They say it takes one to know one and in the case of this blog the saying definitely fits. Although even those who know me well may not be aware that I can be a prime ‘procrastinator’ – in other words, I’m really good at putting things off which I don’t really want to do until the last minute. And true procrastinators can get really good at busying themselves with “displacement activities”. Have you ever had a piece of homework which you really didn’t want to do – so much so that even CLEANING YOUR ROOM seemed like a more fun activity than starting that piece of work?
When you get involved in competitive sport – even though you love the sport itself, this ‘displacement activity’ can set in as you find out more and more about what it takes to reach your goal as a competitive skater.
While it might seem as if all you need to do is turn up to the rink and have your lesson, this alone is not going to be enough if you struggle to get through your free programme because you don’t have the stamina and get out of breath. It’s not enough if you need a cracking Bielmann and you’re not flexible enough to lift your leg as high as you need to…
When I work with skaters we look at the sport in the round. What I do isn’t “woo-woo mental stuff” – I think of myself more as a ‘Performance Manager’. We look at what’s not working and identify ways to get back on track and often that process throws light on something which should be happening – but isn’t. You would be suprised at how many skaters I’ve worked with who absolutely detest working on the strength and conditioning. Or flexibility.
Yet without both of these crucial elements, how do they expect to get the results which will enable them to compete effectively? And I do hear some excuses… I don’t have time. I do it when I can… Mum has to take me straight to school so I don’t have time to cool down and stretch… My coach was going to do some stretches with me but she hasn’t done it yet…
Believe me, I know that when there’s something you really don’t enjoy, you can find every excuse in the world to avoid it or blame someone else for the fact that YOU can’t do it. But the fact is, to move forward you have to take a step. You have to take action. And if your skating isn’t moving forward – even though you are putting in the work on the ice – then it’s time to look at what’s happening (or not happening) OFF the ice and do something about it.
At the very least you should be working on:
- Mindset (including goals, focus and visualisation)
- Strength and Conditioning
- Nutrition and Hydration
- Rest & Relaxation
It’s not all about the ice. And without building the other ‘bricks’ into your foundations, progress will be very slow indeed. But it’s not too late. You can start with my downloadable exercise to see where you need to take action and what you can do about it.