I’ve been thinking a lot about consistency recently, and how skaters can get more of it through practice. It started off when I was working with a new skater client who was really feeling down in the dumps about her skating. An injury earlier in the year had meant some time away from skating and since returning to training, nothing seemed to be working. The harder she tried, the worse it seemed to get. And the worse it got, the worse she felt. She was caught in a vicious circle, convinced that she wasn’t progressing at all.
I designed the Cracking Doubles Consistency Log just for her. My skater took one look at it and shrugged. It was ‘just a table to fill in’. At first she couldn’t see how it was going to be of much help. Fortunately she was willing to try anything, so she gave it a go. She came back to see me after two weeks and was amazed at the results – and at how much more positive she felt about her skating. She hadn’t expected this at all.
You see, the very act of counting up the jumps she was landing, and then the jumps she was landing fully rotated, meant that her mind was focused entirely on the good stuff. She was thinking about landed jumps instead of those she had popped or fallen on. And the more she thought about landing jumps, guess what? The more she landed! Meanwhile, the consistency log was slowly beginning to show better and better results. She says it was putting things into perspective for her – as previously she only had to fall once and she felt like it was a rubbish practice, a terrible lesson, the end of the world… but now she was feeling much more positive – focusing on the eight or nine landed jumps instead of the one or two she hasn’t yet managed to land.
This reminded me very much of research by Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University in the USA, about growth mindsets and fixed mindsets, and her TED talk about ‘The Power of Yet’. She said “I heard about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate and if they didn’t pass a course, they got the grade ‘not yet’ – and I thought that was fantastic, because if you get a failing grade, you think ‘I’m nothing, I’m nowhere’, but if you get the grade ‘not yet’ you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.”
So what of our skater? Well, she realised that in competition, landing 8 or 9 out of 10 jumps meant she was far more likely than not to land those jumps. Wow! Imagine how that could change your outlook and make you feel more confident about a competition!
If you haven’t already got a copy of Cracking Doubles, why not get yours here, persevere with it over the course of at least a month and see how much more positive you start to feel. And a positive skater is going to get far better results!