Gracie and Yulia
Gracie Gold and Yulia Lipnitskaya have just recently gone public with their mental health struggles. Their relationship with the sport they love had to have played a role in their personal struggle. In many cases, expectations skaters put on themselves as they become more competitive lead to emotional overwhelm and perfectionism.
Early signs of this are obvious in the 12-16 year old skaters I work with. Their focus moves from the inward joy of skating and recognizing their talents to an outward focus on how others are performing and how they don’t quite measure up. Pressure from parents and coaches, whether real or not, is felt.
During sessions of mental training we focus on the basics: protecting your power, controlling your nerves, identifying and replicating the factors that have lead to your success in the past, and most important the keys to “getting in the zone”. Commitment to mental training leads to consistent “flexing” of the mental muscle.
Gracie and Yulia’s skating careers were cut too short. Neither will have the chance to compete at the Olympics this season. It is sad to think that this could have been prevented. If Gracie had sought out the right help after the 2016 World Championships, when she was clearly struggling, would she be on the road to the Olympics in Pyeongchang?
Taking a proactive approach to mental training works best. Here is a great rule of thumb: do the work before the problem arises so that you have tools to cope, if and when it does. Ask me how Mind-Body Performance can help you perform your best when it counts!
Until next time,
Keep Your Brain in the Game!