Holiday Curling Survival Guide – Curling News
Worried about getting off the ice during the holidays?
Here’s what to do.
You don’t get stronger while you train, while you practice and while you compete. You get stronger when you give your body time to adapt to the stressors you put it under; either in the gym or on the ice.
For those on the competitive circuit: regardless of what competition you face after the holidays, you’ll 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 the many games and practices since the season started.
The break from curling is a time to rest, recharge and refocus!
Here are four ways to transform the holiday season when your club facility is closed so you can come back stronger and feeling refreshed.
Prioritize sleep, time with friends and family, time outdoors and time to do things that bring you joy. The most optimal time for the body to recover from a fall full of curling and training is to let it repair itself. So go for it: enjoy a nap by the fire, sleep in and take time away from work to just be present with your loved ones (this means time with yourself too).
Activity: Breathing Awareness Exercise (see below for instructions)
Try this simple breathing activity for three to five minutes each day.
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
- Set a timer for three to five minutes, play some music or binaural beats if you need some help to calm your mind
- Start by closing your eyes if it feels comfortable
- Make your awareness your breath:
- Is it fast? Slow?
- Are the breaths long? Card?
- Can you:
- hear every breath?
- feel your body move as you breathe?
- feel the temperature of the air as it moves in and out of your body?
- That’s it, that’s the drill. No breath control, no specific pace or goal, just awareness.
- You can use this exercise at any time during the day.
Curling is a sport that easily promotes imbalance in your body. We spend more time on one leg balancing on slippery surfaces, 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. You may want to pull out an old workout from the summer to test whether you’ve maintained strength and conditioning, or at least focus on improving strength and mobility on the less used side.
Activity: shared attitude rock and reach; two or three sets of five to 10 reps on both sides.
For many people, navigating holiday dining can be stressful. But in the spirit of rest and recovery, use this time of parties and brunches to fuel your workouts and help you recover from a long curling season. Focus on eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and high protein sources, and cut yourself some slack when it comes to “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 a 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’s one thing you can do during the holidays to keep your game sharp: visualization.
You may remember the story of Major James Nesmith, who was a fairly average golfer before he was captured during the Vietnam War and held in a small cell as a prisoner of war for seven years. To keep busy, he played a round of golf in his mind at his favorite golf club every day.
He took his time imagining the clothes he was wearing, the sound of the wind through the trees and the feel of the warm sun on his skin. He envisioned making every shot and every hole perfect; he imagined taking breaks to get water.
Despite not holding a club for seven years and his deteriorating physical condition, he shot 20 strokes lower when he returned to America and began playing golf again than before his incarceration.
What does this mean for 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 sweep the draw to stick for the win. You can use visualization to rehearse the game in your mind, or even picture scenarios that you want to handle better next time; like getting frustrated that the other team made yet another random wicky-ticky shot, experiencing a stone pick during a crucial finish, or managing your nerves before a big game.
Activity: The next time you’re standing in line to buy a turkey for your holiday party, or enjoying a hot cocoa by the fire, with your eyes open or closed you can get back to the ice, back to the hack.
Use all your senses; what do you hear, see, feel, smell?
Imagine getting your stone, entering the hack, and queuing up. Feel the leg muscles as you slide out of the hack with a perfect kick and release the smooth handle right at the target. Watch the rock all the way down the ice until the shot is taken and you hear a “good shot” shout from a teammate.
Visualization is a skill that improves with practice. Try a shot or two each day and when you get back on the ice in January it might not feel like you had two 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?
It’s four days of movement, mindset and curling tips sent to your email every day from December 27th to December 30th, ending with a virtual guided goal setting party on January 4th, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. EST.
The entire reset is free! Consider it my Christmas present to you for being such an amazing athlete, reader and lover of curling.
Register HERE to get more information.
There will be no NEW karma yoga class, but I am happy to share last year’s recording if you want to follow along again this year.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article and associated resources is intended for educational purposes only. Please seek help from a regulated healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.