In a previous article, I discussed what to do when you stop making improvement or just have one of those days when nothing seems to be working. So what should an adult figure skater do on a day like this? Remind yourself that bad days happen to everyone, young and old, regardless of level of skill.
Some days, it's hard to get going for no real good reason other than I am feeling lazy, and sitting in the sun or on the sofa would be preferable. The hardest part is driving into the parking lot and asking yourself "what on earth are you doing here?" or "How are you going to survive the next two hours?" or "you're cold, you have dishes to wash …" or "The car is so nice and warm; there's a huge shopping mall half a mile away ….". Would milady like some cheese to go with that whine?
The first five minutes on the ice is the worst; I'm cold and uncoordinated. Somewhere in there, I transition away from stiff, cranky old lady to totally happy and comfortable old lady. The first five minutes seems to last two hours and the next 115 pass in five minutes!
So what should an adult figure skater do when this happens? Remind yourself it's only five minutes !!
The same thing happens at competitions: "What are you doing here? It's a Saturday! What if you crash and burn? You're up against the kids (well, usually they are 16-18 years old); they will make fun of you. "
Remind yourself that as soon as you walk into the arena, the adrenaline will hit and brain and body will remember that they've got a job to do. Your family is off doing their Saturday activities and are looking after themselves quite nicely; Don't worry (my older child even sends me encouraging text messages now).
As for the "kids", once they get past the initial shock of realizing that I'm not some skater's Mom or coach, they are intrigued and enthusiastic. I've had some nice conversations with competitors in their early twenties who feel they are at the end of their competitive career through a combination of injuries, reduced training time, due to school or work, or having ceased to improve their skating skills.
Few of them ever realized that adult figure skating is growing and there will be many chances for them to continue in the sport for as long as they want to and that they can continue setting and achieving personal goals. Often, their coaches don't even realize how many opportunities are out there in adult figure skating. This is essentially the reason for my website.
So what should an adult figure skater do in this situation? Get the message out! There is no need to give up on your passion just because you are past a certain age !!
Everything happens for a reason, the good days and the discouraging ones. Overall, the training is going well and the next competition is several weeks from now, so no need to panic (yet!). I have time; strictly speaking, I don't have to "peak" until the Adult World Championships in May. Although at my age, I'd settle for an "upward trend."
How do you get motivated on the blah days? What kinds of self talk do you use to get past the times of discouragement?