How long has it been since you competed? I know for most it has been at least 6-8 months. I am sure this is the longest you have ever gone without feeling the nerves and pressure of competing. Like anything you haven’t tried in awhile, it may seem scary to think about performing in front of judges and an audience. As human beings, we become more comfortable with an experience when we have the opportunity to practice it. You develop and hone your competitive edge by competing often. Since your competition schedule is currently out of your control, how can you keep your competitive edge? 

This is a question I have been considering a lot lately.  So, I wanted to share with you 4 strategies you can use right now…

Simulate Competition

I always dreaded simulations as a skater but I know how important they are, especially now. There is something about putting on your costume, warming up for 6 minutes and running your program on clean ice that just gets the nerves going…even if you aren’t being judged! Coaches and clubs can organize these times for their skaters. As a skater, see a simulation as an opportunity to practice competing. The more you do these, the more comfortable you will become. 

Visualize Competition

Think back to a time when you overcame nerves and skated great in competition. 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. Cut this memory down to a short clip that you can use to visualize. Visualize yourself reliving this performance. Learn more about visualization by reading The Key to Training while Injured.

Plan for Competition

Set performance goals for when the opportunity arises. What do you want to achieve in your performance at your next competition? Remember, your first competition may feel like more of a pre-season versus in-season competition, so keep the goals realistic, achievable. Next identify the action steps that you will take daily and weekly to ensure your goals are met. Bring awareness to any obstacles that might arise on your path to achieving your goals. Celebrate the micro-wins along the way to stay motivated.

Get Uncomfortable

I know you might be thinking…this is easy, everything feels uncomfortable lately! Covid has challenged us to step outside our comfort zones and try many new ways of doing things. Whenever you step outside your comfort zone it is going to feel awkward, uncomfortable, and even scary! However, you know this is the only way to build your confidence. So, warm-up your jumps in a different order, start your program facing the other direction, jump in a corner you don’t normally jump in. Every time you step outside your comfort zone, it expands and you become more adaptable. Pat yourself on the back for that!

Until next time,

Keep your Brain in the Game

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Use this worksheet to identify the KEY CHARACTERISTICS of your confident self so you can CHOOSE to use them going into your next competition.

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