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Many people make the mistake of thinking that only elite athletes would hire a mental game coach for mental game training.
Whether you want to be an Olympic champion or to be the best darn skater that you can be, mental game training can help.
Or if you want to be the creator of the next world changing device since the iPhone, or have a fun job that makes money, mental game training can help.
The mental game strategies for sports and for life are the same. 30 to 80 year olds pay thousands of dollars to business and life coaches to teach them what they missed.
There is an explosion in popularity of personal coaching. People are not satisfied with where they are in their life. They realize that the quickest way to reach their goals is to hire an expert for help .
Expert Coaching Speeds Learning
Our local rink hosts birthday parties. People can hire a coach to come in and teach skating. Most people hire a coach for 20 minutes. Once my son was hired for the whole party.
At first we laughed, why would anyone hire a coach for that long? It adds to the expense of the party. Well, I left the rink after the party shaking my head. That mom was a genius!
The party started out with the usual 20 minute group lesson. For the next 40 minutes, the skaters received individual help and instruction.
I have seen many birthday parties at the rink. The participants skate for 5 minutes, get off for 15, then back on for 10 minutes.
Unless they already know how to skate, they hang on to the wall, fall and get frustrated. They leave the party skating the same way they started. No improvement.
This particular party was the exception. The party-goers had a great time on the ice. They were able to skate around the rink and even play with their friends on the ice. Everyone had a wonderful time.
This experience demonstrated to me the value of hiring and paying for an expert. I saw how it boosted learning exponentially when compared to group classes, or do it yourself learning.
A Changed Perspective
When I was young, kids joined a class to learn to play ukulele, or joined a team to learn how to play softball. There were always kids who were better than me. They were the ones that got extra attention from the coaches, played a lot and quickly became playmakers.
I watched these “talented” kids with envy. I wished it could be me. I didn’t know that the kids probably had prior experience in the sport. I thought I was less talented. Now I know that I could have had more success and learned faster with private instruction.
Hiring a private coach was not common in my family, and at that time it wasn’t widely available. It was not until my son started skating that I changed my perception.
Over and over I have watched how one-to-one coaching boosts skills. Coaching works in everything from music lessons to sports and business. Coaching allows individuals to become proficient in a short amount of time. When you are proficient, you will have more fun and success.
I have worked with many athletes of all ages and skill levels. I have seen the amazing transformations that result from mental game training. I am convinced that if you hire an expert to teach you, you will improve quickly if the desire is there.
Paid Coaching an Asset or Expense?
I am a sports parent too. I know you already spend a lot for on-ice private coaching. It seems like you need to draw the line somewhere. Of course we are all looking for ways to shortcut and save money. It’s difficult to change your thinking that by spending more money, you can save money.
I hope that after you read this, you will begin to see mental game training as an investment for now and the future.
Here are some comments and complaints I hear from skaters and their parents:
- If she can’t get this jump in a month, we are going to pull the plug. We’ve spent too much time and money already.
- If I can’t get this jump, everything I have done for the past 10 years is a waste.
- I have wasted so much time and my parent’s money on this. It’s like I’m a different person when I am on the ice at competition. I can’t skate!
- I know I can do it. I run clean programs in practice every day, but I always mess up in competition.
- I used to love skating. But now I hate it. I am so stuck. I should quit. I don’t want to, but I can’t keep doing what I am doing and not move forward.
- Sweetie, maybe you should become a recreational skater. That will take the pressure off of you.
- Do you just want to skate and not compete?
Parents and skaters are aware that skating is expensive. It is understandable that they are reluctant to spend more money when things are not going well. They think that more ice time or more technical coaching will help.
They ignore the biggest piece. The need for a mindset that can work through adversity and challenge. The mindset to ignore self doubt and move forward even when the situation looks bleak.
Think back to when you first started skating. You were full of the possibilities. You loved it, you caught on quickly and you made progress easily.
You (and your parents) had no expectations. You didn’t know much about skating except that each day you got better and better.
3-5 years later, the skills are harder, the competition tougher and you are older and wiser. More aware of how you compare to other skaters your age.
“When I first started, I used to breeze through competitions, but now I get so nervous and worried. What happened?”
What happened is the natural progression of development in the brain. The older we get, the more we become aware of others. We compare ourselves, “Who is better, who is worse?”
We start to listen to what other people say about us or about our abilities. We question if we are good enough to reach our goals.
We start to think more.
When The Skater Changes, the Training Needs to Change
The skater thinks and sees their abilities, the world and skating differently. But still continues to train the same way.
Why then are we surprised when skaters start to have problems in competition or in practice?
The missing piece, the most important piece, is the way the skater thinks.
His thinking has changed. Has his training changed to address this new aspect?
Mental game training addresses the way a skater (and supportive parent) think.
Mental game training is the missing piece.
The mind is the most powerful tool an athlete has. A competitive athlete can have all the tricks on the ice, but if her mind is not prepared and ready, the tricks are useless.
Usually, skaters and their parents focus on the outcome, the results. Whether they land the jump or win the competition, or mess up.
Mental game training works to bring athletes present in the moment. To focus on the task at hand.
When you focus on the outcome, you will waste much of your time and energy thinking about what you don’t have. This keeps you blocked and stuck.
Regular mental game training helps you to become the best athlete you can be. This knowledge will then help you be the best person you can be.
Call to Action
Take the first step. Start your mental game training by downloading this free eBook.
Read the next article in this series here.
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Get off the confidence roller coaster. Always be ready to skate your best in practice and competition.