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  1. #1
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    How to balance emotions with competitive preparation?

    I have had numerous conversations with coaches and skaters over the last 10 days or so - and there is, of course, an overwhelming feeling of sadness over the earthquake and tsunami and nuclear problems in Japan. One skater went so far as to say they feel "guilty" even talking about Worlds, it seems so trivial, given the enormity of the hardships facing the Japanese people.

    That said, when it's all said and done and Worlds is moved to a new location (regardless of where) - I am wondering what and how and who (specifically if there is/are anybody) you think will be most affected by this unavoidable delay leading up to the championships?

    If you are willing to be quoted on the CBC broadcast - please end your response with an OK - if you just want to share your comments, I am interested in seeing what everyone has to say. Thanks for your support! Cheers Pj
    Last edited by skatingpj; 03-23-2011 at 04:12 PM. Reason: forgot to add about being specific :( my bad...

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    IMO, the skaters will be the most affected. Generally at the end of the season, they're all exhausted and are looking forward to their vacations. But now their season has been extended and they must continue to train hard for another month or so. Some may even have to change training venues as some rinks only have seasonal ice.

    With that said, I'm sure the skaters will continue on happily just so they can get a chance to compete.

    OK

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    For a lot off skaters this will be there first WCh, i think they will be most affected by this unavoidable delay leading up to the championships. They didnt have a big experience.
    And canadian skaters, who must skate in CSOI, because they need to made difficult choice - if they will go to WCh and will lose money or they will go to CSOI and will lose there rating points.
    OK

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    I think the Japanese skaters will be affected more than the others and specifically, Miki Ando and Daisuke Takahashi. Both of them seemed to have decided to skate this year solely because the WCh was to be held in Tokoyo. I believe Miki planned to take next year off and Dai was going to retire. So, not only would these two be affected by the catastrophes in their home country, but they also have to delay their retirement/suspension of skating plans as well as losing the main reason they worked so hard this year (to skate in their home country).

    OK

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    I have feeling, that Japanese skaters will be very strong, like they never been. This will be very hard for themby they are very, very strong people. And i wish all the best to them

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwizzlerS View Post
    I think the Japanese skaters will be affected more than the others and specifically, Miki Ando and Daisuke Takahashi. Both of them seemed to have decided to skate this year solely because the WCh was to be held in Tokoyo. I believe Miki planned to take next year off and Dai was going to retire. So, not only would these two be affected by the catastrophes in their home country, but they also have to delay their retirement/suspension of skating plans as well as losing the main reason they worked so hard this year (to skate in their home country).

    OK
    As far as I know, Daisuke never said that he was going to retire after this season. He said he was taking it one season at a time and, as of last summer, he was planning to have surgery this April (which should keep him off the ice for about a month). The fact that Worlds were supposed to be in Tokyo was probably very motivating for him, but I'm quite confident that it's not the only reason why he continued. I don't know if he has taken a decision regarding his future, but in any case I don't think he has announced anything yet.

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    Emotions will be heightened for all performers, especially those from Japan who are so revered by their fans. The question will be whether they can rise to the occasion like Joannie did at the Olympics when her mum died and take the positive emotions and thoughts from all of the fans and use that energy for an even better performance ... or whether it will be too much emotionally and they struggle with their focus. I hope its the former and that the Japanese skaters rise to the occasion


    ok
    Thanks to PI .. I discovered I'm actually a Nontheist

    "Love is better than Anger, Hope is better than fear" Jack Layton 1950-2011

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    4rKidz - I like the way you framed your answer In thinking about it more - I think in some ways that for Worlds this year - all bets are off. The quote from the skater about feeling guilty thinking about Worlds really got me - I don't think this person is alone in thinking this way and that performing to a person/team's best is made more complicated because of this.

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    Just the thought of what this Worlds means (the tragedy behind it) almost brings me to tears again. I hope the skaters are stronger that I am!

    Here's an article about Weaver &Poje and their feelings and preparation

    Canadian ice dancers hoping to win mind game
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/olympi...-win-mind-game.

    OT but related - Pj please please tell us that the competition will still be shown on Bold as originally planned

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatingpj View Post
    4rKidz - I like the way you framed your answer In thinking about it more - I think in some ways that for Worlds this year - all bets are off. The quote from the skater about feeling guilty thinking about Worlds really got me - I don't think this person is alone in thinking this way and that performing to a person/team's best is made more complicated because of this.
    I think we will see which federations have worked with the 'whole' skater including their mental strength, too often the sports psychologists just work on their goal setting and key words for peak performance.. we will see which ones have been helping the athletes actually 'manage' their emotions not just sport related. I don't see a lot of work being done that is gender specific and also specific to where the athlete is on the long term athlete development model - especially girls in Canada Guilt is a strong emotion, how will the athlete manage that emotion Which have healthy coping strategies to deal with this

    OK
    Thanks to PI .. I discovered I'm actually a Nontheist

    "Love is better than Anger, Hope is better than fear" Jack Layton 1950-2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by alilou View Post
    OT but related - Pj please please tell us that the competition will still be shown on Bold as originally planned
    Once the host and date are announced, that will be the next important piece of news I'm waiting for.

    As to the impact of the delay on skaters, it's going to be very interesting because this isn't a situation that has happened before. Given that skaters adjust to and train for Olympic seasons, when they have two major competitions within about six weeks, it is technically possible to train for a season that runs six weeks longer.

    However, there are no training regimes in place for this, so I would think it would be hard for coaches and skaters to know exactly how to prepare. Do they take a two week rest and then resume training? Do they coast until the week before? Or, do they maintain their training regime for the duration of the delay and strive to be even better than would have been this week?

    I would think the choices would be individual and that that some might even appreciate having the extra time. But many will find it really challenging to remain in top form for an six weeks.

  12. #12
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    In terms of their training regimen, it must be very taxing on the skaters.

    This week they would have been at peak fitness, so until an actual set of dates for Worlds is announced, I would assume most are tapering back their training.

    That in itself would be emotional, not knowing when or where the event is going to happen. It's like seeing the finish line in a marathon, only to have someone move the tape another 10 miles.

    Knowing that the athletes will have to continue training for another month will be an advantage to some (who don't have other commitments), and a disadvantage to others (when ice time during the European off - season becomes an issue).

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    I remember reading a story about the New York City Ballet during the early days of the Gulf War, and the writer being amazed how some of the dancers were so wrapped up in their careers and the backstage world that they had no idea the US was involved in a major international crisis.

    In contrast to that, it's good to know that skaters are aware of what's going on in the world around them, and care about it too.
    We live in an ageist society where everything is based on youth, but I hated being 18. I don't like teenagers any more now than I did then. I'm 49 now and there is no way that I'd go back to my teens and 20s - even if I knew what I know now, I don't want to go through all that again. I found it a very difficult time. - Buzz Osborne of the Melvins

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    Without a doubt, it is the skaters who are struggling the most- although Cinquanta said that he "can not always do what the skaters want"- it is the skaters who *are* this competition- without the skaters, there would be no competition. I am sure it is difficult for the skaters to decide when to hold back/when to train fully, and the uncertainty must make them all very anxious. It is entirely possible to be sympathetic to the people in Japan as well as want to compete at the World Championships.

    For teams like Virtue/Moir, who have had an unusual season, the World Championships will be a chance for them to display their full Free Dance, etc, and for the rest of the teams, will be a chance to have closure for another season.

    OK

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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    I remember reading a story about the New York City Ballet during the early days of the Gulf War, and the writer being amazed how some of the dancers were so wrapped up in their careers and the backstage world that they had no idea the US was involved in a major international crisis.

    In contrast to that, it's good to know that skaters are aware of what's going on in the world around them, and care about it too.
    I'm sorry to be cynical, but the skaters are aware because they were supposed to compete at the World Championships in Japan this week. If Worlds were in North American or Europe, it might have had far less of an impact and escaped the radar of some entirely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    I'm sorry to be cynical, but the skaters are aware because they were supposed to compete at the World Championships in Japan this week. If Worlds were in North American or Europe, it might have had far less of an impact and escaped the radar of some entirely.
    And I think that's totally ok. I think, or hope, people live life the way that's right for them. I go for months on end without listening to the radio or watching the news on tv. I live in my own world. As does everyone.

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    While this championship may have deeper meaning for the Japanese skaters, I believe the rest of the field will be able to keep their poise. They are skilled competitors who are trained to compartmentalize. That means they learn to tuck away unnecessary emotional influences that can affect their performances, although we recognize that competitors are able to do this with different degrees of success!
    This process is in part why skaters such as Joannie Rochette were able to compete in the face of a recent and poignant tragedy. The competitors in Moscow will be able to do the same with even more time to prepare.

    OK

  18. #18
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    http://www.sanspo.com/sports/news/11...2333002-n1.htm

    Translated by me;

    Hearing the news that the alternative location for the Worlds has been decided, Japanese skaters and coaches show their eagerness to compete.

    Murakami, who has shown great improvement this season and will compete at the World Championships for the first time, said, 'it's my first time to be in Russia so I cannot imagine how it is like to be there. However, I am very excited. We've got enough time to prepare for it well.' She seemed to be looking forward to the big event.

    Nobuo Sato, a coach of both Asada and Kozuka, said with optimism, 'one month is just about enough for peaking again. Moscow is not too far and thus it is slightly easier (than any other candidate locations).'

    ---

    Oops, I forgot to add my own opinion!

    PJ, I don't know if you are allowed to quote the above as it is from Japanese news source. But reading this, I believe Japanese skaters will use this opportunity to show the world Japan and its people will not simply be defeated by the disasters and rise to the challenge they're facing. They will draw strength and skate from their heart for their fans back home - I hope, no, I believe. Many Japanese athletes have competed since the disaster struck - in European football leagues, US baseball leagues, etc. Japanese speed skater Joji Kato won the silver in 500m Men's event at World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships just two days after the earthquake struck Japan.

    As for how delay might affect them - I am not sure. I do not think the skaters and coaches are sure either. Even someone as experienced as Nobuo Sato said he'd never faced situation like this before and was not sure how he would adjust the training regime for his skaters. (This comment was made before the fate of the Worlds 2011 was decided though.)

    OK
    Last edited by mmot; 03-25-2011 at 12:54 AM.

  19. #19
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    These competitors have all been skating for many years, and have had to compete in spite of whatever emotions and events have been going on off the ice. In fact, skating can be a welcome escape from everything else, as the only thing you can afford to be thinking about once you step onto the ice is what you are doing at this very moment (to be thinking about anything else could result in a pretty bad fall).
    The skaters I think will have the hardest time with this delay and rescheduling are not necessarily Japanese; I think they will be whichever skaters are the "early-in-the-season" skaters and those skaters who are very structured and have a hard time adjusting to change. This delay could leave them a little let-down and unfocused. I am hoping the late season skaters like Mao and Daisuke will see the extra month of training time as a godsend and use it to fine-tune their programs even more.
    OK
    Last edited by Doubletoe; 03-27-2011 at 05:16 AM.

  20. #20
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    I think the skaters who were really, REALLY ready to go for Tokyo and "in the zone" at that time will have the most difficult time in Moscow. There have been so many shockers in the singles competitions this season that I'm not sure what to expect. Either way, I'm just grateful there'll be a Worlds 2011 and that we'll get to see everyone's hard work pay off.

    OK

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