I always leave competitions with lots of inspiration and ideas to help improve my skater’s mental game. This year’s Canadian National Championships was full of those. After spending the entire week in the arena there was one mental mistake that stood out to me most:

the skater’s inability to stay in the moment during the whole performance.

This mistake manifested itself in a skater….

1. Almost Skating a Clean Program

In several cases I watched skaters almostskate a clean program. It was the simple premature recognition that this was going to happen that created the distraction resulting in silly mistakes at the end. Popping the double axel into a single after just completing multiple triples or falling out of a position in the combo spin, held the skater back from making this dream of a clean program a reality.

2. Carrying the Mistake like a 5 Pound Weight

A mistake early in the performance led to later mistakes for skaters who were caught up in past thinking. When a skater does this the rest of the program seems to be weighed down with uncertainty. Questioning the landing instead of Assuming it most often leads to mistakes.

3. Worrying about the “what ifs?”

Getting caught up in future thinking can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety. A skater must only focus on what they can control. Worrying about scores and placements or how others skate are all examples of factors that are out of their control. Thinking about what you don’t want to happen or mistakes that you might make is a waste of mental energy. 

Strengthen your Mental Muscle

I teach using keywords in a strategic way to get and stay in the zone throughout the program, a mental training skill that every skater can benefit from working on. Keeping the mind focused on the task at hand and in the present moment is key to creating those epic performances.

Reframing and focusing on what you want to happen rather than what you don’t want to happen is the best strategy.

Until next time,

Keep your Brain in the Game

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