Be a Performer, Not a Technician
Skate intuitively… What does that even mean?
Skaters learn to focus throughout their programs on each element. The often get stuck in a practice mindset and forget to “be a performer.” Overthinking leads to mistakes, falls, under-rotation on jumps and other missteps on the ice.
So the argument is this: Should I perform technically or skate intuitively?
The answer is intuitively. These are two different ways to skate your programs.
In terms of focus, mistakes occur when your focus is misplaced: paying attention to the crowd, worrying about falling, thinking of the earlier scores of your competitions, etc.
Obviously, these aspects of misplaced focus will interfere with being your best on the ice. When you overthink or self-coach in the middle of your routine, you are skating technically.
Imagine skating your program with your coach yelling out technical information throughout your routine… Do you think you would be at your best?
The best focus to maintain throughout your routine is thinking about how to be a performer on the ice. It is immersing yourself in the moment. It is trusting that you can perform your skills you practiced.
It is focusing on doing, not thinking… And that is what is meant by skating intuitively.
Intuitively means skating by feel without conscious thought or self-instruction.
It is skating instinctively. It means skating without mental interference in order to just skate the best you can.
As you can see, performing focused and skating intuitively are similar concepts and it is this mindset that leads to peak performance.
That “skate intuitively” mindset helped figure skater Satoko Miyahara take second place at the 2019 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Cup of China.
Miyahara placed third at World Championships two seasons ago and has upped her mental game to ascend in the world of skating. Miyahara won the silver medal after scoring 142.27 points in the free skate.
After her program, Miyahara talked about the importance of freeing her mind and just going on the ice and performing.
MIYAHARA: “I was able to concentrate as I skated while remaining intuitive. I’ve been anxious in most of my events this season. So for now, I’m happy to finish second. Now I’m looking forward to the Rostelecom Cup. This was a good start for me.”
The ultimate point is to trust in the skills you have trained and skate intuitively. Just use it. The more trust in your skills, training and preparation, the better you will perform when skating your program.
How to Skate Intuitively:
Skating intuitively requires two things: minimizing self-coaching and immersing yourself in the moment.
First, you have to decide that all your practice is complete and not it’s time to just use the skills you have that day–even if they are not perfect.
Second, use a simple mental choreography to help you focus, but doesn’t allow for over thinking. Use one or two cues for each element.
Finally, define what you need to think about to be a performer on the ice. What would you do differently to just perform? Maybe focus on skating to your music and let the music guide you.
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