This week I read a brilliant article on how bomb disposal experts keep calm in the face of intense pressure. (Yes – I think that puts your skating competition nerves into perspective a little bit doesn’t it?)

And do you know what?  They said exactly the same things that I say to my skaters!

Here are the top 3 mindset secrets bomb disposal experts use to keep calm under pressure:

  1. Stop with the “What If…”

Bomb disposal experts say “avoid the rabbit hole” in other words, when you start saying to yourself what if…?  What if…? What if…? And catastrophising into a downward spiral – or going down and down into the endless rabbit hole – STOP.  You will drive yourself mad.

Think instead about when you last did this thing successfully – what did you do that time which you can bring to the situation today?  Draw on past experiences which went well, think about what you did then and ‘rinse and repeat’.

And in any case – instead of “What if I skate really badly?” you can think “What if I skate really well?” instead.

  1. Focus on the positive and on what you can control

Make sure to keep your thoughts positive by thinking about all the things which are going well and what’s working – remember you need to be paying attention to what you WANT, not what you don’t want.

You can’t control what other people say or do or things that are happening around you, but you  can control how you respond to it. Keep your focus on what you can control and the outcome is much more likely to be positive. When you have a sense of feeling in control, you are likely to be more confident too.

  1. Knowing the next step is the way to stay calm and maintain focus

Use your mindset tools to eliminate any unhelpful and negative thoughts. Ignore what has already happened, you can’t change it and by dwelling on it you will lose focus on what you need to do next. Focus instead on the immediate step in front of you.

Thinking too far ahead (that difficult jump or spin at the end of your programme) will also mean you are not focusing on what you need to do right now. So stay in the moment and focus only on the next step.

If bomb disposal experts can keep calm under pressure then I’m sure you can too!

PS: If you’d like to read their article in full, click here.