Performing At Your Peak After a Bad Warm-Up
A bad practice, right before a major competition… How in the world can you get back on track?
How can you focus when this week was a disaster?
This is an issue for many figure skaters…
Several falls in practice or warm-up just before a major competition can mess with a skater’s head and interfere with their ability to focus in the present.
The assumption is that your practice performance will carry on into the competition.
These skaters feel all their hard work, the countless hours of training and diligent preparation will be wasted.
These skaters think, “I’m messing everything up just when it matters most and I have no time to correct those mistakes. I’m doomed.”
Is that really true… Is a bad practice an indication or guarantee that you will have a bad competition?
Think back to other competitions, have you ever skated a great program after missing a couple of landings the previous day or the warm up didn’t go well?
There are three issues that are dangerous for skaters:
1. The belief that you need to be perfect.
Your need for perfection places undue and unbearable pressure on you to perform. Chasing the unattainable ideal of perfection is setting yourself up for failure. This focus is future oriented.
2. The misconception that past results directly affect future outcomes.
What happened yesterday, or even in the recent past, stands alone. The past is over and has little bearing on the present…
Unless you carry the past with you. When you replay the mistakes of yesterday or what happened in warm-up, you take your focus away from just skating in the present.
3. Lack of trust leads to under performing.
When you are focused on mistakes, it is impossible to trust your ability to perform. You have trained, honed your skills and prepared to perform your best.
If you trust in your ability to perform, then you also trust in your ability to bounce back after some falls in the past.
Eighteen year-old figure skater Nathan Chen, the defending national champion and America’s best hope for an Olympic gold medal in 2018, had a terrible practice the day before the short program at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Even though Chen admitted his “mind was not in the right place” the previous day of practice, Chen was able to re-focus on the task at hand instead on ruminating about ‘yesterday’.
CHEN: “I try to just make sure that I’m in my zone every competition. I’ll always get nervous regardless of how big or small the competition is. I definitely feel the energy is different than last year [being an Olympic year]. Ultimately, I have to do what I set out to do and focus on my new goals.”
Chen skated a great program running away with the short program and winning the event by nailing two quads and earning 104.45 points.
Chen would never have been able to hit his routine if he continued to replay the mistakes from the previous day.
Being present in the present… The ability to let go of past mistakes… Having stable confidence in your skills… These mental game abilities are the hallmarks of CHAMPIONS!
Performing at Your Peak After a Bad Practice or Warm-Up:
Just because you have one or two off-days, doesn’t mean that you can’t do well in the competition.
Stable confidence in your skills goes a long way… Focus on the years or practice and experience you have in your sport, not just one bad day.
Taking a long-term approach to your confidence will help you keep it stable through the rough patches.
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“Ashley wanted me to let you know that she placed very well at her competition this past weekend, thanks to you! She won the short, won the long, and had her personal best. She now looks at her competitions like ice shows and has fun. It is really nice to see her thoroughly enjoying the skate. She is very focused and very confident. We definitely attribute this to you.”
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