Mental Exercises Part 1 – The Shell-less Turtle (Kori Ade)

Olympic coach Kori Ade has a discussion with her skaters about the mental and emotional side of skating.  In this video, Kori uses a fun and humorous exercise she calls the “shell-less turtle” (or “naked turtle”) as a metaphor for a skater that feel vulnerable.  She says, “Each one of us has to think about building our shell, and what our shell is built out of.”  Some of the aspects she mentions that a skater might draw upon could be a strong and supportive family, great friends to trust and count on for support, support of a coach, mastered skating skills, and their love of skating.  The “shell” she is talking about consists of things like confidence, character, support, structure, etc.

One of the skaters offers a great way for many skaters to look at it when they are feeling extreme pressure.  He said, “This is a choice.  I enjoy this.  I’m good at this.  This is easy for me.”  Kori also talks about another ordinary-elite concept:  “I’ve taken my nerves and I’ve learned how to control them, and not just control them but feel excited by them.”  These kinds of concepts can help all skaters at competition.  She asks her skaters, “Do you really feel when you step out on center ice that you are going to be OK no matter what happens?”  Surprisingly, many top skaters have never felt confident in competition.  It’s no wonder that non-elite athletes struggle with the same issues.  Kori is a master at bringing this kind of discussion out in the open, so the skater does not have to struggle with it alone.


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