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Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

Everyone I work with tells me the same thing: “Stephanie, you’re too cautious!”
And they’re right. I tell myself, and my coaches, that I’m not scared but sometimes, I just freeze up. I don’t know why it happens.

Like I want to push myself and go outside my comfort zone, even though I know there’s a chance of getting hurt. And I’m not afraid to get hurt (as long as I don’t mess up my teeth.) I am afraid of not pushing myself and regretting not taking those chances.

So my coach and I were working on my 5-step Mohawk sequence for my Adult Bronze MITF test and as usual it wasn’t good. I get to the left mohawk and I totally tense up. He says it looks like I’m getting ready to do a double axel; to which I always say “Foreshadowing?” Anyway, it’s frustrating!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewpdrt2gWwQ

I learned the left mohawk in December, after many years of trying, so it’s not a comforatable move for me, but still I can do it, so there is no reason for me to chicken out on it.

Coach was so perplexed he asked if I have coordination problems. Um, not that I know of. Then I got so mad at myself I hit myself smack in the head with the stick. (it didn’t hurt) but he was like “Yes! Yes! You have a bug on the brain!” WHAT!?

He explained it’s not a physical problem, it’s a mental problem – like a bug on my brain. (Is this a common Ukrainian expression??) The bug is the hesitation and I need to SQAUSH it!!!

OK! How the eff do I do that???????

Turns out this bug has landed on some other brains, and they gave me advice on how to squash it:

*Start with small steps that go just a little beyond the comfort zone. Always do a little more than what you think you are capable of. Little steps add up big time!

*Pad up! Being suited up like an astronaut gave me the confidence to go for it. And the more I skated, the more confidence I got, I started to take things off that I realized I didn’t need.

* Talk about it. Talking about your fear reduces anxiety.

*The opposite of fear is faith. When you are anxious, a great way to get out of it is to find some faith. Believing that things will get better is sometimes all it takes to make it better. It also helps to never underestimate the power of thinking positive or visualization.

*Commit. http://www.usfigureskating.org/Shell.asp?sid=20423 Read it.

*The best way to get over fear is to practice until you don’t feel scared any more. That might be a lot. That might be several years. Whatever. The more you do it, the more you will see that you CAN do it.

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A lot of the above advice came from skateboarder Steve Cave at http://skateboard.about.com Turns out skateboarders get scared too. And we thought they were so badass. 😉

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I had my 10th fall as an adult skater on Tuesday! (I know some of you fall 10 times a day. Good for you. Now shut up and let me finish my story.)

I learned to skate as a teenager and went through all the Learn-To-Skate classes before I graduated high school. I didn’t take lessons again until a few years after I graduated college. So since that time IN SEVEN YEARS I’ve fallen on the ice 10 TIMES.

Why is this such a big deal for me? Because Dick Button said “If you’re not falling your not getting better.”

He’s totally right. Not that you have to fall to get better, but that if you’re not pushing yourself you’re not gping to get better.

I’m built like a  Weeble Wobble and I’m a pussy so actually falling down is a big deal for me. It means that I’m pushing myself.

I always said that I’d stop counting at 10, but I think I want to really push myself and get to 15 before I move next month.

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Dealing With Crowds

I’ve skated regularly at seven rinks and at one time or another they all got overcrowded.

When I was a kid and thought I was God’s gift to skating it didn’t scare me. I thought since I obviously was such a great skater that everyone would get out of my way.

I was so lucky I didn’t hurt myself or others with my attitude.

Today, the crowds scare me. Not only because some skaters have the same cavalier attitude I had decades ago, but because times have changed. The skating rink is no longer a family destination, but a place to drop the kids off at. And parents who do stick around aren’t as protective of my behind as I am. So how do I deal with it?

Don’t show your fear. The benefits to this are many. One is you never know when you’re going to skate across a skater who thrives on cutting off the timid skaters. Another is if you display some confidence there will be skaters who will give you some space, just don’t get cocky and be sure to return the favor.

Relax. If you’re relaxed as opposed to rigid with fear you’ll actually be able to skate. And, just like a drunk, if you collide with someone and you’re body is relaxed you’re less likely to get injured.

Seperate your muscles from your mind. Remind yourself the fear is in your mind, not your muscles, so it’s you making yourself tense up.

Look up. If you’re looking down you’re going to fall down – or get knocked down by the kid you didn’t see coming.

Have confidence in others. Unless you think the skater cutting you off is completely reckless, have some confidence that they aren’t looking to knock you down. There are some skaters out there who know how to quickly maneuver around a rink and not take down anyone in their path.

Get in your bubble. I got this idea from the movie “Ice Princess.” Pretend you’re skating in a bubble to try to block out the surrounding commotion.

Help others. If you don’t have the room or nerve to practice your elements, offer to help some beginning skaters.

Pair up. Buddy up with a fellow figure skater to practice some elements or stroke around the ice. Sometimes working with someone takes your mind off the people around you.

Leave. If the crowd is really that bad get off the ice and ask the manager if you can get a rain check for a calmer session.

If you have any tips to have an enjoyable skate during a crowded session let me know, especially if you’re rink has been able to stop the on-ice texting phenomena.

Happy skating!
Stephanie Q.

P.S. If you’ve never had the pleasure of a crowded public session, this lady sums it up perfectly: http://wrekehavoc.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/skateaway/

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