How Do Figure Skaters Develop Consistency?
Consistency is what separates the good athletes from the great athletes.
Consistent performers such as, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryan and Michelle Kwan, have enjoyed long, productive years in their sport.
These athletes not only reached the pinnacle in their sport, but consistently competed at that level for the majority of their careers.
Reading this, you may be thinking, “I’m no Michelle Kwan… she is one of the most accomplished athletes in figure skating.”
This is not about being Michelle Kwan… This is about you skating and competing your best on a more consistent basis.
Elite skaters weren’t always consistent. If you were to interview Olympic skaters, you would hear stories of falls, bad programs and up-and-down performances during their early years.
Top-tier skaters reached that “elite status” because they actively worked on being more consistent.
Now let’s diffuse a mental landmine that ruins many skating careers… Many skaters equate consistency with perfection. These terms are not even closely related.
Perfectionism is the pursuit of an unattainable outcome.
Perfectionism actually leads to inconsistency.
A perfectionist skater will be so hard on themselves after a bad program that lead to more disappointed skating.
Consistency is not solely about results. Consistency is more about maintaining a certain attitude, routine and training habits which lead to competing within a certain performance range.
Consistency is not some accolade received at the end of a skater’s career but a mindset that a skater carries throughout their career.
How do elite athletes become consistent?
Consistency develops by maintaining the same positive attitude over time, preparing at a high level repeatedly and training the same manner you want to compete day in and day out.
Canadian figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond came to the realization that she needed to focus on consistency instead of perfection if she was to advance her skating career to the next level.
Osmond first qualified for the World Championships in 2013 where she finished in eighth place. Osmond knew she would need a shift in mindset if she were to medal at Worlds and eventually compete for a medal at the 2018 Olympics.
Osmond decided to work with a sport psychologist to improve her consistency.
The focus on her mental game helped Osmond achieve a silver medal win at the World Championships earlier this year and a dominant gold medal performance at Skate Canada.
OSMOND: “I found that [working with a sport psychologist] was a big part of my improvement last year, so that is something I won’t be giving up any time soon.”
Osmond talked about how working with a sport psychologist has improved her focus, training and consistency.
OSMOND: “If something is in my head and I can’t let it go, I can talk to her about it. Even speaking will get it out of my head and make training a lot easier the next day. But there’s also a lot of meditation, focusing work that has helped me a lot, not just at competitions but in everyday practice to make the practice feel like competition.”
Just like Osmond, you can improve your consistency and gain a competitive edge over the competition.
Improving Your Consistency:
Get a good picture of what consistency would look like for you…
Would consistency mean performing with more confidence, challenging yourself with new jumps, strengthening current skills, etc.?
Next, write down a plan for how you can approach training with the same consistent attitude, intensity and focus.
Remember, consistent performances start with consistency in your mental preparation.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- How to Increase Consistency in Competition?
- How to Harness the Power of Consistency
- Strive for Consistency, Not The Zone
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