Mental Exercises Part 2 – Facing Worst Fears (Kori Ade)

Olympic coach Kori Ade continues a discussion with her skaters about the mental and emotional side of skating.  In the first part of this series Kori used the metaphor of the “shell-less turtle” to help build confidence and calmness for competitions.  In this video, Kori illustrates the concept of facing our worst fears and how powerful that can be in terms of letting go of stress and pressure.

The majority of this video is a story by one of Kori’s skater, Jordan Moeller.  The story is funny, but it highlights how sometimes we have no control over a situation and how things that normally seem so important can become funny and trivial.  Obviously most competitive skaters are focused on outcomes, but taking the focus away from big-picture outcomes and addressing the smaller fears is often more productive.

Notice in the video when Jordan says, “I had nothing to lose.”  That attitude is hard to cultivate, but can be extremely valuable.  And it shows up repeatedly in major competitions as underdogs who have nothing to lose skate the performances of their lives while the favorites struggle with the stress (and resulting mistakes) that they impose upon themselves based on the expectations of themselves and others.  Mental toughness in figure skating is probably a bigger factor at the elite level than actual skating skills.

Bottom line:  Face your worst fears.  Be OK with it if it actually happens.  And try to cultivate the “nothing to lose” attitude.


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