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.