Why Should Skaters Avoid Focusing on Outcomes?
Do you worry so much about your score that you make uncommon mistakes in your skating program?
Focusing on outcomes is often the result of high expectations about scoring.
When outside sources (media, coaches, parents, fellow skaters) thrust their expectations or goals on you, it can translate to overwhelming pressure even for the best skaters.
What happens is that you internalize these high expectations and turn them into “should haves,” “musts,” “what ifs,” and all other sorts of unproductive thinking.
When you only focus on outcomes, you start believing you need to achieve perfection in your skating programs to meet the expectations of others…
You begin to worry about outcomes and trying to achieve perfection and you switch your style of skating from aggressive (going for it) to cautious (trying to not make mistakes).
The moment you try to avoid mistakes is very often the time when you make the mistake you were trying to avoid.
For example, think of a time when you were overly-focused on trying to achieve a certain high score… Did you make a mistake on a skill that you usually nail in practice?
Many experienced skaters recount times when they became anxious and fell on a simple skill, like a single axle, because they were focused on the score they needed.
The ironic thing is that low scores are usually the result of being overly focused on achieving a high score.
American pair team, Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran, know the dangers of internalizing expectations and only focusing on outcomes…
Castelli and Tran struggled with inconsistency at their fall events. Despite rebounding and winning a silver medal at the 2017 U.S. Championships, Castelli and Tran were not selected to compete in any international competitions.
Entering the 2017-18 season, Castelli and Tran have decided they needed a new perspective when it comes to competing. Instead of focusing on outcomes, such as their scores or even their selection to the Olympic team, Castelli and Tran want to immerse themselves into competing in the moment and to switch their focus from outcomes to focusing on the present and enjoying their sport.
CASTELLI: “We can’t control the outcome of a competition, but we can control the outcome of our own skating. That’s our main goal for this season: To put everything together, as much as possible. We know we’re not going to skate clean long programs every single time. But our goal is to make it like, ‘Wow, that’s an amazing program,’ every single time.”
If you want high scores, stop worrying about high scores. You have already trained your brain and body to perform the routine. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and have fun on the ice.
Tips for immersing yourself into your routine:
Run through your routine mentally prior to hitting the ice. Visualize yourself having fun instead of skating a perfect routine.
When you visualize having an amazing program, the pressure will subside and allow you to skate freely.
Be sure to define what you want to focus on the process. For example, develop a mental choreography of your program that will help you focus on the process.
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