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!
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