MENTAL MISTAKE #8:
Analyzing Your Performance With Emotions
The final element of the program is done, the TV camera begins to zoom in on the skater’s face as all watch the smile fade and eyes downcast. The skater’s body language clearly shows disappointment, as the bows are mechanically performed and the skater moves toward the “kiss and cry”. Shoulders slumped, eyes down fighting back the tears, desperately trying to maintain composure.
This is an all too familiar scene, for far too many skaters.
The next skater finishes their program, an equally disappointing performance, but the skater shrugs it off heads to the center of the rink produces the best smile they can muster, bows and skates off the ice. In the “kiss and cry” the coach and skater nodding to one another sit discussing various parts of the program.
You can just imagine the conversation going like this:
- Skater: “Well…that didn’t go the way I had hoped!”, said with a bit of a grin and a shake of the head.
- Coach: “No, but your lutz was quite good, and I thought the new combo spin we added was done better than I’ve seen you do in practice!”, said with a smile and a pat on the back.
- Skater: “Yup, now I know where I need to focus for the next competition”
Skater and coach get up to leave the “kiss and cry” and you can just see the look of determination and focus on the skater’s face, next time will be better.
Wins, losses, achievements & failures create a kaleidoscope of emotions, reaching the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
But the experience gained from an awesome everyday practice to a disappointing season-ending performance can be valuable feedback or an outcome that produces tears and disappointment.
What we learn from these moments can either motivate and drive us forward to accomplishing our goals or they can create an emotional rollercoaster that overwhelms and interferes with performance.
How we analyze and get feedback from a practice or performance can lead to greater improvements or an emotional downward spiral of disappointment, frustration, and discouragement, leading to an erosion of self-confidence and the ability to perform to one’s best.
Learning to focus on the “small wins”, the “little improvements” from each practice or each performance, to look at all mistakes as valuable feedback is the blueprint or map to success.
The “Let It Go” phrase, as often overused and cliché as it may sound is an important tool for any competitor. Recognizing that mistakes are a necessary part of the learning curve and part of becoming accomplished and successful is just one of the many tools of a champion.
Dwelling on mistakes and staying in the emotions of the moment that occurred during a bad practice or poor performance that doesn’t go the way you wanted puts the focus on the outcome, the negative. It erodes self-confidence and allows focus to dwell where improvement and future success will not be empowered or grow.
What is important when assessing our past or recent performances is to look objectively and dispassionately at the performance without the taint of emotional feelings and opinions.
This can be a very difficult task at first but with commitment, practice and “relentless” determination learning to analyze each performance without emotion allows a skater to gain valuable feedback for greater future technical improvement and this tool becomes easier with practice allowing an athlete to make a plan for improvement, creating a better path to success.
MENTAL TOUGHNESS MIND GYM TRAINING
MENTAL MUSCLE EXERCISE: POST-COMPETITION FEEDBACK & ANALYSIS
This feedback exercise should be done after every competition EVEN if the competition was a success! You can also do it after each practice to plan for the next!
Allow for a day to go by after competition if emotions are high so that you can work on releasing the emotions first and look at the event with a calmer and dispassionate viewpoint. (But only a day or two, as being able to remember what thoughts, feelings, and emotions will become difficult or tainted by obscured thought patterns and belief systems.
Please answer the following to the best of your recollection and with the utmost honesty (remember to avoid self-criticism, that is not helpful or filled with truth, it is opinion, self-assess objectively based on fact)
- Make a list of all the “great feeling” and “mental win” moments of the competition.
- List of all the “technical” and “physical” improvements and accomplishments you made no matter how small from this competition compared to prior competitions.
- Make a list of all the “technical” and “physical” improvements that are needed to improve.
- Recognize where your mental mindset worked and where it needs improvement
These are just a few of the very important steps taken after every practice, simulation, and competition.
Email me to discuss how I can help you or your skater gain valuable feedback from practice and performance!
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Christine Reeves Beleznay, CMTT, CLC, CNLP
Certified Mental Toughness Trainer,
Certified Life Coach,
Certified Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner
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