Popping jumps is a HABIT that drives skaters, parents and coaches mad! Whether you are on the ice, at the boards, or in the stands, the frustration can be felt throughout the arena. This habit is holding you back from achieving the high level jumps you are capable of accomplishing. Learning strategies to stop popping your jumps can save you a lot time and energy. First it is important to learn why you pop.

Fear of Failure

Perfectionism that leads to fear of failure is the top reason I see skaters popping jumps. As a perfectionist, you strive for an unattainable ideal. The athlete who never makes a mistake, who lands on the first try, and always skates clean. Making mistakes is an important part of learning. You will typically fall hundreds of times before getting a jump consistent. For some athletes this fear of failure or fear of making a mistake is so great that it holds them back from fully attempting the jump. This begins the journey with popping that can lead to a bad habit. I want to emphasize that this is a HABIT and habits can be broken and more productive ones developed.

Now you are wondering how, right?

There are 3 simple and effective strategies I teach to break the habit of popping jumps.

Positive Affirmations

Creating positive affirmations is a great way for you to stop popping your jumps. An example of this is, “I GO FOR IT EVERY TIME!” Say this to yourself in the car on the way to practice, by the boards before going out to skate your solo, in bed before you fall asleep. The more you say this to yourself the more you begin to believe it and the more it starts to shape your behavior on the ice.

Visualize Yourself

Use visualization as a tool to practice seeing yourself accomplishing the goal. Notice whether you see yourself from the first person or from a bird’s eye view. Practice incorporating the emotions that would be present when you landed the jump cleanly on the ice. Feel confident, happy, excited while you visualize. Create a consistent practice with visualization ie. 3 jumps, 3 times each for 5 minutes before you step on the ice.

Limit Number of Attempts

Limiting the number of attempts creates a sense of urgency when practicing the jump. This helps you to make each attempt count. I suggest 3 – 5 attempts of each jump, no more. A popped jump or one which you circle on count as attempts. This sense of urgency will encourage you to make each one count. If you have trouble staying accountable, get your coach to help you track.

Try reminding yourself that failure or falling on the jump is feedback. Mistakes are a necessary part of training. When you make a mistake you can correct for that on the next attempt. The only way to prevent popping your jumps in competition is to correct the habit in practice. Stop popping your jumps in practice and you will stop popping in competition.

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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