Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Withdrawing From Canadian Championships

Over the past couple of months I have had the goal and intention of competing at the Canadian Championships (CC's). I originally thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to show how far I have progressed and to get back into the "competition" swing of things.

I wanted to be prepared to compete because the opportunity was so awesome. CC's are in my city this year; Calgary. It had so much potential to be something amazing. I don't often get the chance to compete at home. Actually, the last time I competed here was more than 2 years ago at the Jurassic Classic. Before that, it was our Olympic trials in the summer of 2004 (What a great competition that was!!). I wanted to somehow recreate the magic of trials at CC's and use it as motivation heading into the final 2 months of Olympic preparation. I wanted this to be a positive experience that would propel me forward. I wanted to come out of CC's feeling like I was making huge progress and that everyone in the audience would know that "Kyle" was back and ready to challenge.

But, I'm not quite there yet. I tried. I really, really tried. A week or so ago, I felt something sink inside of my stomach as the thought of competing became a REAL reality. I'm just not ready to go out there and make myself vulnerable. I am not confident enough yet to come out of this competition with positive feelings. I haven't been able to do the numbers that I need to in order to feel like this could be an experience that would propel me forward.

I have the tendency to trust my gut and listen to my heart. I’m very thankful for that. When I don't; I always end up regretting it. Like when I bought my hardwood. I knew I shouldn't have gotten it from “Floors R Us”, but I didn't listen. I just wanted to get it done. That was a mistake. I don't want to make a mistake in this process, especially when I am so close to being back in the game.

This time around my gut is telling me that not competing this week will put me in the exact position I need to be in. I need to spend this week training and putting in the numbers I missed out on because of my injury. I need to do each turn with the intention that it is the only one that counts, but I am not quite in a position where I feel it would be positive to put myself out there and actually have consequences for messing up a routine. I don't like competing when I don't feel prepared. It's like throwing someone into shark infested waters! That's just trouble waiting to happen. I can swim, but those sharks are a little scary right now (I guess the sharks would be the external expectation).


I am better off now because I prepared for this competition, but I know deep inside that not competing is absolutely the right decision.


For those of you who haven't noticed, I set quite a high standard for myself. I'm a perfectionist. It’s one of my best and worst qualities all in one! I like to show what I am capable of and not what I am lacking. I know the severity of my injury. I know how hard I have worked and how far I have come. I know better than anyone how far I have left to go. The thing is, not everyone knows the position I am in. Not everyone knows what circumstances my gymnastics is in right now. As much as I like to pretend that I don't care about other peoples opinions, I actually do. We all do to some degree, especially gymnasts. I gain momentum when I hear positive feedback. I like praise, just like a dog! I know when I am doing a bad job. In lots of cases, I don't need to be told what I am doing wrong. I work better when I am praised on the things I am doing right. There is no better feeling than knowing that someone has noticed your effort. But on the flip side, there is no worse feeling than being called out for your lack of preparation. And my lack of preparation was completely out of my control. I prepared the best I could...I’m just not “there” yet. Almost.

I don't think any sort of negative feedback will help my quest. I might crumble and crumbling is not a good thing unless it's crackers into soup. What would be the opposite of crumbling? Maybe confidence? Maybe "put together"? Maybe "whole"? Well, whatever it is, I want to be exactly that. Crumbling is weak and I want to be strong!

I made a list of pros and cons before I made my decision. There were many on each side of the list, but the one that really stood out was my main goal and priority: To be at my best in Beijing. Right now it’s still too early. I need to protect myself. I need to keep things positive. I need to set myself up for success. Can you imagine if I took a landing and it was a little too hard and the plate in my leg flared up? Can you imagine if I went out there and fell on my arse on every pass on floor? What would people think? What would people say? What would Edouard, our National coach, feel about my chances of being ready? I would be down in the dumps and I don’t want to be there. I want to feel alive and inspired!

In my mind, 2 months is enough time. I know myself and I know my body and I know that 2 months is the optimal amount of time for me to turn it on and get GREAT! Before Athens I was further behind in my preparation than I am now. I just started tumbling around this time 4 years ago. My ankle injury kept me out of Nationals, but I was focused and I was committed to being in my best form for the Olympics. I believe that I can do this again.

So, of course, the loaded question:

Will this effect my chances at earning a spot on the team?

And the answer:

Everyone at Gymnastics Canada has been extremely supportive. My spot will not be jeopardized. They trust me. They know that if I say I am not quite ready to compete then I am not quite ready. But when it is time to show my readiness at the camps, I will. I am experienced and I have never missed a routine in Olympic competition. I care more about this than anyone else does. My life is invested in this. And they know that.

I am very thankful that I have this trust and support. It really does mean a lot.

I have been assured that I will be invited to the camps and I will get a fair shot at making this team. I will earn that spot. I don’t want it handed to me. I want to show that I deserve to represent Canada at my third Olympic Games.



Yesterday (Monday), at training, Edouard came in and checked out my progress. He was very impressed! I showed him a routine on floor with full difficulty middle passes and basic first and last lines. Then I did a couple sky high Arabian double pikes and full in dismounts. I vaulted 5 great Yurchenko 2.5’s. I hit highbar and ring routines too…He seemed excited and told me I look great. That’s not an easy compliment to get out of Eddy!

So, I guess you could say that I am on the verge of readiness. I am feeling really good. I am getting strong, lean and my routine shape is coming. I just need a little more time before I suit up into my tight singlet and little short shorts and show the World that Kyle Shewfelt is back and ready to go!

Kyle

ps- I also wanted to let everyone know that my new website (www.kyleshewfelt.com) has been launched and my blogs are available there. Please let me know your feedback!

www.kyleshewfelt.com

6 comments:

Derek said...

You are so smart by withdrawing from the Canadian Championships and allowing yourself some time to really get fit and more comfortable with your routines. Im looking forward to hearing more of your progresses and successes... keep doing your THANG and you'll accomplish some amazing stuff.
Good luck. :)
ps. The website looks awesome!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous sr. lady....

Tried to log onto your website, but my computer didn't want to. I was going to leave message in your blog there, but no go.

Anway...u alone know ur body and its capabilities & readiness, and if u felt u weren't ready for CC's that was the right decision. Kyle, u did it before, and I have every confidence u can do a repeat of Athens. U are superbly trained and have "the right stuff" in spades. It's unbelievable what u've already accomplished. I'm the lady who is struggling with gaining movement thro physio after a very bad fractured wrist, & it is slow slogging, but gradually improving. Keep on & don't get discouraged...positive thoughts only! U CAN DO IT!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous sr. lady....

Tried to log onto your website, but my computer didn't want to. I was going to leave message in your blog there, but no go.

Anway...u alone know ur body and its capabilities & readiness, and if u felt u weren't ready for CC's that was the right decision. Kyle, u did it before, and I have every confidence u can do a repeat of Athens. U are superbly trained and have "the right stuff" in spades. It's unbelievable what u've already accomplished. I'm the lady who is struggling with gaining movement thro physio after a very badly fractured wrist, & it is slow slogging, but gradually improving. Keep on & don't get discouraged...positive thoughts only! U CAN DO IT!!!

Anonymous said...

Kyle, u know ur body best and if u didn't feel ready for the CC's, u made the right decision. The progress u've made already is UNBELIEVABLE! and I have no doubt that u can do a repeat of ur Athen's success. I've been struggling with physio for a very badly fractured wrist, & it's a hard slog but gradual improvement. Do keep positive, U have "the right stuff" to win ur goal.
Cheers, anonymous sr. lady

Anonymous said...

Kyle, thanks for ur mention of the CanFund...gr8 idea. I made a donation.

Cheers, anonymous sr. lady

Anonymous said...

Kyle the website looks great. Great pictures and I like the mention of the the Grade 10 English award, it made me laugh!!
Keep up the hard work, you are an inspiration to all athletes and I wish you best of luck with your final preparation before 8/8/08.