Transform Anxiety into Energy in Front of the Crowd
What effect does the crowd have on you during your skating programs? Do you feel energized or anxious when the crowd claps for you and tries to cheer you on?
Figure skaters look to have clean skating routines. Focus on the wrong thing and you can be flailing and falling during your program.
One figure skater recently responded to our mental game survey and asked about performing better in front of spectators:
“I get so overwhelmed and anxious 30 minutes before my program starts. I hear the crowd come alive as the skaters before me look flawless. Just before I step onto the ice, I see images of me falling and the crowd becoming quiet. I am so afraid to fall and embarrass myself that I become a nervous wreck. How can I overcome all these problems and skate better in front of a crowd?”
You are certainly not the only skater to bring up this challenge in our surveys.
After all, it’s difficult to take the crowd out of the mix. When you step onto the ice to begin your routine, the audience erupts with cheers and applause.
As you ready yourself for the start of your program, the audience becomes eerily silent but not for long. Every jump you make elicits some degree of applause. A lack of applause after a skill means your skill was less than impressive.
Knowing all the different crowd reactions can be overwhelming.
The crowd is not the problem. Your anxiety comes from your fear of “what might happen” or how the crowd will judge you if you mess up your routine or score low.
When you are not focused on yourself in the present, your fear and anxiety often result in a self-fulfilling prophecy leading you to the very thing you are afraid of in the first place.
You have three options when it comes to dealing with crowd noise:
1. Ignore it – Some skaters have learned how to become hyper-focused during their program. These skaters are so immersed in their routine that they are unaware of crowd reaction. Skaters with this type of focus will often comment that they didn’t even hear the crowd until their program was completely finished.
2. Play to the crowd – Some figure skaters can feed off the crowd. The rhythmic applause from the crowd tends to energize these skaters, helping them to fully “go-for-it” and skate aggressively during their program. These skaters are capable of switching their focus back and forth during their skating routine, feeding off the crowd at one moment then completely focusing on the jumps when necessary.
3. Become overwhelmed by the noise – Some skaters are so focused on the reactions of the crowd, they become fearful of mistakes. These skaters feel all eyes being on them and they don’t want to embarrass themselves. Anxiety, fear, stress, pressure and under-performance result when you focus on possible negative outcomes.
Choosing the Right Mindset
Adopting the proper mindset or perspective will make all the difference in the world.
At the 2020 US National Figure Skating Championships, Mariah Bell skated one of the best performances of her lifetime, with seven triple jumps in her program, to earn the silver medal.
After her skating routine, Bell talked about how she fed off the energy of the crowd.
BELL: “I saw how into it the crowd was and I love to share what I do with the audience like that. I feel very awesome to have that experience.”
Bell saw the crowd as an ally not an adversary. You want to become a performer on the ice instead of worrying about a perfect routine.
When you view the crowd as an asset, you can become a performer and play to the crowd.
Discover Mental Strategies For Peak Performance!
You (or your athlete) might be the most skilled figure skater and train harder or longer than anyone else, but if you can’t take your practice performance to competition, you simply will not reach your true potential in figure skating.
Learn the top 8 mental game lessons to improve focus, composure, and confidence!
Discover proven mental game secrets to unstoppable confidence in practice and competition.
- Figure Skaters: Get the mental edge by learning how to take control of your confidence, mentally prepare for competition, and perform with composure under pressure.
- Coaches: Boost your figure skater’s confidence using simple, proven mental strategies.
- Parents: Help boost your athlete’s performance. Don’t let their mind hold them back any longer.
- Mental Coaches: Learn a proven system for helping your athletes boost mental toughness.
Improve Mental Toughness in Figure Skating
Download our figure skating mental training audio program: 5 Tips to Help Perfectionist Figure Skaters
- The top challenges for perfectionist figure skaters
- Why perfectionist skaters under perform in competition
- 5 tips to help figure skaters manage perfectionism
Download our free figure skating mental training audio program: 5 Tips to Help Perfectionist Figure Skaters
Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“Your work with my son Taylor has really helped him perform better under pressure. Your coaching is so good that I don’t want our competitors to find out about our secret weapon: Dr. Cohn!”
~Kevin Johnson, Taylor’s Father
“It was amazing!!! Before the show, I really felt like I was becoming the part. I was oddly calm, which concerned me because I thought my nerves might kick in on stage! But, they didn’t! I stayed focused in each moment, and remained calm, and actually did the difficult tricks better than I ever have! My coaches were all so proud of me and the one who I know the best was marveling at my calm, poised manner throughout the ballet. They said it seemed like I was doing it for the 15th time, I looked so comfortable. This is the result of my work with you! You gave me the tools to tackle this huge mountain of a role, step by step! I am beyond happy!”