Sunday, November 25, 2007


The last I wrote, I was off to the rink on Monday after a competition weekend; I had a GREAT day. In fact, I had a GREAT week (though only three days long). I mean GREAT!! Not one day did I feel on top of my game going into the rink, but it didn't matter... I did what I went to do and made my days great. For the first time this entire season I managed to get my mind back in the right place.

Sounds cliche, and I think some athletic company uses it as a slogan, but the best approach seems to be, "just do it!" (No ifs/ands/or buts).

Here's to another great week. Cheers!


Monday, November 19, 2007

News to me!

WOH--I just found the little link at the bottom of each blog (who knew?) with the comments everyone wrote... space cadet, party of one? Remember, though I went to school and should be able to figure some things out, this is my first blogging experience; finding out the people can comment on my comments was a pretty remarkable discovery in the life of Braden. ;) (that's right--I just did a winking smiley, I admit it)

Now that I know how to find the comments [on my comments], if anyone has a specific question or two, please feel free to ask and I will do what I can to answer them.

Thank you and a happy Thanksgiving to everyone,

P.S. It's almost against my religion to skate the Monday after a competition weekend, but guess who'll be back on the ice today!! ... Easy tiger.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Well, I arrived home this morning after competing at the Midwestern Sectional Championships this last weekend. The good news: I'm going to nationals. The not as good news: I didn't skate as well as I wanted.

A brief run down...

Short Program: this went very well considering the preparation for it (remember I completely re choreographed the program after Southwesterns) was all of about a week and a half. I made the strategic decision to do a double axel instead of a triple--for a better overall point value. I did fall on my triple lutz though which compromised the combination jump and didn't much help my score... mmmm, ouch! There were a number of timing errors and artistic issues that will get resolved [and were probably only noticeable to me] but overall, the program was very well received--a big improvement from Southwesterns. I'm totally psyched about that. I placed 2nd in the short program.

Long Program: this was a disappointing program to say the least. Unfortunately, when skaters don't skate well, the fine-toothed comb comes out and the situation gets dissected. What happened? Why? What could've changed? What would've made it better? Was there a problem in the warm-up? Should you have been warmer? Were you nervous? Did you eat the right things during the day? Were you tired? Should you have napped? Taken a longer nap? Blah blah blah. There's only so much that's going to be helped by looking back on something and pointing fingers or finding fault. Instead, what were the good things? I got level 3's on both sequences of footwork with 2's and 3's for the grade of execution--that's something to be excited about, keep that feeling. All of my spins received a level 4, which is the first time that's ever happened--that's something to be excited about, Keep That Feeling. This was also the first competition in which I received some 8's for my components--that's something be excited about--KEEP THAT FEELING! I finished in 3rd place, overall.

It's important to reflect only long enough to learn from your mistakes and NO more than that; learn, and move on!!

What did I learn and what am I going to do about it?

1) I'm not invincible; maintain an understanding that the best program wins, no matter who you are or what your history.

2) Assumptions are holes we get stuck in; don't assume anything--understand that nothing is a given, nothing is for sure, and it's not over until it's over... don't allow assumptions to dictate your mental approach. Your program requires 100% of your effort the whole way through no matter how good or bad it may feel.

3) Program run-throughs are imperative for the necessary familiarity--that means committed run-throughs, with everything in them, including the same effort you expect at competition; practice, practice, practice!

4) My mind is not immune to distractions; practice managing distractions by staying totally focused on your task, what you're doing right now, and exactly what you intend to do in this moment. Don't lose sight of right now by looking too far ahead or behind.

Overall the competition was a great experience. There's plenty to improve and a reasonable amount of time in which to make it happen.


'til next time...


Thursday, November 8, 2007


Okay, I'm not going to lie, this last week has not been quite as productive as I had hoped. Being in the middle of "crunch time" and trying to pull the things together that need to come together, I find myself looking for the motivation I think I need to do them; when it's not there, I start to get disappointed and allow the situation to bother me.

Every second is a new opportunity to change the things we don't like. I don't like the way I've been practicing. I feel I've been giving in... to aches and pains, fatigue, hunger, being sick, intimidation, distractions, being cold, etc. Now I'm saying it out loud: there's no more giving in.

Training a mind is an impressive thing. YEARS, I have spent working on different concepts mentally and emotionally to try and improve my performances and it wasn't until recently that I really understood how to do that. It's different for everyone, I'm sure, but in my case I have to stay focused on what's happening RIGHT NOW, and I have to make things factual.

One of the coaches I work with differentiates "facts" from "stories" when talking about productivity. (ex: fact--I do triple axels (I have done it once and therefore can repeat it--I am physically capable and that is indisputable); story--my last triple axel wasn't very good... I'm tired... my legs are sore (these are all the things we tell ourselves to make sense out of why we're not accomplishing what we want to; this is the story we create behind the fact). My point: focus on the facts, DON'T create a story!!

Every day, before each session, I will remind myself of my strengths; I will remind myself of the things I will do on that session (motivated or not, hungry or not, tired/sick/sore or not). I will stay focused on my goals for the day, for that session, and keep distractions away. I will focus on the facts and enjoy the journey.

Until next time,

Monday, October 29, 2007


Quick note: I broke my collar bone in the middle of summer (picture #1) and had a fancy little titanium plate put in soon thereafter (picture #2). Consequently, I was on an 8-week hiatus from skating. It took me out of two invitational competitions and an international assignment in Oberstdorf, Germany. What is generally some of the most valuable training time of the year was no longer that--it was a lot of time spent with my family amidst circular discussions regarding the meaning of life (my family's awesome). Nevertheless, come the beginning of September I was without a short program, without a trained long program, had boots and blades that weren't broken in/weren't working for me, and had no pre-season competitions under my belt and I had to compete at Southwesterns only a month later... AAHHHHHH.

Picture 1 (top), picture 2 (bottom)

I put together a short program, I trained my long and did everything else I could--or so I thought--to get myself back into competition-shape for regionals. At regionals however, I did not feel as prepared as I had hoped; [my coaches] and I did not receive the feedback we were looking for regarding my brand new short program--which was admittedly weak; I still felt like there was almost an insurmountable amount of work ahead of me and wasn't sure how to get there; I wasn't feeling my normal last-minute pressures either, which was concerning--sometimes that's what finally gets the internal fire going and forces you to kick your own @#$&*. So what was up?

Last week I had to completely redo my short program, from scratch; I had only three more weeks until sectionals and hadn't started training my triple axel again; my long program was still feeling weak; I didn't like what time I had lessons; my body hurt in seven different places in entirely unrelated ways but each of which was enough to make me want to go home for the day (at least). Where was my motivation?

I've had a lot to do in a small amount of time, and still have a lot to do, but so far haven't seen the results I've been looking for with all the work I've put in, trying to get myself back on the horse [from my injury this summer]. Woh is me, blah blah blah... get over yourself, Braden!!

If there is anything I've learned about life in the last two years, it's that I have the power to make my own experience. What does that mean exactly? ... well, there's a lot to it. In short, it's all about your attitude. If I want to make something a big deal, I can; if I want to fret, cry, whine, stew, dwell, or carry anything with me emotionally, I CAN!!! Guess what... it's gets me NOWHERE. If I can do that, than I have the power to not do that as well. The only things I need to do are look at what I want, tell myself how I'm going to get it and begin taking action.

I sat down this weekend and made myself reorganize my thoughts, my intentions and my goals. I wrote down a small list of short-term and a small list of long-term goals. What next? I actually had to redo my lists as I found them to be too idealistic instead of realistic; they had to be manageable. I also had to be honest with myself--if I'm setting a goal I think I "should" have, it's not real, it's not mine, and it's not going to work. Once I rewrote my list. I put it away and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

I reset my mind for the next two weeks, going into sectionals.

Today, I had the best day on the ice I've had in the last two months. I landed three triple axels, after working on them only twice last week; they're the first ones I've done since the middle of June, before I broke my collar bone. My programs were better, my jumps were better, my everything was better. Why? My attitude was better!!!

Closing thought on perspectives: when we as athletes tell ourselves something, be it good or bad, positive or negative, we are asserting a perspective and reinforcing that idea. Our next action is almost always something to try and prove ourselves right. Too tired? Too weak? Too hungry? Not enough sleep? Sad/upset/cold/distracted/scared/nervous/overwhelmed/etc...? Tell yourself whatever you want, but you'll find that your next move is most likely something that'll prove you right!!

I am in control of myself and I am in control of my experience!

... 'till next time.


Thursday, October 25, 2007


Making an attempt to get a picture posted.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Test run...

I've never done this whole blogging thing before and I'm still not sure I know what I'm doing, so before I write too much, I'm giving it a little test run.

To all the people taking interest in my thoughts--strange or random as they may be--thank you.

I look forward to telling you about.... mmmm, well, I don't really know yet, but I'll bet it'll be fun... or strange or random.