Skating Fridays

Online Webinar – Olympic Talk

Scott Hamilton
On the photo strip, from left to right, it’s me, Scott Hamilton, Tom Zakrajsek, and Kori Ade!

Since most (all?) of the rinks across the country are closed, skaters have been stuck indoors during the pandemic. Many of us are trying roller skating or inline skating as an alternative. I have not. I used to love roller skating but don’t own a pair of roller skates anymore. And I’ve online inline skated once in my life. It was very, very difficult, and I felt like I was out of control.

Kori Ade

At this time, coaches are also scrambling to stay afloat. Many of these individuals count on the rink for their sole income. They teach group lessons and private lessons, and with the rinks closed, they have no other means to support themselves. Some coaches have opted to offer virtual lessons. I came across a series of online webinars that some celebrity coaches are offering and attended a few.

The first one I joined was an Olympic talk that featured Scott Hamilton, Kori Ade and Tom Zakrajsek. Here are some notes that I took from the session.

Tom Zakrajsek

From Kori:

  • Coaches believe in the student when they believe in themselves. Coaches get anxiety when their athlete hasn’t followed the plan and isn’t well-trained.
  • Elite athletes have a higher threshold for certain things (pain, discomfort, adapatability, change). Increase your threshold and then you will be leaps and bounds above what you could do previously. That’s when you will start to push your boundaries.
  • The athletes that can step up to the plate when it matters most are the ones that aren’t afraid to fall in practice. If you are afraid to fail in training, then you will fail in competition.

From Tom:

  • The only limits you have are self-imposed.
  • Talk to your coaches and have dialogues on things you’re afraid of or what will hold you back. You have to make mistakes in front of your competitors in practice and learn to deal with it.
  • Have the confidence to go all in. Self-doubt drives you to achieve but it can also sabotage you because you may never reach your goal. Go on the journey. No whining, no complaining, no excuses – just right now.

From Scott:

  • The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different outcome.
  • No journey truly begins until you can no longer see dry land.
  • Be humble and hungry

During the talk, the three coaches talked about how we had to learn to be “in the moment” but also be focused on goals. I asked a question about this, which they answered.

Me: How does one balance “being in the moment” while also keeping in mind outcome-based goals?

Kori: WORKING IN THE MOMENT WILL PRODUCE THE OUTCOME…set the goals and then put them away in order to stay present and do the work.

Tom: Bring it back to your breath. When you get in your head space and start worrying, your performance will go out the window. Have an audible inhale and exhale. With a long breath, inhale loudly and then have an audible exhale. Get into your knees while you do this. When you are breathing, you are alive. Get out of your head and into the moment.

Scott: Paul Wylie used to put his fingers on his neck to bring down his pulse. It worked!

I hope that these notes have been insightful. Stay tuned for another write-up next week.


  1. April 24, 2020 / 9:25 pm

    Love the tip on breathing–this will help not only with skating jitters but with anxiety about all kinds of things–really useful these days. Thanks for the post from the experts! I hope you are doing well, Eva–stay healthy!

    • evabakes
      April 25, 2020 / 6:39 am

      Yes – the breathing tip is helpful, particularly during tests and competitions. I am healthy and well. Hope you are too, Jo!

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