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Christmas Gift Guide 2018

It's that time of year!  We absolutely love Christmas shopping--there's just something so meaningful about discovering something lovely and fitting for your friends and family.  To help you out a bit, we've assembled a list of some gifts that will be a figure skater's favorites.  From the handmade to the practical to the simply fun, we hope you're inspired and discover something unique to give the skater you love. (Links located below images.)

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Thankful

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So much to be thankful for. Not to sound cliché, but honestly, where would we be without coaches that push us and parents that support us? Thanks, parents especially, for constantly cheering us on and paying for our ice time, coaching, skates, dresses, competitions, and on and on. We know you’ve sacrificed for us, and we’re so grateful. https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/t9c/2/16/1f9e1.png"); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">????

World Ballet Day

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Some of the countless reasons why figure skating remains such a beloved sport include artistry, elegance, and grace.  However, these attributes are not always attributable to skating itself.  In academics, mathematics is foundational for the sciences.  In the arts, ballet lies behind all great figure skating.

 

Skating never taught me that a dancer’s posture is beauty itself.  Skating never taught me how to move my body with such precision and freedom.  Skating never taught me that one sweeping motion of the arm feels like motion lingering through time and space.  Ballet instructed me in the quick snap of a jump; ballet taught me to esteem both strength and flexibility.  Ballet instructed me its rich artistic history, its gorgeous lines, its movements, and its passion.

 

Ballet taught me in a way nothing else ever could to communicate the emotion of my soul in the motion of my body.

 

In celebration of World Ballet Day, I would encourage you to continue in ballet or sign up for your first class!  Ballet will not only mold you into an artist and increase your sensitivity to the feelings within music, it will also help develop your flexibility and strength (especially your core and static strength).

 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this clip of my favorite ballerina in my favorite ballet by my favorite composer:  Svetlana Zakharova and Denis Rodkin in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.  Also watch this rehearsal video from the Royal Opera House where Fumi Kaneko and Nehemiah Kish dance the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux from The Nutcracker.  (I have fond memories of watching The Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s version of this as a child in their production and it is still one of my favorites!)

 

Happy world ballet day.  May you jeté all day.

How Super Champions Face Challenges

How Super Champions Face Challenges

How do you face challenges? It can be tempting to be disheartened and demotivated but viewing roadblocks as stepping stones instead can make us tougher athletes and stronger people.  An article by Pecel, Collins, and MacNamara in Frontiers in Psychology found that Super Champions (“great” athletes) view challenges positively—even before they encounter them.

 

The authors studied the experiences of athletes across three differing levels of performance; Super Champions, Champions, and Almosts.  After interviewing the participating athletes, the authors compiled the experiences and began to see patterns of behavior that differentiated the Super Champions from the Champions and the Almosts.

 

One of clear distinguishers was simply how Super Champions faced challenges.  Notably, they often had a preexisting attitude of learning from challenges.  While some Champions had this outlook, Almosts, on the other hand, “seemed almost entirely reactive.”  Simply put, Super Champions are distinguished in that they view challenges as “catalysts for their development rather than roadblocks.”

Lesson Number One:  Before you face a challenge, choose to see it as an opportunity to grow. 

 

In addition, the Super Champions demonstrated a high level of commitment to their sport.   They were internally driven, very focused on details and improvement, and sometimes, in their retrospective view, a bit too critical of themselves.  In contrast, Champions and Almosts tended to be less committed, viewed challenges more negatively, and did not cope well.  They also were motivated to improve by comparison with others rather than on an internal drive.

Lesson Number Two:  Be whole-heartedly committed.

Lesson Number Three:  Be internally driven to improve yourself.

(Don’t be mainly motivated by outdoing your rivals.)  Work to be your best.

 

I hope the above study recap was intruiging and motivating.  (For the full study, please click here.)  And if you are an athlete looking for tools as you conquer your next challenge, you can find our comfortable and highly effective padding here.  Our final thoughts for the day?  Embody the Olympic Motto:  Faster, Higher, Stronger.

Summer's Not Over Yet!

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Just because it’s August doesn’t mean the summer is over! ????????‍ What goals are you going to crush yet this summer? ????????

When it Feels Like Forever--Perceived Time During Exercise

Perceived Time

Time keeps ticking on . . .  but are we actually all that accurate when it comes to our “internal clock?”  Whether sitting in class, on an incredibly long plane ride, or on a long run, we always think, “shouldn’t this be over by now?”  Generally, when we’re not particularly enjoying a situation, time seems to move more slowly.  But what about exercise?  (Yes, exercise can be enjoyable!)  However, exercise, and especially more difficult exercise, seems to alter our perception of time.

A.M. Edwards and A. McCormick from the University of St. Mark & St. John in Plymouth, UK and James Cook University, Sport & Exercise Science in Cairns, Australia published what is probably the first research on this topic of exercise-altered time perception.  Participants spent twenty minutes on a rowing machine at three different levels of exertion three separate times.  They stated their perception of time throughout the twenty minutes.  At 15 minutes and again at 20 minutes, their perceived time was more than the actual amount of elapsed time.  (In other words, they thought more time had passed than actually had.)  Additionally, as the level of exertion during exercise increased, perceived time became even longer than actual elapsed time.

The authors discussed how the data could differ if the participants were professional athletes who were accustomed to exercising and could perhaps become accustomed to correcting their perceived time.  The discussion also mentioned how perceived time could pass more quickly due to a higher amount of neural processing occurring at levels of more exertion.  This greater amount of processing than normal could lead to the perception of more time passing.

As time passes (get the pun?!), I’m sure we’ll learn more about why and how our perceived time differs from actual time—and how athletes can work with these factors for optimal performance.  Until, then, we’ll still have runs, conditioning, and those stroking classes that make your legs burn and feel like they last forever.  (Luckily, they don’t!)  So, just “keep calm and carry on!”

Our Contest Winner!

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Win Free Peace Pads on Facebook

 

Visit our Facebook to enter in the contest and we'll announce a winner on Mon., Feb. 26.