Saturday, March 1, 2014

Snapback Saturday: The Demon Negatron

This is, hand's down, my favorite post. I think it's one of the best things I've written for this blog. Sadly, hardly anyone's read it so I'm reposting.

Ladies and Gents from Oct, 2012....the Demon Negatron!!!

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The other day, another skater paid me a compliment. "You're so good," she said.

Immediately, the Demon Negatron that lives in my head started his little speech.

"What would she know? She's just a beginner. 
If you were any good, why don't your coaches tell you so?
Didn't you just mess up that mohawk five minutes ago?
And you still can't do FI3!"
Just like the picture says, Negative Self Talk will swallow your soul. Seriously.

Here's the horror of Negative Self Talk, even if someone pays you a compliment, someone like a coach, or a skater of a higher level, or someone with a knowledgeable 'skater's eye', says "Wow! That was great!" THE DEMON NEGATRON MAKES YOU DOUBT WHAT THEY SAY!

"Oh, they're just being nice. Oh, she can't mean that. Oh, I'm not any good. I suck."

It takes me an act of will to remember the good things coaches have said about my skating.  It's so easy to remember the corrections and instruction as negatives. There is no end to corrections and instruction in skating. It's hard, very hard to not interpret them as criticism.

So, here's my hints to avoid negative self talk.
1. Ask your coach, "How have I improved over the last year?" Because, progress is hard for you to measure yourself over a long period of time. A coach sees it.
2. Make a mental note of the compliments your coach has made. If you keep a skating log (I do), don't forget to write the little triumphs as well as what to work on.
3. Don't allow yourself to disparage your own skating to others. Yes, you need work. So do world champions. Don't go telling people how awful you are. Even if something's not working, try and phrase it in a positive manner. "It's taking longer than I expected, but I'm moving forward." vice "I suck."
4. Don't compare yourself to other skaters. Skating is a journey not a race. (eg."I learned this in a week, she took two.") If you treat learning like a competition, you will be miserable. The less you compare your skating to others' skating, the happier you'll be.
5. Compliment other skaters for their successes. Don't be jealous. Envy makes you miserable.
6. It's easy to let one or two bad elements in a practice session overwhelm you. There's no such thing as a 'bad practice'. Some things will have gone well, don't forget about them.
7. Accept compliments from others with, "Thank you. That means a lot to hear you say that." Then slap the Demon Negatron back to the hell where he belongs!

Angel Positron looks down from heaven and says,
"Keep up the good work!"


  1. I really struggle with this. I love reading skating forums but at the same time it's hard not to feel frustrated when someone posts a cheerful-I've been skating for 6 months and I'm starting to learn toe-loop! I'm happy for them but also find myself questioning if I should stick with it since I've been taking lessons far longer and stay working on waltz jump and half flip.

    1. Well let me give you some things to think on:
      1. The skater is younger than you--maybe even a teen
      2. The skater skates more than you do--maybe hours a day
      3. The skater comes from another sport like gymnastics or acrobatics
      4. The skater is lucky enough to have the right build and physicality
      5. The skater is an adult who skated as a child, not an adult lerner
      6. The skater is lying.
      Skate for yourself. It's not a race, it's a journey.

  2. Thank you for re-posting this. We all go the way of the Demon Negatron now and then. I found myself doing this just 2 days ago when I ran into some friends at the rink I hadn't seen in 20-odd years. They had no idea I could even skate (they were all beginners). Even though I could skate better than they could, I found myself apologizing for not knowing more after 4 years of skating! I actually said "After 4 years of lessons, you'd think I'd know more!" Ugh. They were all duly impressed that I could even turn forwards to backwards, so it was all in my Demon Negatron head! I have to repeat the mantra "Do the best you can do for yourself, and make no apologies for not doing something others can do".

  3. I also want to thank you for posting this! Such good things to remind ourselves. I am embarrassed to respond when people ask how long I have been skating. It's been a LONG time but I worry that my skill level (in their eyes and yes, in mine) should be better after such a long time. Sigh...

  4. Yes it is hard accepting compliments and sometimes I think I am a bad skater as well. But you know what? I am having fun, and I look to better skaters as motivation. If other adults can do (fill in the blank here), then I can too! It makes me want to get better so I can be at the same level as them. It is always best to surround yourself with people who are better than you so you can become better as well.

    1. Eva, that's exactly what I think! Skating with other adults who skating better or learn faster really inspiring and make your progress faster.

  5. Thanks for posting this, it's always good to remind yourself not to be too negative! That's definitely something I struggle with