Interview with Champion Figure Skater Michael Weiss
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a two-time National Champion, World Bronze Medalist and Olympian
chatted with Dr. Caroline Silby about his
perspectives on motivation in a two-part interview.
On the Early Years
Skating was something that differentiated me from everybody else
and got me attention from my parents and friends and coaches.
I was just motivated by the fact that I was getting praise and
getting recognition. I felt like I had to skate with the best
skaters in the world everyday in order to be motivated to get
better. And then I went through this stage in my late teens where
I realized that the motivation comes from inside you and you have
to be able to do it yourself.
On Being the Champion
It's very easy to push yourself when you're trying to chase number
one. I read a great quote about three weeks before the Nationals,
"In order to be number one you have to train like number
two." That's so right. I have to train like I'm trying to
knock off whoever that other person is, not like I'm trying to
defend. Michelle Kwan has said "You're not going to World
Championships to defend your title you're going there to be World
Champion and try and win." And that's the only way you can
look at if you are going to be successful.
On Motivational Support
My wife Lisa has basically been my sports psychologist for the
past four years. I know that there is no way that I could have
been as successful if she hadn't come in my life. I had the physical
ability to get things done but there wasn't that motivation. She
reminds me everyday of all the things that I want to achieve.
Sometimes I'll kind of wimp out on things and I won't really notice
I'm doing it but she'll remind me and say, "That's such a
cop-out. You can land 80-90 percent of your quads in practice."
Then, I go back and I say, "Okay, maybe she's right."
And that has nothing to do with my ability. That has to do with
my motivation and wanting to land 80-90 percent in practice. So,
I think support plays a huge role.
On Motivation and Success
When you're on your own it's easy to think of cop-outs and little
excuses. You need to have someone remind you that you can do these
things and say, "If you're going to be the World Champion
or whatever your goal is, these are the things that you are going
to do." Whenever I put my mind to something and I'm motivated
to do it, I almost always achieve it. That's a pretty cool thing
lately. The big difference between number one and three or four
is the fact that number one is the guy who is really motivated
and mentally strong and determined to win. It's not that number
one is that much more physically capable than the other person.
It's just that they are motivated. They're the ones that want
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About Caroline Silby
Caroline Silby, Ph.D., M.Ed holds a Doctorate and Master Degree of Sports Psychology from the University of Virginia. Her specialty is performance enhancement with adolescent athletes and she's worked with Olympic Champions in gymnastics and figure skating. As an elite athlete, Dr. Silby was a member of the National Figure Skating Team.
later served on the U.S. Figure Skating Association
Board of Directors and Athlete Advisory Council. Dr.
Silby was appointed to the US Olympic Committee Athlete
Advisory Council, Collegiate Sports Council and Finance
she assists the Women's Sports Foundation as a member
of their Advisory Council and is a faculty member
of both the USA Gymnastics and the US Figure Skating
Association training camps. Dr. Silby is working on
her first book titled, Games Girls Play to be published
by St. Martin's Press in 2000. She resides in Washington,
D.C. and has an active national practice.