Friday, December 15, 2017

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

This month I had the honor of interviewing Olympic Gold Medalist Brian Boitano. He recently released his first cookbook, What Would Brian Boitano Make. While I was talking with him I gained such an appreciation for his hard work and dedication to his pursuits. He truly demonstrates what it takes to be a champion both on the ice and off.

I was struck in particular by one story he shared with me. I asked him if he remembered what he was thinking about during his Olympic program. While he said I could pause his Olympic program anywhere and he could tell me exactly what he was thinking during each moment, it was what he was thinking beforehand that really stayed with me.

If you watched Boitano compete you know he was a consistent skater. Right before he was about the skate his Olympic long program a bout of nerves kicked in. He recalled thinking that he was going to blow it. That the Olympics would be the first time he made mistakes and that it would be in front of thousands of people. He had mere seconds to shut those thoughts down.  He said he looked up at the Olympic rings at the start of his program. He said;” This is it. Focus on one thing at a time”. In the end we know that he not only focused, but went on to win Olympic gold that night.

Competitive athletes and anyone that puts themselves in front of an audience for that matter, are subjected to intense scrutiny and pressure. Nerves are something all athletes must learn to handle. Most of the time athletes feel like they are alone in dealing with it; like they are the only ones that experience nerves before a big event.

But guess what? Everyone gets nervous. Even the the Olympic Gold Medalists. It’s what you do when the pressure hits that counts. It’s deciding in the moment whether or not you’re going to give into the fear and pressure or whether you are going to rise to the occassion.

Turning nerves into excitement and using them your advantage requires practice. Just as technique is trained, or speeches are rehearsed, mental skills must be mastered. Day in and day out find ways to improve your mental toughness. Try meditating, visualizing, reframing your thoughts; try new and different ways for you to build self trust. Because after awhile, mental skills won’t be something you practice anymore. It’ll be part of who you are- someone that trusts his/her abilities and can pull out a great performance when it counts.

Happy reading!


Dear Readers,

This month was filled with fascinating interviews with gym owners, coaches, and  skaters that all love what they do. While each journey was different, the message  remained the same. Find what you love to do, stick with it, and you’ll be surprised  where it will take you.

That message isn’t new, but it’s certainly one that many want to hear over and over  again. We love to hear stories of athletes, or anyone for that matter, overcome difficult  circumstances, battle back to regain a title, and know that those who love what they  do ultimately prosper. How often did we hear that Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas had thought of quitting before the Games, only to go on and win Olympic Gold?

As a mental skills coach, I have come to find that mental skills are more a way of being than they are any actual techniques or exercises. It’s about knowing who you are and where you are going. It’s about trusting yourself and finding the focus and drive you need to get you where you hope to go.

Athletes like Gabby Douglas, and those that were interviewed for this month’s issue share similar traits. Despite the uncertainty of the future, despite the ups and downs life and sports brought them, they were all able to perservere in their respected pursuits. The path wasn’t always clear, but their passion and focus took them places they could have only dreamed. Jim Inman opened Elite Athletic Development. Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre joined the cast of Stars on Ice, and Phillip Mills travels the world choreographing beautiful program after beautiful program.

None of them could have imagined the opportunities they have had and the incredible places life has taken them. In the end, the journey towards accomplishment and following one’s dreams is never easy. When you trust yourself and stick with what you love the path to success becomes much wider.

Thanks for reading,


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Dear Readers,

I had a blast interviewing my long-time Sun Valley  friends and mentors for  IceTalent’s February  issue.  The fourteen summers I have spent in Sun  Valley  were some of the best of my life. Not only  was I  able to really explore the  creative side of  skating  through unqiue Theatre on Ice classes,  Creative  Movement classes, and Edge classes, I was also able to cultivate lasting  friendships and  relationships with coaches and mentors. To this  day, I learn something new about myself whenever  I visit the valley.

In Maloja Clothing from Bavarian Soul

This month I had the privilege of speaking with two of Sun Valley’s brightest athletic stars- Nordic Ski coach Rick Kapala and US Olympian Morgan Arritola. When I began both interviews I fully expected to learn some more about cross country skiing and mountain running, but I never expected to learn so much about the life lessons that sports can teach us.

Sports are truly a race against ourselves. They are the opportunity to push ourselves  further than we ever thought possible and accomplish the individual goals we each set out to achieve. There is a certain element of risk in all sports. Morgan said it best when she described athletics as a 9-5 job that doesn’t always have a paycheck at the end of the day.

Athletes don’t always know they are going to win and they don’t always know where their training will take them. That’s true of sports and of life. Sometimes the best we can do is take a risk, a leap of faith, and work hard to make that risk pay off.

As a mental skills coach I know the process is far more important than the outcome. For in the process we find ourselves, which is the greatest reward of all.

Thanks for reading!


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