Many skaters who work with me have reached a certain point which is making them unhappy. It’s having a knock-on effect at home. There’s a ‘discomfort’ which starts to build up around skating and so parents and partners become sufficiently unhappy about it that they want something to change. They want to see their skater happy again.
The old sparkle which was there at the beginning as the skater learned lots of new things and started to get better and better, loving the ice, demanding to be at the rink morning, noon and night if it were possible, and living, breathing and loving the whole skating scene just isn’t there any longer.
For young skaters, Mums are concerned. Anxious. And so of course are the skaters – partly because they are getting more anxious as things just ‘aren’t working’ anymore and they ‘can’t’ do it, and partly because – well, because Mum is anxious. It rubs off.
Meanwhile, Dad is seeing both Mum and Skater anxious and shrugging, he suggests giving it up – if it makes you unhappy, why wouldn’t you?
But he’s missing the point.
And for adult skaters, there’s much the same at home with partners and friends who don’t quite ‘get’ the attraction the rink holds for them.
Once the bug has bitten and skating becomes, let’s face it, a little bit of an obsession, and you’ve simply fallen in love with it, it becomes your sanctuary. It’s your ‘happy place’. The place to go and the thing to do when you’re feeling down, or confused, or angry or sad – or any sort of feeling. It’s the place where you feel you belong. THIS is something you can do. Except you can’t. Not anymore. It’s all unravelling and even though you want to skate, you want to be at the rink, your sanctuary, you’re not getting the return on all the effort you are putting in.
Having a place where we feel safe and acknowledged and good about ourselves and our abilities is crucial to our self-esteem. It’s good for our confidence too. When stuff at school or work is maybe not going well, friends are becoming ‘frenemies’ and possibly even at home there could be some challenges which you’re struggling to cope with. That’s when your sanctuary becomes truly important and allows you to let off steam, feel good, mix with people who just ‘get it’ and enjoy both the physical sensations and mental emotions skating provides.
It’s when this sanctuary stops providing some of these things that skaters often come to me. Suddenly it all seems much harder. The jumps aren’t working. People are overtaking you. Your competition results aren’t so great. Rink relationships and communication channels are on shaky ground. And there’s nowhere left to get that feel-good factor anymore. Because school or work sucks and life is just ‘bleurgh’ right now.
It’s at this point that it becomes important for a skater’s emotional wellbeing to get some help to recreate that sanctuary space. What can you do when your back’s against the wall and there’s nowhere left to get that happy place back?
Thankfully it’s relatively easy and quick to fix. We can drill down into the individual pieces of the jigsaw that aren’t fitting properly and put them back into the right spaces. We can look at what’s not working and put it right so that the rink becomes a welcoming (if not warm!) place again where you can be yourself and regain that temporarily lost confidence. And it should definitely make life better at home too!
It’s not a complicated process, but it takes a little time and effort, trial and error to get things back into place. Most people are back and buzzing within a few weeks and back on top of it all in three months. Focus on what’s not working. Think about what you want instead. Set a goal and work out the steps to get there. Implement. And you’ll find the knock on effects in the other areas of your life give you back that sparkle your parents or partners were missing in you.