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Conquering Stress in Figure Skating

Conquering Stress in Figure Skating...

Reacting to a Stressful Situation 

People react to stress differently. Some feel overwhelmed, frustrated, lost and alone.  Others feel invigorated, driven, energized and filled with hope.  Each one of us knows how our reaction to a stressful situation will affect us in a long run.  

Stress is a constant part of our daily life; how we react (or handle stress) is important here. 

If you need a paper bag (because you are hyperventilating) each time you face the triggers that lead to stress, you may have to learn the techniques that will work for you in order to calm yourself down.  It may be a visit to a sport psychologist, or a quiet moment alone. 

It is so important, especially if you are a figure skater expected to perform well in front of thousands of people.  No room for stage fright here. 

Is Stress a Necessary Evil?

You are after all at the top of the ladder along with quite a few other skaters.  

You may be the only skater in your country who has a fighting chance at qualifying for the Olympics; and based on your performance the future of your sport in your country may be determined.  Now, that's pressure!    Conquering stress

Being stressed out can be expected.  Or is it?  How do you avoid stress?  Or is it in fact a necessary evil?

There is one simple answer to that: 

Stress on the ice can be avoided.  Doesn't matter if you are stepping onto the ice at Summer Skate, Octoberfest or Sochi Olympics.  

How  do you avoid stress?  

By always subscribing to top notch working habits, by having a plan and being prepared.  

By being READY before each competition.  

The "being ready" part is not only your sole obligation as a skater, but it is also the responsibility of your coach.  He or she should care if you are ready and prepared. 

Consider this Scenario of Constant Stress

Season, after season you team of coaches looses their cool about two weeks before every major competition and goes into high gear at the rink, driving every skater to the point of exhaustion.  Programs are changed last minute, there is not enough time for every team, and the "more important ones" are on the front burners, while everyone else hopes for 10 minutes of attention. 

Then, at the event, most teams are nervous, stressed and falling apart.  To top it all off... after the event, once you are back at your club, you are blamed for not doing as well as you should have!  Year after year of this chaos... Enough is enough, right?  

Now lets take a look at 

What it should feel like... 

Stepping on the ice at an international competition; let's pick a huge arena like Espoo Barona Areena in Finland (Finlandia Trophy).  Thousands of people watching your every move; you get on the ice and what do you feel?  

You can have your legs shaking, blood draining from your face and you may be ready to loose your breakfast (if you had any).  

Or, you can look around, breath deep and smile. Calm and composed.  Ready to skate your program... and nail it!  

But to get to that moment in a calm and composed state you need to have the right  people in your corner

Oh, great!  I'm stressed out! Now what? 

Chances are that when you feel well prepared you will not be stressed out; however for those doubtful days, when there still is that persistent thought in you head: I could have, I should have...  the tensions is building and you find yourself searching for that paper bag.  

Find a quiet spot, breathe deep, count to ten... close your eyes.

Once you are calm and composed, run your program in your mind.  Feel it and see it, hear the music.  Take in the positive, concentrate on things you need to do, and believe that you are in control.  

Imagine, be thankful and believe.  Yes, we are talking about The Secret here.  It has helped many athletes achieve their goals. Conquering stress

It's hard work, but you have to do it anyway. 

Conquering stress is hard work, please remember that.  So is everything else that you need to do in order to avoid stress in the first place.  No one said it will be easy.  Even the best out there feel stressed out, because so much is riding on their shoulders.  

If you are driven and focused on your goal, you will find a way to overcome the hurdles and avoid the stress by...being as ready as you can be.  

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