As adult skaters, we’ve probably all been here… We step out onto the ice with a practice plan and positive thoughts only to leave moments later out of nervousness. Or maybe we feel of inadequate because we’re surrounded by skaters more advanced than us. Now, by leaving the session, we’ve overreacted and have gone and created a situation that was otherwise a non-issue.
This last May, I was out of town for a week and I made sure to bring my skates just in case I was able to find a local rink and get some practice time in. I found a nice rink, paid for my public skate pass, laced up– feeling confident that that would be the day I get my moving two-foot turn and forward crossovers– and I got on the ice.
Maybe public skate is different at this rink because — MY GOODNESS.
These skaters were throwing axels, doubles salchows, and triple lutz jumps! Sit spins! Camel spins! Scratch spins! I felt like I was in another world. A world I felt I wasn’t good enough to be part of. I’m trying to stay out of their way as I struggle to cross my foot over after 1/2 swizzle pumps. At this point, I’ve made myself as small as possible on the ice. Not moving from my little corner while practicing my two-foot turns in place.
I started being angry with myself for not being as good as them. So I got off the ice, sat down, and just watched. Only a whole 30 minutes passed before I let my insecurities of being an “adult skater” get the best of me! A new record! It’s not like anyone was mean to me or kicked me out. I bullied myself off the ice. That was $9.00 and an hour’s gas down the drain.
Changing My Thinking
In retrospect, I know that anger was an irrational reaction to that situation. I’m currently a level 5 adult skater and there are skaters now who look to me for help. Sometimes I’ll hear them talk down on themselves. I’m thankful to have had that experience in May because I am able to help them navigate those feelings. I can tell them, “Your improvement is the only thing that matters. You paid for this ice time. Get out here and practice.”
It’s important to remember that each and every one of us out there started out at level one. Whether we started as kids or as adults… Level one. Chastising yourself for not being better than the level you’re currently working on is understandable, but ridiculous. Being in the moment and focusing on your own practice is the only way to improve.
Shifting your perspective when you come to those feelings is key. There are some fantastic skaters at my rink. Instead of being intimidated, I now look to them as inspiration. I ask questions and applaud them after successful attempts of an element. I even applaud them after unsuccessful attempts because — at least they tried!
When I start to retreat into myself, my rink mates — the same people I used to cower before — pull me out and tell me to stop stalling and get to practice. And in turn, I do that for skaters I see retreating into themselves. The community is one of the best parts of skating. Use it to your advantage. We are all out here to be a little better than we were yesterday. <3
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”-Eleanor Roosevelt, probably