Canada’s Chan focusing on mental game
Even when Patrick Chan is at the top of his physical game, his mental one is a crapshoot.
“Usually when I have a good skate, I’m not quite sure how it happened,” Chan mused recently. “I can’t really put my finger on how or what I did to make it successful.”
So for the first time in his career, the three-time world figure skating champion is exploring the psychological side of competing, enlisting the help of Dr. Scott Goldman, a sports psychologist at the University of Michigan.
It’s all part of the 26-yearold’s “no stone left unturned” approach to what will be his final Olympic appearance next year in Pyeongchang.
He’ll put his new gameplan to the test at this week’s ISU Four Continents championships in South Korea, a test event for next year’s Olympics.
Chan has captured three Four Continents titles, including last season in Taiwan where he climbed from fifth place after the short program.
He’ll face a stiff test against teen star Nathan Chen, who reeled off five quadruple jumps in his long program to win the U.S. championships, and defending Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.
Chan has worked hard on the physical side of his skating since his return from a one-year hiatus, upping the number of quads in his free program to three. But he’s been inconsistent, and believes his mental game is the culprit. He fell three times in his long program at the Grand Prix Final in December, plummeting from second place down to fifth. During the wait between the warmup and competing, his nerves were frazzled.
Chan put his work with Goldman to the test at the Canadian championships last month, where he won his ninth national senior title.