Lifts, Spins, Jumps: When You Can’t Get Your Skates off the Ice
What happens when a skater who has always approached his/her tricks with fearless confidence is all of a sudden paralyzed by fear? Often as skaters get older, they can become more aware of the risk associated with the skills and tricks that they have become used to doing on a daily basis. This awareness can lead to fear, which ultimately can become a prominent factor preventing the skater from achieving optimal performance. This isn’t the end for the skater- sports psychology can help the skater overcome that fear and regain their fading confidence.
There are several factors that can underlie the fear: failing, falling, injury, being judged, and even success. The first step is to identify what it is that is causing the fearful. The main answers are typically falling and injury. Skaters fall! From novices stepping out onto the ice for the first time up to Olympians, skaters fall. Skaters should look back at all the times that they may have fallen in their skating career, and how many of those falls resulted in serious injury. Chances are the number of falls greatly outweighs the number of serious injuries. Understanding this alone can help a skater reduce their level of fear.
The skater must also be aware of the thoughts that they have prior to doing a skill and/or jump. If they are thinking negative thoughts (i.e., I can’t do this, It is too hard) or focusing on what they don’t want to happen (i.e., Don’t fall), they will experience greater difficulty in completing the skill successfully. It is important for a skater (any athlete really) to keep their thoughts positive and directed towards the outcome that they desire.
Another area that can help a skater to overcome their inability to successfully complete skills/jumps would be trust. Trusting in the training they have received and their coach’s knowledge of what they (the skater) is and isn’t ready for can help a skater get a little more confidence in order to attempt the skill.
Finally, it is important to remember that hesitation in throwing a skill and/or jump can lead to injury, so if you are going for a skill- go for it completely! For sport psychology tips or for sports psychology treatment, MVP Mentality Sports Psychology offers in-house and out patient treatment using a Neurofeedback approach. Dr. Lauren Hennessy is the director of MVP Mentality Sports Psychology and has worked with athletes of all ages and levels. Call MVP Mentality Sports Psychology today at 954-317-0551 or contact us online to learn your options and how Neurofeedback therapy can optimize athletic performance.