During this challenging, uncertain time it is so important to focus on ways you can build unshakeable confidence away from the ice. You may already be experiencing a dip in your confidence, questioning whether you will be able to execute the challenging elements you once did. You can take charge of building your confidence by engaging in mindset strengthening strategies. Here are 4 strategies that you can practice while away from the ice.
Visualize a Successful Performance
Think back to a time when you overcame nerves and skated great. Remember how you felt when you were warming up, getting ready and right before you stepped on the ice. Notice how your nerves felt in your body. Reflect on when the shift happened. When you were able to settle into your performance, get into the zone and perform your best. Was it when you landed the first jump or got through the challenging step sequence? Cut this memory down to a short clip that you can use to visualize. Visualize yourself reliving this performance. This helps keep mental muscle memory alive by thinking about past actions that were successful and increases the chance of repeating these actions.
Using Positive Self-Affirmations
Positive Self-Affirmations are statements you can repeat to yourself about how you want to feel or be. Beliefs begin as ideas that we plant in our minds like seeds. The frequency with which you repeat these ideas will determine how quickly they become beliefs and eventually, actions. A relevant self-affirmation to use during this time is, “I have done it before, I will do it again”. This reminds you of your past and all you have accomplished. The muscle memory you have developed with repetition of challenging skills. Use this as a personal mantra that will help you trust your training moving forward.
Expanding your Comfort Zone
During this post-season you have been forced to be away from the ice more then any other time in your skating career. Now you are participating in off-ice classes online to continue your training. Showing up on video with 20 or 30 other athletes and interacting with your own coach or a specialist your coach brings in can be uncomfortable. Raising your hand to answer a question can be a bit frightening. This is you coming up against your wall of fear. Notice how fear presents itself in your body both physically and mentally. Remind yourself that by busting through the wall of fear, you grow your confidence. This week, acknowledge when you feel the fear and do it anyway. Pat yourself on the back for expanding your comfort zone.
Identify the Characteristics of your Confident Self
You have all skated with confidence at one time. Identify the characteristics of your confident self by asking: what does she/he look like, how does she/he feel, what does she/he think, and how does she/he act? When you pinpoint key characteristics you begin to create what I call, your Confident Athlete Avatar. You can use the worksheet I have created to help you work through this exercise by downloading it here. Confidence becomes a choice when you know how you act, look, feel and think at this time.
Next time you step on the ice choose to “wear” the characteristics of your confident self instead of just crossing your fingers and toes and hoping for the best! Focus on using the strategies during this time away from the ice to build unshakeable confidence.