|My child becomes stressed several
days prior to taking a test or entering a competition. What can I do to
provide positive reinforcement?
Sometimes a seemingly assertive skater in practice sessions loses their confidence when they see a fellow skater taking the same test at the same test session and feels the other skater is better prepared.
This concern grows and becomes a full-blown depression that affects the skaters performance. The same situation can occur at competitions when a skater encounters the other competitors for the first time on a practice session.
Skaters can psyche themselves up to perform their best or go into a full blown funk (a physical/mental meltdown) in which their poor performance becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
It is vital that the coach and parents provide a realistic assessment of the skaters ability and consistence in practice sessions. It is nice if the outcome of a competition is a place on the podium, but the world will not come to an end if they don't place. Parents should stress performing at their practice level. For skaters who have entered several competitions, executing a harder element in their program and performing it well demonstrates improvement as they strive to become the best skater they can be.
Submitted by Ruth Sweet
USFS Gold MITF, Free Skating, Pair, and International Dance test judge; Intermediate Figure judge.
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