This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.
Monday, January 23, 2017
In a blog post from 2013 World Figure Skating warned about the dangers of overthinking; he maintains that overthinking makes you "choke." On that I would agree, but its scope and timing needs to be clarified.
Thinking interacts with training and performing across a complex dynamic. When you are learning something new you need to think about it constantly. Once you get fully practiced however the learnt behaviors become more deeply internalized into a partially subconscious state. Do you think about the shape of individual letters as you sign your name? You used to when you were little, but now you don't any longer. Portions of skating elements are like your handwriting: you internalize the angle of your foot, how hard you toe pick, how quickly you tuck your arms.
Although I agree that overthought jumps during a competition cause recurrent issues of inconsistent takeoffs, I don't have any particular qualms about your deep cogitations during practice. In fact I actually like to see you thinking deeply the entire time that you're in a freestyle. Try things and think about them -- that's how you learn!
And even at a competitive event I'm perfectly fine with your mental ramblings during your stroking, footwork, or spins. This shows that you're minding the music or planning your ice coverage or capturing your audience.
You will skate better however if you can find a way to approach your competitive jumps with your neurons silenced.