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