Netherland’s Speedskating: Preparation is Key to Success

Olympic Mental Toughness

Mental or Physical Preparation For Competition

What do you do to prepare yourself for competition? How do you do train yourself, mentally and physically, to give yourself the best chance to succeed at competitions? Olympians dedicate countless hours, over the course of the Olympic cycle, working with coaches, trainers and mental skill coaches to optimally prepare for the Olympic Games. Preparation is one of the most important keys to success. Preparation helps minimize anxiety and enhance confidence. The more prepared you are, the more confident you are to perform your best.

The Netherlands’ Olympic speedskating team is reaping the rewards of their high level of preparation for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. At the halfway point of speedskating events, the Netherlands have dominated by winning 12 medals, which is ten more medals than the second place country. The 12 medals is one medal shy of the Olympic Games record. The Dutch have outperformed their 2010 Olympic medal total of nine medals and still have six events remaining. By comparison, the United States squad has been shut out of medals after earning four medals in the 2010 Games.

The Dutch team has been a force in speedskating events for several decades. Many analysts attribute their success to the fact that skating is a national pastime for the Dutch. In the Netherlands, there are more speedskating tracks than most countries in the world and most skaters participate in the sport from an early age. In fact, half of the Netherlands Olympic squad is comprised of speedskaters.

Just because the Dutch have the opportunity and facilities to skate doesn’t guarantee their success at the Games. The reason for the Netherlands’ success in the Games is their commitment to thoroughly prepare at a high level.

Both speedskating teams from the Netherlands and the United States are using technologically advanced suits during competition. The difference is the Dutch prepared by using these suits as early as the first event of the World Cup season while the US squad has been tinkering with the suits for a lesser period of time.

In fact the US skaters unanimously decided to change back to the old suits for the rest of the competition. US coach Matthew Kooreman called the suit change ‘just a mind game,’ “It’s mental now; we have something that we’ve eliminated maybe one small piece of doubt that people had. Now mentally I think people are focused and they know it’s on them to perform.”

Another difference between the Dutch and US teams is the location of their training. The Dutch prepared for the Sochi Games by training at lower altitudes similar to those in Sochi while the US team trained in the higher altitudes of Salt Lake City and Collabo, Italy. In essence, the Dutch prepared by mimicking the very conditions in which they would be competing, and their preparation strategy has proven to be successful.

Tips for Honing your Preparation

  1. You should attempt to replicate competition conditions during training sessions as much as possible.
  2. You should train with the same mindset that you want to utilize during competitions.
  3. You should prepare thoroughly, mentally and physically, so that your confidence levels are high when you compete.

Prepare yourself mentally for competition by working through The Confident Athlete Workbook and CD Program!

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1 thought on “Netherland’s Speedskating: Preparation is Key to Success”

  1. Mental preparedness is so important, yet it is much easier said than done. A strong mindset means you don’t let anything, big or small, get to you. Performing on the Olympic stage is a huge honor…but it is also a tone of pressure. Can you handle that pressure and not freak out? That’s mental preparedness.

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