Why do skaters compete? You might be expecting, especially based off the motivational site this tends to be, that you are about to read the answer “because it is fun, for the pure joy of skating, to show off the skaters accomplished skills, for the experience and so on.” Yes these are all good reasons and I do agree with all of them, but this is not why skaters compete. Skaters, just like any athlete, compete to win. I have never met someone who says, “Oooo I hope I finish in last place!” It ceases to amaze me that skaters want to win so badly and say they will do anything to win and work so hard on the ice, but they do nothing to prepare other than by running their programs. The last article was preparing for situations that are out of your control prior to and during events. This article is about what you are in control of and how to prepare yourself.
It is not rocket science and you have heard it a billion times before. SLEEP. Shocking right? Who would have thought that your parents making you go to a bed at a certain hour was actually for your benefit. You always thought they just wanted to stay up late and watch David Letterman without you, but in reality they know that getting more sleep helps you preform better. Many of the events are usually away from home which means staying in a hotel. The temptations of staying up late and ordering in room service is tempting, but wait until after you compete to celebrate instead. Sleeping in a hotel can be difficult due to the noise in hallways, the uncomfortable beds and the worry of not waking up in time. Prepare yourself for the hotel! Pack your own pillow, take your own big blanket or a sleeping bag to make the bed softer and wear ear plugs. If you have never worn ear plugs before, start wearing them a week or two before so you get used to it. If you are worried about missing your alarm, set an alarm on your phone, ipad, alarm clock in the room and request a wake up call for the front desk. Make your hotel room as cozy as you can to insure a good nights sleep.
Skating with a stomach ache might be one of the worst feelings. Traveling makes a harder to eat healthy and eat as you normally would back home. Try to get a hotel room with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals the night before and the day of the competition. You can celebrate after the competition by going out to eat, but risking feeling sick during the competition is not worth it. Have foods the day before and the day of the competition that you know are going to be safe for your stomach and your energy level. Power bars, banana and peanut butter sandwiches and fruits and vegetables all seem to be common and safe energy providers.
“Competitions should feel just like practice, so practice like it is the competition.”
Skating in your skating dress the week of prior to a competition is always a must to do. Even if you haven’t worn your dress since the last competition and you think it is okay, there is usually a stain, tear or a new sudden grundie or itchiness. Run your program a few times in the dress to make sure it is comfortable and that you are used to it. Sometimes skater will get dresses that they feel more restricted in. If it is the day of the competition you should not be thinking about your dress, tights or hair staying in. Make sure to do practice run throughs with your costumes, tights and hair pulled back just like it will be for the competition. I would recommend wearing the make up that you will use for the competition as well especially if you are not used to make up. Competitions should feel just like practice, so practice like it is the competition. Going from wearing black skate pants and a tshirt to skating tights and a dress might throw you off, so make sure you are comfortable and are used to it before the day of the competition. Make sure to practice without your gloves. During practice ice and during run throughs try taking your gloves off to get used to it and to feel comfortable. Our gloves sometimes act as a security blankets and we don’t feel safe without them. Practice without the gloves so you feel safe without your security blanket.
“Skaters you may take the ice for your 5 minute warm up” Most skaters have a plan for their 5 minute warm up, but how many actually try their programs with only a 5 minute warm up? Prior to the competition, practice your off ice warm up, get on the ice and take your 5 minute warm up right away and then run your program. Many times it is not possible to run it with the music right away so make sure to run it without the music right after your 5 minute warm up. The 5 warmup is ONLY 5 minutes! Get on the ice and start just like you would for a competition. The 5 minutes starts right away and does not have pauses and interruptions to talk to your friends, layer off jackets, etc. It is 5 minutes and that is all! Use your time wisely and use it just like you would at a competition so there are no surprises.
In order to skate you need a pair of skates, an ice surface and yourself. The ice you are in control of you, and your equipment should be checked before the competition. The only thing left to be in control of is yourself. You are in control of you. So take control, be prepared and skate just like practice because every practice should be skated like a competition.
Be sure to visit our free resoures page for a free competition checklist to help when packing for a competition!