How to build self-confidence? A skater from Team Unique answers


Nenna Salminen on the left. (Credits: S.J. Photos)

Synchronized skaters from all over the world are connected by passion, encouragement, and a mutual love for synchronized skating. Unfortunately, there’s another feeling passing through all skaters' minds: we’re talking about stress. Nenna Salminen, a current skater from Team Unique (FIN), shares her view on self-confidence in synchronized skating.

Stress for an upcoming competition is something all athletes experience. How do you think self-confidence can help with this?

Nenna Salminen: For me, the most important part of creating self-confidence is to always do your best during practice. At competitions, I can trust myself when I know I’ve done everything I could to make the best out of it.

But that doesn't mean there is no stress at all. During competitions, it can give you the adrenaline you need. I also think a person who has more self-confidence can enjoy more during the performance.

At some point, you can even fake it ‘till you make it. And that’s important because I think the audience can feel the team’s confidence. So when the 16 individual skaters each have a good amount of self-confidence and they put it together; it makes them as one.

Your team has an important role in your journey to self-confidence. How is this shown in Team Unique?

We discuss it a lot. The hardest subjects are usually the ones that make the team stronger. The most important thing is to trust everyone you are working with. Both skaters, and coaches.

At competitions, we spend the entire day together and speak open-mindedly about our feelings. If you feel nervous, you can say it out loud. Coaches are honest with the feedback they give and they encourage us to do our best. But something as important as trusting others is trusting yourself. Skaters and coaches can tell you that you are awesome and good, but self-confidence is a thing that everyone needs to find for themselves. Finding that might not be easy, but it is worth it.

How would you describe your search for self-confidence?

Something I’ve learned during my skating career is that you need to build your self-confidence constantly. It was especially hard when I got into the Senior level. But seeing your growth as a skater, setting your goals, and achieving them is what creates more self-confidence. And when that happens, you can only get better. Because even if you are not good at certain things yet, you know you can try.