Behind every Olympian is heart of gold
“Parents shouldn’t try to be the experts. Kids want to be the experts in the sport. They’re spending all their time and energy – physically and emotionally – to get good. One of the things they’re being taught is to coach themselves in competitive situations. They don’t need another layer,” Silby says.
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Meissner’s confidence jumps
“When you’re coming up the ranks, there’s a broad range of what’s an acceptable performance, which gives [a skater] freedom to grow and succeed and fail. Once they reach the top, they narrow the target, and [success] becomes so small and so far away, and sometimes they begin to skate so as not to mess up,” Silby said.
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Growing up, falling down
Dr. Caroline Silby, a sports psychologist and member of the 1983-1984 U.S. figure skating team, said physical development can play mental tricks. “Athletes are so in tune with their bodies that when it changes, it can really spook them,” she said. “They end up trying to feel the way they used to feel, and that isn’t going to happen.”
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