSFORM Your Skating!
Mental Training is a hugely important and unfortunately under-utilized piece of the training puzzle. Just like you fuel your body with healthy food and exercise, your mind also requires nourishment in the form of positive, focused thoughts and mental training tools. When you train your mind you learn to use your mind to work for you as opposed to against you and by doing so TRANSFORM your skating! Here are 6 examples of how mental training will impact your performance. Mental Training Decreases/Eliminates: 1. Uncertainty around Goals – you learn to get really specific about what you want to achieve on the ice. You develop a crystal clear vision of what you want to accomplish the day of competition and how you are going to make it happen. 2. Bad Practices – you learn how to make your practices more productive, purpose-driven and positive by using tools like the practice goal setting template. Practice takes you one step closer or one step further away from achieving your goals, so it is important to make each count! 3. Negative Mindset – you learn to control your thoughts by first bringing awareness to what you are saying to yourself in those moments of struggle on the ice. From there you learn how to reframe those thoughts from negative to positive, eventually making ‘positive thinking’ a habit. 4. Nervousness before Competition – you learn techniques (ie. visualization, self-affirmations) to take control of your performance and get yourself ‘in the zone’. When you feel in control, you feel powerful and your performance benefits greatly! 5. Disappointing Performances – you spend time after competition learning to identify the factors that contributed to the performance, whether successful or disappointing. Identifying these factors gives you the opportunity to replicate them or find solutions to create a better performance next time. 6. Distractions – you learn how to ‘check your baggage at the boards’! This involves learning to detach from the outcome of a past element, practice, or performance, letting it go, and moving forward focused only on what you are doing now. Find out more about the Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program. Until Next Time, Keep Your Mind in the Game!
Eliminating Negative Emotions that affect Performance
Imagine this… You spend endless hours training. Your practices are consistent and strong in the days leading up to the competition. You arrive, practice ice starts, you do your warm-up but something doesn’t feel right. The rink is different and it sets you off. You can’t seem to shake it. This ultimately leads to you not skating your best and wondering what went wrong and how you could have prevented this. Can you relate? I sure can! Many of my competitions over the years were influenced by an outside factor that I had no idea was affecting me and that, if I had had the right tools to manage it, I would have been able to control how it influenced my performance. This is not just something that happens to you and I…it happens to the best skaters in the world! Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford Recently, Meagan Duhamel shared a similar experience she had at Finlandia Trophy. Meagan and Eric are used to training on NHL sized ice. In Finland, they only had a 30 minute practice to adjust to the Olympic size ice that they competed on. Meagan shared that they struggled to adjust and fit their elements onto the larger surface, causing them to overthink, feel uneasy and panicked, and overdo it. Like many skaters in this situation, Meagan and Eric allowed outside factors like rink size to create a lack of comfort, increased nervousness and unease that affected their performance. I shared with Meagan a process that I guide skaters through to help them identify the factors creating the negative emotion, work through it and reduce the affect it has on the performance. It begins with identifying the negative emotion they are experiencing…so for them it was that sense of unease or panick. The factor being the ice size. Then I have them identify the things they can control and the things that are outside of their control. Rink size is uncontrollable but how you perceive this factor is within your control. The final part is positive reframing. How can you reframe your mindset to no longer see rink size as a negative? This is where coming up with some strong positive self-affirmations to redirect your thoughts can be powerful. Also reminding yourself and visualizing great skates that you had on other Olympic size rinks could benefit the performance. You want control over your performance When you have worked so hard for a competition you want to be in control of your performance. Learning to eliminate negative emotions caused by outside factors is another important mental training tool to include in your toolbox. If you would like to learn more about how to eliminate negative emotions affecting performance, send me a message. Until next time, Keep Your Brain in the Game
Don’t leave your skater’s performance to chance…help them TRAIN THEIR MIND and get that Mental Edge before the BIG Comp.! Email me or send me a message on Facebook to book your 1 Hour Mindset Makeover with me before Sectionals!!
Moving from Perfectionism to ‘Enoughism’
Moving away from Perfectionism and toward ‘Enoughism’ Posted by Rebekah Dixon on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 How do we teach skaters to cope with the struggles of perfectionism? Don’t Define Yourself by How You Skate! It is about learning to define yourself not by the way you skate but by who you are as a person. So much of the work I do teaches skaters the skills to improve athletic performance, as well as, life performance. The skills that they learn follow them throughout their pursuits in their lives. This is what gets me excited! You Are Enough! I love the work by Brene Brown! especially the book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’. In this book she talks about moving away from perfectionism and moving toward ‘enoughism’. This means that you are enough, no matter what! You are not defined by your best performance and you are not defined by your worst performance. No matter what happens out on the ice you are still an incredible, intelligent, beautiful human being. Your Best on the Day is Enough! Moving past perfectionism is also about believing that your best on that day is enough. You train so hard for competition and sometimes you go out and the performance falls short. You can go over it 1 million times in your head but the best step is to accept it. These performances teach us our biggest lessons. Learn the lessons you are meant to learn and take that into the next performance to make it better….always knowing that you are enough! Like and Share with skaters, parents and coaches who need to hear this message today!
Perfectionism: A Portrait of Me the Skater
I was a skater once and this is a glimpse into how Perfectionism showed up for me on the ice. If you can relate to any of these statements then maybe it is a part of your life too. If you are like me or most of the skaters I work with you have experienced the need to look/act/be perfect on and off the ice. Setting a goal, working your butt off for months, achieving it then never stopping to pat yourself on the back or say good job, instead moving on to the next big goal. Having to land the double axel hundreds of times for you to acknowledge you did it! Skating a personal best but needing to hear “you were amazing” from others to believe I WAS AMAZING! Catching a glimpse of yourself in the glass as you skate by and hating what you see. Feeling good about yourself after a coach commented on how “thin” you looked having just got back on the ice after a week with the flu. Getting told by a coach that if you lost 10 lbs. you could land that triple sal chow. Never believing you are good enough. Believing you are a failure or disappointment to your coach and parents when you skate poorly. Having a bad practice and feeling like a bad skater. Never being content with how you skate, how you look, what you say, how you act, who you are. Contrary to my old beliefs, Perfectionism is not about striving to do YOUR best but rather about being “perceived as the best” by others. It is about needing that validation from others to prove that you are enough when, in reality, the fact that you are on this earth makes you enough! When we were little we had a much easier time believing this, then somewhere along the way that belief disappeared and we started caring about what others thought and judging ourselves based on how we believed we should look/act/be. What came first: the skating or the perfectionist? I am not sure but I do know that there are an incredible number of us involved in this sport and our passion only strengthens our pursuit of the unattainable perfection. Even as I write this letter, I continue to struggle with perfectionism. In reading this I want you to know that you are not alone. I would also encourage you to push the boundaries of your comfort zone and be real and raw, as I have just been in sharing my story, and ask yourself… How does perfectionism rear its ugly head for me, both on and off the ice? Remember education is power and awareness is the key to change. Start that journey today.
Synchro Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind
I have spots available for Synchro Coaches to join my exclusive Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind group! This is a unique opportunity to work with me and other Synchro coaches from around the world! The focus being on expanding your knowledge of the mind-body connection and helping you use this knowledge to impact how your skaters practice and perform! WHAT IS A MASTERMIND GROUP? A mastermind group is a meeting of highly motivated individuals who share a common goal and are looking to encourage and help each other improve. WHAT WILL WE FOCUS ON? Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind group will focus on increasing your understanding of how training the mind influences performance. Some of the topics we will cover include: ~Maintaining team spirit in tense training situations ~Developing motivation and strong work ethic ~Using feedback constructively to improve practice and performance ~Creating better connection as a team ~Eliminating negative emotions like frustration, stress ~Goal setting as an individual and as a team Remember this is YOUR mastermind, so I am completely open to any suggestions you have for topics you would like to include. You will also be included in a private Facebook group where you can post questions or ideas on these topics and receive feedback from the group between calls. WHEN, WHERE, AND HOW MUCH? Starting in September we will meet twice a month for 3 months from the comfort of your home, using Google Hangouts on Air. Sessions will last 1 hour and will be divided into informal teaching and group discussion! Your investment is a $47 per month membership fee. This will be an incredible professional development opportunity that will impact both you and your skaters! Spots are limited, book yours today! Email me at email@example.com
Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind
You are invited to be one of the 6 coaches in the exclusive Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind group where you will gain INCREDIBLE KNOWLEDGE in mental training techniques to enhance both your and your skater’s performance! This is a unique opportunity for professional and personal development, working with me and other skating coaches from AROUND THE WORLD! In the past there have been coaches from Canada, USA, Australia, and Mexico! What makes this opportunity so unique is that you will not only learn from me but also from the diverse group of coaches who also participate. This Mastermind is a ‘one of its kind’! If you are looking to take your coaching to the next level, to equip yourself with knowledge that will TRANSFORM you and your skaters performance than reserve your spot today! What is a Coaches’ Mastermind Group? A Coaches’ Mastermind is a meeting of highly motivated coaches who share a common goal (personal and professional growth) and are looking to encourage and help each other improve. What will we focus on? The Coaches’ Mind-Body Mastermind group will focus on increasing your understanding of how training the mind influences performance. You will learn mental techniques to help your skaters: ~Overcome mental blocks (“my jump is gone”, “I lost it!”) ~Stop popping, circling, and 2 footing jumps (among other bad habits) ~Combat competition nerves/distractions/loss of focus ~Develop motivation to work hard in a productive, positive and purpose-driven manner on practice ~Become more independent and knowledgeable about their skating ~and the list goes on…!! You will have access to all the tools I have created and use with the skaters I work with one-on-one. You will also be included in a private Facebook group where you can post questions or ideas on these topics and receive feedback from the group between calls. When, Where, and How Much? Starting Monday January 9th at 9pm EST we will meet twice a month from the comfort of your home, using Google Hangouts on Air. Sessions will last 1 hour and will be divided into informal teaching and group discussion! Your investment is a $47 CAD per month membership fee. This will be an incredible professional development opportunity that will impact both you and your skaters! Spots are limited, book yours today! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Strategies to Eliminate Two Foot Landings
Two foot landings on jumps is a really frustrating habit that many skaters are dealing with. In order to fix this habit you must first understand how habits work. Habits are housed in the unconscious mind. When you repeat an action over and over it soon becomes a habit. The good thing about habits is that once you identify one that isn’t working for you, you have the ability to break it and recreate a better, more productive habit that is aligned with your goals. Her are 2 ideas you can start using today to break down the habit of 2 foot landings: Use visualization – visualize yourself doing the jump cleanly on one foot, seeing it through your own eyes. If you catch yourself making the mistakes you do in practice go back and fix this. Visualization is meant to be practiced daily to have the greatest impact. Incorporate key words into each element – problems occur when we focus on too many things going into jumps. Key words help to focus you. Some examples of conventional key word include: up, right side, tight. Sometimes skaters create non-conventional key words. If you had the opportunity to listen to the interview I did with Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford after the World Championships they shared an example of a non-conventional key word they use on the throw quad sal. They say, “around Sylvie”. This refers to their coach Sylvie who will stand in a certain place by the boards when they are practicing the throw quad sal. This helps them to stay on pattern to land the throw perfectly. Start incorporating these ideas today and comment below or email me to let me know how they are helping you! Until next time, keep your brain in the game!
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford share Secrets to Success using Mental Training
I recently had the incredible opportunity to sit down with the two time World Figure Skating Champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, while they were on tour with Stars on Ice in Japan. Meagan and Eric are known for their ability to push the limits and perfect high level elements on the ice but what you may not know is that they are incredibly self-aware, centered, and mindful. We discussed the importance of MENTAL TRAINING and the role it has played in helping them end a roller coaster season on a high! In this interview they share with you the SECRETS to successfully: overcoming distractions, calming nerves, and performing in the zone like elite athletes. If you love following Meagan and Eric you can read more about them in the post-season edition of Figure Skater Fitness Magazine
Duhamel/Radford Win Gold in Mental Game!
Did you watch the epic back-to-back performances of Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford at the World Championships this weekend? It was exciting to witness them win a second World title and it was even more incredible to watch them overcome the roller coaster season they experienced and end up on top. It is not like they weren’t physically prepared to perform this strongly at every competition they entered this season….so what was holding them back? Mindset? Nerves? Confidence? Trust in their own Abilities? Carrying the Baggage of a World Title? The MIND is a muscle that, like the body, requires consistent training and attention but is often underestimated and poorly trained. When you listened to Meagan and Eric’s interviews after the programs they continuously eluded to the STRENGTH OF THEIR MENTAL GAME. After the short program they said… “we were nervous but centered…felt butterflies but in our gut we were confident…it was not a question, we were going to do it!” Meagan mentioned that they were sick of finishing programs feeling disappointed. She is a skater who is often referred to as tenacious and determined. PJ Kwong said that she put her money on the couple winning for this exact reason. But…. it takes more than just sheer willpower to do it. It takes hours and hours of training the mind to eliminate distractions and stay fully focused in the performance, to control the stress and not allow it to control you, and to bring awareness to the negative self-talk when it arises and reframe it. After the long program they said…. “we were aggressively focused….trusted our bodies to do the job….let go, were in the moment and created magic!” The focus was most noticeable on Meagan’s face, as she controlled her emotions while the couple completed each jump, throw and twist flawlessly. It was not until after the final element that she allowed herself to let go and express the incredible joy of knowing that they did it! Meagan and Eric are the perfect example of athletes who focus on training themselves “holistically” (body, mind, and spirit). Their performance at the World Championships was an inspired example of the Magic that you can create on the ice when you TRAIN YOUR MIND AS EFFICIENTLY AS YOUR BODY!
Patrick Chan and that D*** Triple Axel
The World watched last night as Patrick Chan floated across the ice in only the way he can, expressing every beat of his perfectly choreographed Mac the Knife Short Program. Flawless quad toe/triple toe combination and then came the triple axel. This is a jump that has seemed to plague him throughout his career. Even watching the replay on YouTube on my small MacBook screen I could feel the nerves as he stepped into the takeoff. He recovered well from a nasty fall and completed the rest of the program with grace and style, but I was left thinking… “that D*** triple axel, why does it give him so much trouble” In this moment I recall my years as a skater, a coach and now my work as a mind-body performance coach. Skaters can develop mental blocks on jumps. You know what I am talking about, a jump that you can do perfectly one day can disappear the next, leaving you, your parents and your coaches totally frustrated! Every time the jump is missed in competition, the greater the self-doubt becomes, creating the negative story that “I can’t do this jump”, fueling the fire of the block. So what can you do to start breaking down the block? 1. Identify the Negative Story you have created. What do you say to yourself about that jump? (I will never get this back!) How could you reframe it to be more positive and encouraging for you and for your future?(I can and I will, I have done it before) Continuously replace the negative story with the positive one until the positive one becomes the default. 2. Visualize yourself completing the jump effortlessly. Pair the emotions of pride, satisfactions, joy while visualizing and really FEEL the physiological FEELINGS of these emotions. If you pop, fall, or mess up the jump in your imagination then go back and correct it until every attempt in your mind is perfect. These techniques require time and effort and the more you practice the better they become and the greater the effect they will have on helping you eliminate the block. Share this post with skaters who could use some help overcoming a jump mental block.
NEW Mental Training Program for Summer School
Coaches and Parents: Is your club running a SUMMER SCHOOL and you are looking for OFF-ICE TRAINING to include in the schedule? Would you like to try something NEW and INNOVATIVE, that focuses on teaching skills to help your skaters overcome their greatest challenge: PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE? Would you like to include MENTAL TRAINING with an organized curriculum that is hands-on and integrative and has a proven track record of success? How about a program that could be EASILY INCORPORATED using technology? Look no further… I want to partner with your club to offer a Mental Training Program as part of the off-ice training during your summer school. This is a first-of-its-kind and I am looking to work together with coaches and club members to create a program that is perfectly suited to the skaters’ level and compliments the other off-ice training offered. This is a great opportunity for your club to offer a new, fun and highly impactful off-ice program to its schedule! Schedule of Topics 6 Weeks Online Mental Training Program for Summer School Week 1: The Unconscious Mind and how it Impacts your Skating Week 2: Changing Negative Thoughts into Positive/ Combating Perfectionism Week 3: Practice Goal Setting–Creating Positive, Purposeful, Productive Practice Week 4: Expanding the Practice Comfort Zone/Becoming more Adaptable Week 5: The Power of Visualization and How to make it Work for YOU Week 6: Identifying the Ingredients of a Successful Performance/Building Consistency Message me and we can set up a time to talk about the details!
Control your Nerves before a Performance
Consider this….you are standing by the boards, waiting for your name to be called, at which point you will skate to your starting position and perform your program. How does your body feel in this moment? Your legs feel stiff? Your heart is beating fast? How would you rate your stress level? An 8 or 9 out of 10? At the point where your stress level is a 8 or 9 out of 10 you have lost control of your performance and are probably feeling disempowered. Learn how to take back that POWER and CONTROL YOUR NERVES during your performance! The 3 step process Step 1: Bring awareness to how your body expresses stress? Identify the physiological reactions you have to stress and write them down. Example: exaggerated heart beat, uneasy stomach, stiff knees. Step 2: Practice and perfect deep breathing. Deep breathing refers to strong inhalation in the nose and exhalation out the mouth. This is a simple technique that has powerful, positive effects on the body. Step 3: Combine Step 1 and Step 2. Find a place where you can relax and close your eyes. Engage in your deep breathing exercise while focusing on the body part that you are experiencing the stress reaction in. Breathe into the body part, taking your stress down from an out of control 8 or 9 to a powerful 5 or 6 out of 10. When I work one-on-one with a skater I engage him/her in this process and take it one step further by creating a relaxation script that he/she reads, records and listens to daily. The exercise gets committed to memory and can then be used anywhere at anytime the skater feels stress. This becomes an essential tool for the athlete. If you would like to learn more about using relaxation scripts and other tools to improve your mental game check out my Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program
Canada’s Elite Skaters Demonstrate Mental Training at its Best!
Just like you, I am a die-hard figure skating fan. I have been that way all my life. Growing up a competitive figure skater in Cape Breton, when I wasn’t on the ice I was at home watching and recording every competition and replaying it over and over to analyze technique on jumps and spins and identify inspiration in intricate connecting moves to incorporate into my own skating. Now, some 20 years later, I am still watching and analyzing but I am more curious and interested in what goes on off the ice, in the kiss and cry or during an interview after a performance. I am a Mind-Body Performance Coach who specializes in training young figure skater’s minds, helping them improve their mental game and empowering them with the skills to achieve peak athletic and life performance. My goal is to educate skaters, coaches and parents on the importance of mental training Perhaps you have read the article I wrote about Patrick Chan after his incredible skate at Skate Canada this year. His performance was inspiring but it was the conversation I overheard him having with his coach in the kiss and cry that I believe young skaters could learn from the most. It was in those “quiet moments” that provided a glimpse into the off-ice training that helped an elite athlete create an epic performance. Read the article here http://rebekahdixon.ca/what-patrick-chans-performance-at-skate-canada-can-teach-us-about-mental-training/ Today I want to share with you what I learned from those “quiet moments” at last weekend’s Canadian National Championships and use the performance’s of some of our elite athletes to demonstrate the impact of mental training at its best! Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro Let’s begin with Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, who had one of the most talked about performances of the competition. After an unexpected, brutal and total-fluke fall on the triple twist at the very beginning of the short program you would have thought that was it! There is no way they can come back from a fall like that and make the rest of the program great. However, it was evident that they had spent time strengthening their mental muscles because they were able to FOCUS ON ONE ELEMENT AT A TIME, LET GO of the twist and MOVE ON to the side-by-side triple toes. Completing the rest of the elements in the program flawlessly. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford Next, let’s focus on Meagan Duhamel. She expressed that she was “struggling to find the balance” that made her, and partner Eric Radford, so successful last season. This was evident during the programs, watching her go into the side-by-side jumps with uncharacteristic doubt and hesitation. As Tracey Wilson put it, “she was struggling to live up to the label of World Champion”. When athletes OVERTHINK their performance and allow themselves to get STUCK INSIDE THEIR HEADS they struggle to FOCUS FULLY ON THEIR PERFORMANCE. Stop focusing on WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST or WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE. Past and future are in your imagination. The present is the only reality. Focus fully on THE PRESENT PERFORMANCE. Patrick Chan The final example I want to share with you was when Elvis Stojko was interviewed by Scott Moir and shared an insight into Patrick Chan’s mental training. Patrick struggled to land all his jumps in his short program warm-up however he went out and skated a flawless short program. Elvis said, “Patrick used his warm-up as a warm-up, to get his body in the zone, not to build his confidence”. In Conclusion I believe this is such an important statement! For skaters, all their training has lead to this moment, this performance. The elite athlete is able to MAINTAIN FOCUS and LET WHATEVER HAPPENS IN WARM-UP STAY IN WARM-UP and not determine how they feel going into a performance. They go out and “do their job” regardless of the moments leading up to then.
Serving You in 2016!
Moving into 2016, my focus is on how I can serve skaters, coaches and parents better. I am excited to inform you that I will be offering…. Webinar Workshops – this will allow you and your skaters to participate in a Mind-Body Performance workshop from the convenience of your home computer! You will register, pay the fee, follow an email link, show up and then receive a recording in your inbox to watch again and again. Doesn’t get more convenient than that! E-Book – I am creating an e-book focused on achieving peak athletic performance. The e-book will include the many tips and tools I share with skaters during my workshops, group coaching and private coaching programs. This is a great accompaniment to these programs if you have already participated and can serve as a constant resource to keep you expanding your mind well after your coaching program has finished. It is also a great introduction to training your mind for those who are new to this concept. Mental Training for Summer Schools – mental training is part of developing a well-rounded athlete. I will be offering my services to Summer Schools looking to add a MENTAL TRAINING COMPONENT to their regular off-ice schedule. I will work with you to tailor a program that best suites your athletes. The set-up for this would be the same as I offer in my Group Coaching program: an organized seminar using Skype. Weekly or bi-weekly would allow for consistency and Opportunity Work would be presented to the skaters to complete each week. Keep an eye out for these fantastic new services I will be offering in the New Year! Thank you to all of you who consistently read my newsletters, have joined my Facebook community, Figure Skater’s Mind-Body Performance, have recommended me for your skaters, have hired me to support your children as they learn to train their minds. I am truly grateful to be part of the team of professionals that support young skaters in pursuit of their dreams!
Feel Confident Now!
Did you know that you could improve your confidence in a matter of minutes? Want to feel confident right now? In this video you will be introduced to an exercise that you can use to FEEL CONFIDENT NOW!
This Mom and Skater Really Get It!
I recently received a message from a Mom who had attended, with her two daughters, a Mind-Body Performance workshop I facilitated. She shared with me how her daughter has struggled in competition with performing in the long program especially when she has skated well and placed high in the short. The pressure to maintain her position at the top of the pack would affect her so greatly that she would make major jumping errors, like popping, and would feel devastated for how she let herself down. After attending my workshop she started implementing the ideas that I taught her and using relaxation techniques to help her combat her nerves. Sectionals presented a similar scenario, with her skating well in the short and placing in the top 3. Being a qualifying event the pressure was huge. Her mother relayed that … “not only did she skate her personal best long program but she won her mental game. She ended up in 5th and did not qualify for Challenge but she made the team, and more importantly she overcame her biggest problem, compete her best under pressure. She felt good after, even though she realized that all she needed was to rotate the double axel but she realized that the miracle was the fact that she was mentally present in the moment, that she didn’t give up for a second. She was the winner of herself, and I hope this is going to give her confidence for the future”. We don’t always shine a light on the fact that training as a Figure Skater builds character and great life skills. This Mom and Skater really get it because they are able to see the big picture, we are not just striving for PEAK ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE but for PEAK LIFE PERFORMANCE. Sometimes a performance is about so much more than just qualifying for the next competition… Those moments when we realize all our hard work, both on and off the ice, created the success we experience are the basis from which our confidence grows, showing us that our potential is limitless. When we pay attention to our thoughts and teach our thoughts to work with us we can concur nerves, fear, overwhelm, and all of those other feelings that keep us from achieving our personal best.
Creating a Figure Skating Community
Creating a Figure Skating Community There is something INCREDIBLY POWERFUL about coming together in community with others. As human beings it is just natural to want to be around others who share like-minded ideas, goals, ambitions, struggles, advice, etc. Figure Skating is an individual sport that can sometimes feel so isolating. “I am competing against you so I can’t be your friend, my daughter is your daughter’s biggest competitor so we can’t sit together in the stands, my skaters are your skater’s rivals so I can’t share advice on how to help your skater land her double axel.” Does any of this sound familiar? LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE When we focus on our competitors doing poorly or treat them disrespectfully, i.e.. wishing they will fall in their long program, hoping they get injured before Sectionals, hoping they have a bad day we actually attract this negative energy into our own lives and this often becomes our reality! When we adopt the mentality of THE ONLY THING WE CAN CONTROL IS OUR OWN BEHAVIOUR we take ownership of how we treat each other in the locker room, in the stands and on the ice. YOU WANT MORE POSITIVE THINGS TO HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE FOCUS ON POSITIVE THOUGHTS TOWARD YOURSELF AND OTHERS. FIGURE SKATING COMMUNITY So, getting back to the idea of community……we are so lucky to have the technology of today to allow us to create a virtual community with the click of a button! I have created a Facebook group called Figure Skater’s Mind-Body Performance and I would like you all to become part of it! The objective of the group is to create community between skaters, parents, and coaches who love Figure Skating and want to learn more about the mental training side of the sport. Join, pose questions, interact with others and become part of this community! *If you can’t find us then simply “friend” me on Facebook ‘Rebekah Dixon’ and I will add you. **If you know others who would be interested in joining share the group with them. See you there!
Stop Making Excuses!
Cause > Effect Above is a simple equation that can dramatically change the way we view our performance, both on and off the ice. If you are on the EFFECTS side of the equation then you allow outside factors to control your performance and you always have a reason for why you didn’t get what you wanted ie. “if only my mom brought the right tights to practice today I would have skated better”, “if only the ice was set up like my home ice I wouldn’t have forgotten my program”, etc. However, when you are on the CAUSE side of the equation you take ownership and believe that you have created your performance, both the good and the bad, and YOU have the power to change it ie. “maybe mom doesn’t realize which tights i like to practice in so next time I have to pack my bag the night before”, “every ice surface is different and I know that I can get distracted by this so next competition I am heading to the rink early to check it out and do a visual run through of my program”, etc. The road to Empowered Performance begins with YOU taking ownership for the results you create, both on and off the ice! And it all starts by asking yourself the simple question…. “what side of the equation am I on?” Need inspiration for your design? Here’s what other MailChimp users are doing. Know your club would benefit from this information? Let’s set up a Skype Workshop! All you need is the internet, a projector and a blank wall and you can have me on the big screen sharing my knowledge with your skaters, coaches and parents….doesn’t get much easier than that! Contact me: email@example.com And join my group on Facebook: Figure Skater’s Mind-Body Performance and keep the conversation going about mental training for figure skaters.
Practice Makes Perfect!How to Practice Like a Champion
To perform like a champion you need to practice like a champion. I believe… “each practice takes you one step closer or one step further away from achieving everything you want on the ice”. This means that each practice counts so you want to make sure you are physically, mentally, and emotionally present when you step on the ice. Knowing this, how do you create productive practice? Expand Your Practice Comfort Zone 1. Change your warm up – spins before jumps, jumps in a different order (i.e.. lutz -> axel) 2. Practice your routine starting from the other end of the ice. Set Practice Goals Ask yourself…. 1. What do i want to achieve on this 1 hour practice? 2. How long will I work on each goal? 3. How will I know when I have achieved it? 4. How will I feel when I have achieved it? Create a Plan of Action Remember when you set BIG GOALS you need to create BIG ACTION STEPS that will guarantee your success. BIG DREAMS = BIG GOALS = BIG ACTION STEPS BIG ACTION STEPS aren’t always the easiest and most comfortable. Examples of BIG ACTION STEPS include: adding 3 days/week of off-ice jumps, arriving at the rink for practice 30 minutes early to warm-up, practicing visualization 5 days/week, hiring a Performance Coach, like me, to TRAIN YOUR MIND! OPPORTUNITY TO TRAIN YOUR MIND Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program 8-30 minute coaching calls with skater (Phone, FaceTime, or Skype) PLUS will add in 2 FREE 30 minute coaching calls for parents $500 value for $297 (when you book during the month of August) “My daughter just finished the 8 week Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program. We’ve noticed a huge improvement in her training and performance. We also noticed our daughter becoming more confident and landing all of her jumps. My daughter used to pop a lot of jumps and circle and Rebekah broke down that habit. I Can’t thank you enough Rebekah for everything you’ve done! When I see my daughter skate I see a very confident and assertive skater. Rebekah teaches the skater to let go of anything that’s holding them back. I would not hesitate to recommend her or refer her. She’s GOLD and worth every penny! We look forward to working with her for many more years!” – Mother of Ottawa Skater
Stop Popping Jumps!
Popping jumps is a HABIT that drives skaters, parents and coaches mad! Whether you are on the ice, at the boards or in the stands, the frustration can be felt throughout the arena and unfortunately this is holding skaters back from achieving the high level jumps they are capable of doing. I want to emphasize that this is a HABIT and habits can be broken and recreated to help a skater achieve all their dreams, desires and goals. Now you are wondering how, right? Well….One simple and effective tip to break the habit of popping jumps is… Create Positive “I am” Statements or Positive Self-Affirmations – A great example of a self-affirmation for a skater who is struggling with popping is “I GO FOR IT EVERY TIME!” Say this to yourself in the car on the way to practice, by the boards before going out to skate your solo, in bed before you fall asleep. The more you say this to yourself the more you begin to believe it and the more it starts to shape your behavior on the ice. To access more tips on how to combat this habit check out: http://myskatecoach.com/product/how-to-stop-popping-jumps-2/ FYI *This fall I will be offering an ONLINE GROUP COACHING PROGRAM to prepare skaters for the competitive season. SPACES LIMITED. **Also, your club can host a SKYPE WORKSHOP with me! This is a VERY AFFORDABLE option for clubs to offer their skaters. Send me an email to inquire about a date, time and price. Until next time, Take care, Rebekah
Maintaining Motivation: Will Power is Not Enough!
Hello Wonderful Skaters! So many of you have told me that developing and maintaining motivation is one of the major struggles you face when it comes to high performance and reaching your full potential. Initially everyone sets goals and begins the journey focused and excited until obstacles arise (ie. it is taking longer than expected, you get sick, you injure yourself). At this point you begin to lose motivation and those old familiar voices in your head plant the seeds of doubt “you can’t do that”, “you aren’t good enough”, “you will never make it”. The end result, the finish line appears more and more unattainable and you either downgrade your original goal or scrap it completely. What is the major reason why most individuals fail at achieving their long term goals? The fault lies in focusing solely on the end state, the result that you want to achieve. Your brain devalues the importance of long term goals and this is why will-power is often not enough to get you where we want to go. Together with a partner, parent, coach, teacher you probably talk about or write down your goals at the beginning of the season. This is great, however, it does not help you commit to them. The magic happens when you learn how to become motivated by the action steps required to achieve your goals and, in doing so, commit them to habit. The process I guide skaters through in the Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program focuses on creating alignment between your habits and the goals you have set for yourself. There are 4 simple steps that I follow: Set the performance goal – We work together to get very specific about what it is that you want to achieve. Too often skaters are not specific enough or only know what it is they don’t want. Identify the action steps – Action steps are the things you will do on a daily/weekly basis to guarantee you achieve your goals. It is important to create action steps that are both comfortable and uncomfortable. Getting uncomfortable helps you expand your comfort zone. Visualize the achievement – You are instructed to spend time visualizing what it will be like when you have achieved your goal. What will you see, hear, feel? This helps create a compelling vision of your desired end state. Identify a feeling – How will achieving this goal make you feel? Pairing a feeling with the image that you have created in your mind is the secret to rapidly manifesting the result you want. Moving through these steps is a large part of the journey of achieving what you want but the real magic happens in the creation and utilization of the script, a process that is unique to the coaching experience. Once your script is presented to you, then you are responsible for reading, recording and listening to it daily. Listening to the script becomes one of the action steps and is an incredibly powerful tool for changing behavior at an unconscious level. This is a key component in the success of training the mindset to achieve peak performance. Because there is more to changing behavior, recreating habits, and maintaining motivation than the conscious mind can possibly take credit for, tapping into the power of the unconscious mind is the key on the journey to excellence. If you would like to learn more about the Mind-Body Performance Coaching Program I offer contact me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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