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You have to master two important mental skills in figure skating: Confidence and Trust.
Do you define these as the same mental abilities? Many skaters don’t understand the difference between these two mental abilities…
Confidence is the belief in your ability to execute your skills…
Trust is the ability to skate freely and allow your skills to happen using motor memory (or what coaches call muscle memory).
I think the problem is that we use confidence and trust interchangeably in the English language.
Confidence helps you trust because a high level of confidence will help you free up your skills when you perform your program.
What hurts your trust?
If you are trying too perform too perfectly, have fear, anxiety, or try too hard–all of these can inhibit your trust.
In fact, a lack of trust is the main reason skaters struggle to take their practice programs to competition.
How to Improve Your Trust
First, you have to stop practicing and become a performer in competition. Get into your role instead. Simply, you have to trust in your learned skills.
Second, you want to simplify your skating by having a simple mental choreography. Avoid forcing perfection and allow your skills to happen based on your training.
Third, be functional instead of perfect with your skills. Don’t judge your skating as you skate–leave this to the judges. Instead, be in the moment and let go of the last jump, spin, or footwork.
Trust is the ability to perform freely and allow your skills to happen using motor memory (or what coaches call muscle memory).
One of the problems for many skaters is when they get stuck in a training/practice mindset… They fall in love with their practice and how to perfect their skills.
That’s good for practice, but not optimal for competition…
This means you don’t transition into the performer mindset–you stay focused on how to improve your skills instead of how to perform your programs.
In other sports–ones that compete each week during the season–these athletes learn how to stop practicing and start trusting their skills at game time.
How to Transition for Trust
First, taper off your training mindset as you get closer to competition. That means less trying to perfect your skills and focusing more on performing your skills with a simple mental choreography.
Second, as you get closer to competition, try to simulate what you will do in competition. Gold medalist gymnast Peter Vidmar did this successfully when he trained for the Olympics in the UCLA gymnasium.
Third, you have to stop practicing and become a performer in competition. Get into character and become a performer! Simply, you have to trust in your learned skills.
Download Free Confidence eBook
Get off the confidence roller coaster. Always be ready to skate your best in practice and competition.