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.

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