San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization
Conditioning The Mind
Definition of conditioning - present participle of con·di·tion (Verb)
Each infant is born without any information about their surrounding and is unable to distinguish between things in its environment. The Infant starts out life being unaware of its own body. It feels pain, hunger, hot and cold, textures (smooth and rough), aware of sounds, smells, and taste. So starts the recognition process and associations. The smell of the mother and her breasts are domnate. With time the universe of the infant expands.
The infant has a centurist concept of existence - this is my body, my toys, these things are good. Slowly a belief system is formed which defines good and bad form the position of thechild. In their world they express displeasure and adults rush to the infants assistance.
In hundreds of ways the child is conditioned to act in a certain way. Every child goes experiences this process and functioning as per their interaction with their environment. This conditioning programs how our mind acts and reacts.
The mind has many layers of conditioning. Every experience, both positive and negative adds one layer to our mind. It's like paint brush that becomes a different color every few seconds. The canvas that is our mind becomes a kaleidoscope or shapes and colors whose colors convey our feelings and sensations.
The brain perceives current activity as a reaction to past learned experiences or stimuli. The most famous scientific experiment to prove this was of course Pavlov's dogs, who were conditioned to salivate when a bell was rung.
It is our past experiences combined with knowledge and memory causes our react to situations in the present. This conditioning is responsible for our behavior and our perceptions of reality. Conditioning exists in many forms and reactions and generally occurr without our awareness.
The importance of a Positive Attitude
Most elite skating coaches agree that the mental attitude of the athlete is responsible for achieving a competitive edge leading up to and during competitions.
How and when should mental training become an essential part of a training program for skaters is a debatable question, especially if this is another for fee service parents must factor into their already constrain budget for skating related expenses.
Recently a judge on a panel for a Junior MITF test, observed a skater initially performing a test element with a high degree of technical skills; however, as the candidate reached the halfway point down the ice surface, the technical performance declined from excellent to acceptable. After the test the judge discussed the observation with the coach and they both agreed that something had occurred. The conclusion was that the skater's focus had jumped ahead to the last quarter of the element. The result was that an automatic muscle response kicked in, causing the skater to revert back to a previously acquired lower performance level.
Mental conditioning and mental toughness programs
Coaches of team sports frequently say their program employs mental conditioning, but many of these programs stress improving physical performance by subjecting athletes to extreme physical challenges that can quickly break a player down, both mentally and physically. Note: This is sometimes patterned after "boot camp" training used in the armed services.
These programs give the appearance of being successful because they quickly result in athletes who are not willing to make the commitment to the expectations of physical, emotional, and mental intensity, to drop out. Imagine a situation where the entire team has to start at the beginning of the workout after one individual screws up.
Every mental toughness program requires increasing an individual's focus. Martial arts type workouts help to perfect focus. Coaches may selected their best players to be in the front of a class to demonstrate and demand excellence of everyone on their team. Individuals who whine or moan can expect to receive "special attention" from team members after the workout.
Players who complete such mental conditioning programs develop a feeling of superiority combined with arrogance and unshakable confidence. Such players can visualize their own success and taste the team's success. Such programs develop athletes who possess a fierce desire to win. They are willing to sacrifice their bodies in an effort to win.
Mind Game-Sports-Duke Magazine-July/August 2007 "What percentage of your sport do you give to the mental part of it, as opposed to the physical ... The importance of psychological conditioning,
Sport Performance Consulting | Winning Strategies: Winning Strategies: Positive Self-Talk & Mental Conditioning. Mike Voight, a former coach and current Sport Psychology consultant in the sport,
Mental Training 300% More Effective Than Physical Training Mental Conditioning sports training programs all over the world.
The Other 90 Percent, Part 1: Mental Conditioning for Athletes June 2, 2008 . So what benefits can good mental conditioning programs provide athletes and ...
Navy SEAL Mental Training For Sports Utilized Rugged Mental Conditioning. Originally printed in the Oct. 1, ... Possibly the most unique strategy ever used in sports was implemented last.
Pettlep Imagery 3 – A New Frontier in Mental Conditioning | Part 3 - Mind power: By Dave Smith, Ph.D. In collaboration with Stephen Walker, Ph.D. from Podium Sports Journal.
Sports Improvement Mental Conditioning of Body & Mind Body and Mind Sports Improvement and Mental Conditioning. Proven Methods to Improve Your Game, Get Out Of Slumps, Remove Fears, Negativity, Injury Recovery, etc..
Navy SEAL Mental Training For Sports The Rugged Mental Conditioning methods are set up to mold the minds of these remarkable athletes to compete at a mental level they never believed they could possibly achieve.
Physical and Mental Training Considerations
The Process of Learning
Skill Development Environment:
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.