|Originally posted by yuki:
On the way to the start, I wonder if my approach is too low key. I just try to keep them distracted by good stretching exercises till it's time to go and words like .... you know what to do now, just a good hard push and skate like a mule" .... just to kinda detune the pressure because some of these kids are so tight they are ready to snap.
We had a cute little kid, she's about 12 now and she insisted on giving the mid point person a little (with slight pause) wave each time she went bye ...... : .... Hoo boy!
Yuki, I think your approach is on track. Fear and tension are the biggest performance inhibitors kids have to learn to deal with, and addressing those as a main concern is a good strategy.
A couple other things that help the butterflies:
Muscle contraction. Start at the head and work down, muscle group by muscle group, tensioning each as much as possible and holding for a ten count. Warms the muscles and drains the tension.
Get the kids learning imagery skills. Hike the slaloms with them and have them stop every half dozen gates and do a mental run of what they have studied. At the start have them make full mental runs. In the runs they should see and feel well balance turns and good lines. Any negative images that enter during these mental runs should be replayed until they are replaced with successful images. These positive mental images have a relaxing effect and give kids productive focus.
The mind in a computer that produces outcome based on the input fed to it. It is very important to give kids an early start on development of the mental side of competition.
Each kid is different. Some need to be calmed down and directed in mental focus. Others, like your little crowd waver might need a little pumping up.