Do you get nervous before a competition or a test session? Do you start freaking out over the little things? One way to calm your nerves before an event is to understand the things that are out of your control. There is no reason to stress, get worried or get nervous over anything that you cannot change . There are many things that you may not have complete control over, but you can be prepared for them in order to calm your nerves.
There is nothing we can do to change many of the things we freak ourselves out for. If there is nothing we can do about it, worrying isn’t going to do anything to make the situation better. A few of these things are:
1. Skating order
2. Rink temperature
3. Ice quality
4. Number of skaters in your group/warmup
Even though these things are out of your control, there are things that you can do in order to prepare for it. You are not able to control what order you skate, but you can have a plan on how to utilize your warmup if you skate first or last. If you skate first, you can have one warm up plan in order to give yourself enough time to rest before you start your program. This way if you have a plan for it you will not be stressing out about how enough time to warm up all of your elements. If you skate in the middle or last, you can have a different plan to use your whole warm up to the fullest. You should also decide if you are going to wait by the ice or go into the locker rooms to walk through your program, keep stretching or do walk throughs of jumps and spins. Practicing this all before the day of the event will help keep you calm because you know what you are doing each step of the way and it isn’t a matter of surprise or not knowing what to do until the day you get there.
“All things are ready, if our mind be so.”
― William Shakespeare, Henry V
Rink temperature varies from rink to rink but usually it is pretty darn cold. Every now and then you will luck out and be in a warm rink. Make sure you are prepared with fitted thin and thick warm up jacket and gloves (if your coach allows) for the warm up time.
You may have clean ice or you may have really beat up ice and there is nothing you can do about this. During practice sessions make sure you perform your program at the beginning and the end of sessions to practice on both kinds of surfaces.
You are never able to know how many skaters will be on your practice ice or warm up. If it is a busy session, it is good to practice your jumps in different areas of the rink so you are not making lap after lap after lap trying to go to one particular spot. It is very easy to waste your warm up by stroking around trying to find a spot to jump. Be flexible with your elements in order to make the most of your warm up.
Just because something is out of your control doesn’t mean you have to be unprepared. Have a plan, and a back up plan, and a back up for the back up plan to prepare for every situation. Having a routine and knowing what to do in each circumstance there is no question of what to do. If you are first to skate in your group there is no more excuse of “I HATE BEING FIRST” Instead it will become natural to follow Plan A and proceed as you would in practice. Have a plan, be prepared and you will be at ease.