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ICE Mental Game Coaching was honored to host Olympic Coach Faye Kitariev for the past two weeks. Coach Faye was with Sasha Cohen as she won her Olympic Silver Medal. In her long career, she developed US National and international Champions and worked with many wonderful skaters including popular favorite, Johnny Weir and Shotaro Omori.
She currently works with individuals on High Performance Coaching for business and for life. In her stay with us, she shared many stories and words of wisdom for skaters. Here is some food for thought.
Coach Faye spoke about what separates Champions from all the rest:
When she was a young girl, at her training center in the Soviet Union she said that everyone was treated the same. You might be yelled at, called names, told that you were lazy, that what you did wasn’t good enough.
In the western world most of us would assume that without positive coaching and encouragement, no child would reach their full potential.
It’s true that not everyone at the training center became a champion…but some did.
What was the difference?
Not all of the skaters believed what their coaches were saying.
Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.
—Laird Hamilton, surfer
Those skaters who knew what they were hearing was not true, continued to believe their own voice;
“They are wrong, they don’t know me. I am strong. I am a hard worker.
I am a champion.”
Most of us believe what we are told or what we hear or read about.
Perhaps the most famous example of this phenomenon is Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes.
In 1945 a world record of 4:01.3 seconds was set by Gunder Hagg of Sweden, and for 9 years after that no one was able to break the 4 minute mile barrier.
People began to believe it was physiologically impossible…
until Roger Bannister.
On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran a time of 3:49.4. Once he did, the floodgates opened and many other runners followed in his footsteps so to speak with sub 4 minute miles.
As Coach Faye puts it:
Whatever you believe will happen…will happen.
She uses the example of a skater who was practicing his triple loop. He kept falling and falling, not looking like he was even trying to land it. When she asked him about this, he said that he hadn’t been practicing it long enough to be able to land it.
She asked, How long do you have to work on it before you are allowed to land it?
Are you living unconsciously by some arbitrary rules you have made up for yourself?
Do you feel you are:
Started skating too late
Don’t live in the right region
Lack good coaching
Don’t have enough money for enough lessons
Don’t have enough time to practice
If you are ready to take your skating to the next level, begin with these four steps.
1) Turn off your phone and the computer. Sit quietly and reflect on all the reasons you believe you will never reach your skating dreams. Write them down.
2) For each of those reasons, answer these questions:
How did I get this rule?
Is this rule serving me?
Do I want to continue to believe it?
2) If you want to abolish this rule, then do this exercise:
I used to think that I started too late to ever be a great skater.
The truth is, there are many things I can do to become a great skater, and the age that I started skating will not keep me from doing any of those things.
4) Make a list of things that you can do to reach your goals, then do them.
I will show up to practice ready to go with a great attitude and focus.
I will do my off ice regularly.
I will make every moment I have on the ice count.
I will work on my mental game because I know that skating is not only what I do on the ice.
Being human, we sometimes need that extra “proof” that things can be done. In that case, find your Roger Bannister inspiration, look for stories of skaters or athletes who prove your rule wrong.
I started too late: Johnny Weir started skating when he was 12. He was a World Medalist, Grand Prix Final Medalist, World Junior Champion, US National Champion and Olympian.
I am too tall: Carolina Kostner is 5’6” tall. She was a World, European, Grand Prix Final, and Olympic Medalist.
I don’t have to believe I am ___________________________. (lazy, untalented, too old, to tall)
The truth is I am ________________________________. (a hard worker, smart, talented…a champion).
See my review of Coach Faye’s Book , Choreography of Awakening
Learn more about Faye Kitariev
Download Free Confidence eBook
Get off the confidence roller coaster. Always be ready to skate your best in practice and competition.