I’m sure you’ve been soaking up the Olympic coverage over the past 2 weeks, just like me.
And now that it’s over, the Post Olympic Depression (“POD”) is starting to kick in…
One of my favorite moments from each Games is when the Canadian team parades around the stadium in the Opening Ceremonies. It sends chills down my spine. Even some of the commercials (the first 2-3 times I see them) shake me to the core. Growing up watching the Games on TV, and live in person in Vancouver, London and Rio, there’s the only word that seems to capture the experience: magical.
“Magic” is also the only word that truly captures the emotions we feel as athletes when we finally win a championship or break through an elusive personal best.
What isn’t magical though, is the mental game of our favorite Olympians like Mikaël Kingsbury who had to deal with the pressure of being the overwhelming favorite in the moguls, and Kim Boutin who successfully navigated short track crashing chaos 13 times en route to winning 3 medals and being named the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies.
Just like Olympians have to learn and train to be able to do quadruple axle jumps in figure skating, or hop from mogul, to mogul, to mogul, to mogul in under a second, they also have to train their brains to cope with the pressure of a nation, and control the voice in their head.
So what now?
Now that the Games are over, you don’t automatically have hours of captivating coverage to watch, and you need something to numb your POD pain, here are some of the best videos I came across in the last two weeks explaining how you can start strengthening your mental game. Hopefully, they’ll help you climb atop a podium later this year, and maybe even lay the foundation for your Olympic journey.
Inside an Olympic Athlete’s Mind | New York Times
The clips cover:
- How to hit the reset button when self-doubt and the fear of failure creeps in;
- The metaphors athletes use to stay calm, confident, and focused (an arrow launching out of a bow at the start of biathlon, a bird flying through a cross-country ski course, or a waterfall running fluid and emotionless down a luge track; and
- The confidence and composure that comes from taking up to 2 hours to visualize the perfect figure skating routine.
Measuring Up | CBC Sports
4-time Olympic medalist Adam Van Koeverden goes behind the scenes to understand some of the scientific aspects of preparing for the Olympics
After winning Gold in Sochi, slopestyle skier, Dara Howell stopped having fun, began to doubt herself, and ran away from the sport. Working with a Sports Psychologist, she developed an “Evidence List” that helped her appreciate and own her accomplishments, and ultimately guided her to Pyeongchang.
Cross Country skier Dahria spends her off-season increasing her lactate tolerance so that come race-time, her body to interpret pain as a reward.
How the brain leads to Olympic Gold | CBC News
A pair of Professors from John Hopkins University discuss:
- How an elite athlete’s brain is different from a normal one; and
- How they can predict an athlete’s likelihood of choking based on how much they fear and focus on failure.