Have you ever been told you are rushing? To slow down, wait, take your time, finish your movements? I’m assuming if you have ever worked with any coach, the answer is yes. Skaters are always thinking ahead and rushing from one thing to the next, but we often need to take a step back and go back to the basics of adding 1 + 1 together. 1 + 1 = 2 sounds simple and irrelevant to skating, but it is something that we often over look. It is not possible to magically get to the end result without going through the process first. We need to remember this in all areas of figure skating. Whether it is a jump and we need to hit each position first, or if it is the program as a whole and we need to take each step and movement one at time, we need to make sure we finish each one before going ahead. It is simple mathematics but we need to train our minds to focus on taking it step by step so it becomes second nature just like elementary additions. Time after time I have seen skaters rush their take offs on their jumps. Jumping up and rotating is the easy part, it is hitting the proper positions on the take offs in order to complete the jump successfully that is the challenge. In the skaters mind vs the coaches they just want to get up and rotate so they can land, but without a proper take off, the chances of it being a nice consistent jump is cut by about 90%. Focusing on each position of the jump comes first, if the take off positions happen, the jump itself will happen. Easier said than done. Focusing on each of the positions, visualizing them , and walking through them will all help get one step closer to actually doing it during the jump. Programs are another place where skaters always rush. We start thinking about the next jump instead of focusing on the movement we are making at the time. Have you ever seen skaters (or done it yourself) where they fall on a crossover? Or a spin that should be simple for them? It happens more than it should and most of the time it is because their thoughts are on what lies ahead. Finishing the movements makes the program look more polished. It is something that is hard to think about when there are so many other more difficult tasks to be done in such a short amount of time. We have to think about the jumps, spins and staying on time with the music and then if that isn’t enough also each of the steps and arm movements. Practicing focus is just as important as practicing the physical aspect of skating. We don’t just need to train our bodies. We also need to train our minds. It is very easy to slip in and out of focus with all of the distractions at the rink. There are other skaters whizzing by, coaches yelling, music playing and so on. That is why it is so important to train our minds to focus specifically on what we are doing. You will be amazed at how much more productive your sessions will be, how much more consistent your elements will be and you will also be able to feel the difference and possibly make corrections yourself if you are more attentive to your focus. Focus on one thing at a time. When you finish that one thing, then you can go on to the next thing. 1 + 1 = 2.