Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Go Time: Article #4 Welcome to training with Kate

From the book "Champions in Training" by Kate Howe, copyright 1992, 1999, 2008
Here is my welcome to my figure skating clients. The same principals apply for any client I work with on performance coaching in any sport.

Champions In Training: Welcome

Welcome to training with Kate. You are now a Champion in Training. You are not a kid who likes to skate, but a person who wants to be as good as they can at the sport that they love. Think like this, and who knows how far you can go! To that end, your job as my client is to ask yourself “How does this help my skating?” every time you do anything!

For instance, how does getting your homework done, done well, and in an efficient and timely manner help your skating? School is vital to your success, and you will never stop learning, even when you move in to an Olympic training center. You will have to do the SAME amount of work to higher standards with a tutor in small groups when you live in a place like this. Doing well in school prepares you for a time when you have fewer hours and more work as you move up in the world of skating!

Then again, how does sleeping in late, skipping breakfast, leaving your skates in the cold car and not knowing where your music are help your skating? I am sure you can answer this question for yourself: you are behind, rushed, concerned, forgetful, without energy, with cold feet, a lack of motivation and ability to concentrate, and without a vital tool your coach may want to work on with you!

Your first job as a Champion In Training (CIT) is to remember my golden rule, which I learned from the incredible tennis coach, Brad Gilbert (who’se clients include Andre Aggasi, just for starts).

“Your job is to pay attention to the things that you HAVE control over, and LET GO of the things you DON’T.”

This is the foundation that my entire program is based on. Everything begins with this principal.

Lets look at this idea for a quick minute:

Do you have control over how good your opponents are? Do you have control over how many hours they get on the ice, how much money their family has to spend on their training, what age they started skating and who their coach is? No. So once you arrive at competition, and even before, it does no good to dwell on these things. Skating is a solitary sport. One of the most solitary. It is about you doing what you love, and doing it to the celebration of YOUR spirit for YOU. You are not competing AGAINST anyone, just doing the best that you can do with the skills and training that you have. In this way, it is much like the discipline of Yoga, a solitary, non-competitive pursuit that is incredibly challenging.

Lets look at what you DO have control over, and think about how those things might help you blow your competition away:

What you ate for breakfast, when you ate breakfast. For that matter, what you have been eating for the last three weeks! How much sleep you get, how consistent your schedule is, how hard you try in your lessons, how much you listen to and pay attention to your coaches. How well packed your bag is! What if you are in a strange rink and its really cold and there’s no warming room?? Aren’t you glad you ALWAYS pack hand and toe warmers, have a knit cap or an extra sweatshirt and warm-ups in your bag that you can zip on over your skates?

Part of my job as your coach is to help you discover what is in your control, and maximize those things to your benefit, so that on reckoning day all you have to do is grab your well packed bag and head off to the ice, relaxed and happy, knowing that your only job today is to skate like you skate every day of your life.

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