What I consider to be a mentally strong performance may surprise you. It is not a clean skate every time! In fact, there may be several mistakes. It is how you respond once a mistake is made that is how you define a mentally strong performance.
An Olympic Example
Meagan Duhamel, with her partner Eric Radford, won the bronze medal at the Olympics in 2018. It was not the uncharacteristic touch down on the side by side lutz that would make or break the program. Instead, it was how they reacted in the moment that determined the trajectory the program took. Not 10 seconds after the mistake Meagan landed the throw quad sal effortlessly, solidifying their position at the top. This was only possible with a strong mindset and incredible focus.
The Performance Mindset
I often emphasize the importance of developing your performance mindset. If you aren’t already training this with my Performance Mindset Worksheet, you can download it and start today! This technique uses keywords to focus the mind on one element at a time and how to move past mistakes. You learn the technique of flooding the mind with the keyword to maintain your focus in the present. This was the technique I used with Meagan when I was working with her.
Mistakes and All
Maybe your mentally strong performance looks and feels like a roller coaster from start to finish, where you fight with falls, pops and well executed elements all in 3 minutes. The determining factor here is you keep on keeping on! You move past the mistake by detaching from the outcome and letting it go before you focus on the next element. At the end of the skate it is time to reflect on what you did well and where you could improve. This is the time to feel all the feelings…not during the performance.
A performance can’t be lost by one mistake, but it can make things difficult if you choose to carry that mistake through the entire program. Assess your last performance and ask yourself if it was a mentally strong one. Let me know in the comments.
Until next time,
Keep your Brain in the Game