This may have been one of the hardest training years of your life. Nobody could have foreseen a situation where rinks would be shut, schoolwork would be carried out almost entirely from home, and socialising with friends would pose a risk to you, your family and loved ones.
I am used to working with demotivated athletes, looking for ways to put back the old spark into their training. In many cases we look at how to see a challenge from a different angle – to ‘reframe’ the problem.
So here are some ideas to help you get through these next few months of ups and downs in your training.
- Injury time
treat the lockdown as you would if you had to stay away from training through injury
Many of the skaters I have worked with have been at a point where they are coming back from injury – or feeling anxious because an injury is keeping them off the ice. We can view this enforced time off ice a little like that ‘injury time’ – an opportunity to work on all the other parts of the athlete’s circle, the “Skate Smarter wheel” as I call it. Download your copy if you don’t already have one, and look at the other areas which you can be working on until you’re back on ice.
figure out where you want to be when we come out of lockdown, and work towards it
Goals are an incredibly important part of any major achievement. They help us to reach new levels and stretch us to achieve our ultimate goal. A goal is a dreams with an end date, a deadline. We don’t know how long the current situation will last, but you can make a rough guess and start working towards the ‘you’ that you want to be when it’s all over.
Some will have fallen away from training – and maybe given up skating altogether. In reality very few actually get to the top of that Olympic podium. It’s not a truly level playing field while some countries continue to train hard and others are not even allowed on the ice.
But it’s not all about the Olympics and that won’t stop you from moving forward. You can set your goals for whatever you are aiming at. The next British Championships, test levels to enable you to train as a coach, skate camps to train to skate in shows. All of these will need you to work on your mindset and mental toughness, your flexibility, your fitness and stamina – which can all be trained off ice. Set small, achievable steps in the direction of your goal. Have mini goals to achieve along the way to show you your progress.
Instead of seeing the lockdown as a huge obstacle to your dreams, see it as a chance to rethink, recharge the other areas which are just as important to your training.
Keep notes of what helps you and builds your resilience to setbacks
Journaling is a really useful tool and used by successful people from all walks of life. It’s about noticing what works and doing more of it. And noticing what doesn’t work and doing less of that.
My SkaterPlanner™ is built around this concept with its daily “The best thing about today” exercise. It works on a deeper level in the brain. Not only will there be at least one good thing about your day, but searching for it in your mind at the end of the day when you’re doing the exercise and noting it down in your planner means that you get to re-live that good moment. It releases the feel-good chemicals in your brain and helps to get rid of any anxieties lurking.
(There’s never been a better time to use your SkaterPlanner™ than now!)
So if this lockdown is getting you down and you’re feeling like you’ll never get back on track, remember that you’re not the only one, and you can come out of this better than ever by using these three simple tips.