Figure Skating

Is Your Head Getting in the Way of Your Performances?

Do you work as hard on your mental toughness as you do on your physical elements?

So what kind of a head do you have on your shoulders? Are you competing at the level that you’re capable of? Do you regularly perform great in practice and then pop your jumps in important competitions? Are there particular opponents who you consistently lose to who have no business beating you? Do fears and self-doubts paralyze you and prevent you from skating to your potential. Are you the kind of skater who “wins” warm-up and then falls apart when it counts the most?

If some of these questions bother you, then you probably already know how critically important the mental part of your skating is. If you want to take your performance to the next level, then you have to be willing to take your training far beyond where most skaters go. Most serious figure skaters religiously work on the physical and technical parts of the sport. They’ll work on their jumps, spins, and combinations, as well as their strength and fitness. They’ll put time into the dance side of their performance. Is this stuff important? You betcha! You can’t become successful as a skater without “paying your physical dues” in this way. Hard work and good technique are definitely keys to success on the ice. Without them, you’ll underachieve.


  1. To skate your best under pressure, you have to be able to control your pre- and during skate focus.
  2. You have to learn to stay focused on the FEEL of what you’re doing and NOT on your THINKING.
  3. You have to discipline yourself to stay in the “NOW” of your program, focusing on one element at a time, in order.
  4. You have to let mistakes and falls immediately go and refocus on what you’re doing next.
  5. You have to avoid comparing yourself or focusing on other competitors. This will only make you nervous and undermine your confidence.
  6. The way you do this is by being aware the instant that your focus leaves what’s important, and quickly returning your focus back to the feel of your skate, in the moment.

When you go into a competition, you don’t want to hope that you’ll skate well that you’ll be “on” and have all your jumps! You want to confidently know that you’ll be ready! You want to be able to stay calm and composed, even if your warm-up feels terrible and you fall on all of your jumps! The only way that this can happen is if you spend time working on that all important mental part of your skating! When you step onto the ice at a big competition, once you’ve trained your muscle memory to take over, your success is almost all mental. What do I mean by this?

With practice, you can learn to master this critical skill of concentration. When you do, you’ll find that you consistently stay calmer under pressure and skate with more confidence. This will help you believe in yourself and when you’re under pressure, you need this kind of self-confidence to perform to your potential. Developing this kind of mental toughness is something that we can help you with!

Dr. Alan Goldberg is an internationally-recognized Sports Performance consultant who works with skaters at every level, helping them overcome performance fears and blocks, develop mental toughness and perform to their potential. Dr. G. is a regular columnist for a number of national and international publications. Dr. G writes on the subjects of peak performance training and mental toughness. He is the author of the revolutionary book, This Is Your Brain On Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good! Check out his popular Mental Toughness Training Package.

  • Dr. G, Sam did so well this weekend! She smiled the whole way through her program and was elated with her performance. She has her spark back.  The tears in practice have stopped. She told me today that she feels happy and that she is excited to skate again!

    Daphne Wisconsin
  • I want to thank you for giving Ainsley the tools to achieve her skating dreams this year. She struggled at competitions to complete the programs she worked so many hours to perfect in practice. Your advice was to “give her the control so she can be accountable." It worked!

    Judy New York
  • First, thank you for helping MaryJane rediscover her smile while skating. We've observed her "recovery time" from freezing and upsets improving dramatically. We also see her utilizing the mental tools she learned from you and your Cds in other aspects of her life. We can't thank you enough!

    Sandi New Mexico


OVERCOMING PERFORMANCE FEARS AND BLOCKS Are you struggling with a seemingly mysterious performance problem? Have you or your athlete suddenly lost BASIC abilities? FINALLY understand where this FRUSTRATING problem comes from and what you can do about it!

THE MENTAL SIDE OF ATHLETIC INJURIES The mental pain caused by your injury and the temporary or permanent loss of your sport can be far more devastating than the strained or torn ligaments, pulled muscles, ripped cartilage or broken bones. Unless this type of pain is directly addressed and “treated”, your overall recovery will be slow and incomplete.


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