Holiday Survival Guide -Helpful Tips & Visualization Activity
Worried about time off the ice during the holidays?
(jump to signing up for the free holiday reset here)
Here’s what to do instead:
You don’t get stronger while working out, while practicing and while competing. You get stronger when you give your body time to adapt to the stressors that you put it under; whether in the gym or on the ice.
For those on the competitive circuit, regardless of what competition you have after the holidays you will benefit from some time away from the ice both physically and mentally.
If you play in a weekly league, a week or two off from curling will give your mind and body a chance to recover from its many games and practices since your season started.
The time off from curling is a time to rest, recharge & refocus!
Here are 4 ways to reframe the holiday season when your club is closed so you can come back stronger and feeling refreshed:
Prioritize sleep, time with your friends and family, time outdoors and time doing things that bring you joy. The most optimal time for your body to recover from a fall full of curling and training is to let it repair itself. So go for it; indulge in naps by the fire, sleep in a couple days, and take time away from work to just be present with your loved ones (this means time with yourself too!).
Activity: Breath awareness drill (see below for instructions)
Try this simple breathing activity for 3-5 minutes every day.
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
- Set a time for 3-5 minutes, play some music or binaural beats if you need a little help resting the mind
- Start by closing your eyes if that feels comfortable
- Bring your awareness to your breathing.
- Is it fast? Slow?
- Are the breaths long? Short?
- Can you:
- hear the breath?
- feel the body move while you breath?
- feel the temperature of the air as it moves in & out of your body?
- That’s it, that’s the exercise. No controlling the breath, no specific tempo or goal, just awareness.
- You can use this exercise at any point in your day.
Curling is a sport that is easy to promote imbalances in your body. We spend more time on one leg balancing on a slippery surface, more time in a lunge on one side over the other and for most of us more time using one arm as a primary sweeping muscle. It can be a good idea to pull out an old workout from the summer to test if you’ve maintained your strength and fitness, or at the very least focus on improving your strength and mobility on the less used side.
Activity: Split stance rock & reach. 2-3 sets of 5-10 on both sides
For a lot of humans, Navigating Holiday Eating can be stressful. However, in the spirit of rest and recovery you can use this time of feasts and brunches to fuel your workouts and aid in recovery from a long curling season. Focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and high protein sources, and give yourself some slack when it comes to the “fun foods”.
Activity: Make it a goal to start each day with a glass of water (bonus if you add a pinch of salt or squeeze of citrus; lime or lemon)
The mind is an incredibly powerful tool that athletes at all levels can easily neglect. Luckily for you, there is one thing you can do over the holidays to help keep your game sharp: visualization.
Let me tell you a quick story about Major James Nesmeth, who was a pretty average golfer before being captured during the Vietnam war and held as a POW for 7 years in a tiny cell. To keep himself occupied he played a round of golf in his mind at his favourite club every day. He took his time and envisioned the clothes he was wearing, the sound of the wind through the trees, and the feel of the hot sun on his skin. He imagined himself making every shot and every hole perfectly, even taking breaks for water. Despite not holding a club for 7 years and his deteriorated physical condition, when he returned to America and started playing golf again he shot 20 strokes lower than before he was imprisoned.
What does this matter to you, a curler in the 21st century? With the extra time off the ice you can still spend some time practicing your delivery for different shots, or sweeping the draw to the pin for the win. You can use visualization for practicing the game in your mind, or even imaging scenarios that you’d like to handle better next time; like getting frustrated that the other team made yet another accidental wicky-ticky shot, experiencing a rock pick during a crucial end, or managing your nerves before a big game.
Activity: (try this exercise!)
Next time you’re waiting in line to buy turkey for your holiday feast, or enjoying a hot cocoa by the fire, with your eyes open or closed you can take yourself back to the ice, back to the hack. Use all your senses; what do you hear, see, feel, smell? Imagine yourself getting your rock, getting into the hack and lining up. Feel your leg muscles as you slide out of the hack with a perfect kick and release that smooth handle right at the target. Watch the rock all the way until the shot is made and you hear a “good shot” call from a teammate. Visualization is a skill that gets better with practice. Try a shot or two every day and when you get back to the ice in January it might not feel like you had 2 weeks away.
How does that sound? Take advantage of a little more time to spend with yourself, the things that bring you joy, and use the extra hours off the ice to recover and refocus.
Need help staying on track?
I want to invite you to the fourth annual Empowered Performance Holiday Reset.
What is it? 4 days of movement, mindset and curling tips sent to your email every day Dec 27-30th, 2022, ending with a virtual Guided Goal Setting party on January 4nd 2023 at 7:30pm EST.
The entire reset is free!
Consider it my holiday gift to you for being such a wonderful Empowered Performance athlete, and lover of the game of curling.
Sign up HERE today. Already a newsletter subscriber? Email email@example.com if you have any questions. See below for more info.
There will be no NYE karma yoga class, BUT I am happy to share last years recording if you wish to follow-along again this year. HERE
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article and accompanying resources is intended for educational purposes only. Please seek out the assistance of a Regulated Health Care Practitioner if you have any questions or concerns.
Stephanie Thompson is a former student-athlete at Western University and is a certified Kinesiologist who plays on the WCT Women's tour. This article, Time to Rest & Recharge was originally published on on her blog, Empowered Performance, and is re-published here with permission.
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