Max Aaron believes that pressure is for those who are not prepared and does his best to be as prepared as he possibly can be. Being a very analytical person and a strategic planner, Max not only has back up plans for his programs, he has back up plans for his back up plans with the hope that he will not be caught off guard by anything that comes his way. “I have at least ten different plans of programs in my head already,” Aaron said.
Mental toughness is a big part of the training process for Aaron as he works with a sports psychologist who has helped give him more confidence. It has been a process for Max to not only be content with who he is as a skater but to be confident in what he brings to the sport and to simply be himself regardless of the critics.
At this point, Aaron’s focus is preparing for Skate America, October 18-20 where he is on the Grand Prix circuit for the first time and is preparing one quadruple jumps in his short and three in his long. He has backloaded his performance with both triple axels and the quad salchow after the halfway point to increase his points. It’s a program that not many men would attempt. But Max says, “No risk, no reward.”
When it comes to his incredible quad toe-loop and quad salchow, Max best likes describing them as his kids. “So my quads are like my babies, I always say," he said with a laugh. "You can’t leave one alone, right? The whole thing is managing how to do both in the program. People are always saying how the toe and sow are so similar, but really when you break it down, they’re really not similar at all. They are very different and they are unique in their own ways. So you can’t treat both the same way.”
It’s highly ambitious to include two types of quads in a program, yet his goal is to get the most from every program, including his component score. There has been a lot of criticism about Aaron’s artistry, or lack thereof, considering that he is a hockey player at heart. Yet Max has been training hard to increase his artistic ability and he has taken ballroom and modern dancing classes to understand movement and begin to implement it in his programs. “I’ve competed in ballroom dancing now a couple months ago and I enjoy it. It’s something very fun and unique for me to do and I’m learning the steps and the rhythms,” Aaron said.
Max spends a lot of time critiquing his artistry through watching video replays. Last season Aaron was more focused on getting comfortable with his quads and intentionally did not concern himself with artistic components, but this season he wants to become the full package, yet it is a delicate balance between staying true to who he is and yet working to grow artistically so that he can get the points he needs to be competitive.
Max’s goal is for his programs to grow and develop as the season progresses and as his style takes form. He hopes to possess the full package in time for him to defend his national title in January, making the Olympic team.
When it comes to the 2014 Olympic Games, his ambitions are clear. “Main goal is competing clean,” Max said firmly. “I say that every time because it’s very hard to compete two clean performances in the same event. So I get that done I will accomplish my goal, which my goal is to become an Olympic Champion...I go back to seeing where the points lay and where I can lay with the top men, doing these programs clean. I say Olympic Champion because you never know how someone is going to skate on that particular day. I say Olympic Champion for sure.”
Max is not only looking to become an Olympic champion, he is also looking to become a real estate developer, a stock broker and a sports agent. “Hopefully I have a very long life,” Max says with a laugh. With all of his ambitions, Max is still hoping to spend many years skating competitively as he is grateful that he will only be 25 for the 2018 Olympic Games. He is certainly not looking to hang up his skates any time soon.
With so many dreams and ambitions, it is a good thing that Aaron has an incredible support system. From the friends he trains with to his family, he is surrounded by people who push him and believe in him. He not only draws strength from their support but also from his Jewish heritage which he is proud to represent. “It’s great because I get to share my religion with others in the sport,” Aaron said.
Not everyone has the optimistic perspective that Max Aaron seems to possess or the discipline to live such an intense lifestyle, but for Max, that’s just who he is. Though some of his goals seem quite ambitious and some wonder if he can live up to his confident talk, Max is no longer concerned about naysayers and now he is hoping to inspire others to go for their dreams.
“If there was one thing that I could get away from skating and I could share with the world of figure skating and beyond is that I would love to inspire others to go out and do something that maybe they have been told that they cannot do. I say that because I was always told that I would never be a champion, I would never be up there with the top men, I wold never be a world competitor, I was always told this...I just want to inspire others constantly just to go out there and enjoy their day and just keep pushing through it and whatever people tell you, just to go beyond that and to enjoy life to the fullest.”