Flow Mihaly quoteWhat is flow and how do we bring it to our skating?

I had an experience recently that revealed a key insight about the mental state you must be in to peak perform.  Our experiences off ice can send us important messages and lead us in the right direction to improve our skating.

Oh no to Oh wow

I had a minor car accident on the way to an early morning meeting.  No injuries or major damage but it was enough to shake me up and make me stop and think.  When I stopped to really think about it; I understood why it happened. (Other than the physical causes).

Don’t Ask Why Ask What

I was in a hurry and anxious about getting to a meeting (that I did not want to attend).  Can you relate?  So it came as no surprise to me that this incident happened.  It served as a wake up call to re-evaluate what I was doing for my business.

I had planned on skating after that meeting and had calmed down by the time I went to the rink.  I recognized though that I still probably had some residual emotional trauma.  I knew it would be very important to clear my head before I stepped out on to the ice. 

How To Mentally Shift

I decided that I was going to take it easy and be gentle with myself.  Not push it too hard with my training, just go with the flow and be easy about everything.  So what happened while I was in this calm and easy state of mind?

Everything flowed.  My jumps were timed well.  My spins were centered and everything just worked so much better than usual.  I attribute this to being in the state of flow.

Take It Easy

The state of calm and relaxed flow involves concentration but it is relaxed concentration.  If you are a driven type of person like me, we tend to tense up, especially when learning new elements.  If you have experience skating you know that being tense going in to a jump is not good, it robs all of your spring.  It also slows your pre-rotation which makes things even harder.

This day was different though.  Being in this easy state of mind and relaxed flow was truly amazing. It turns out, flow is a key to happiness as well.  Imagine I thought if I could feel like this in competition or performances?  Could I communicate this beautiful state of relaxed flow to the audience and make them feel it too? 

The Gift

If you can pull that off, your skating has become a gift to your audience and a message.  That they can relax and go easy with life too.  No forcing, no driving, or fear of being judged, just beautiful, focused, relaxed flow.