Coaches love what they do for many reasons. For Riedell figure skating coach Cindy Sullivan, Director of Figure Skating at Ice Centre at the Promenade in Westminster, Colorado, the greatest joy in coaching is seeing her skaters grow as they accomplish new skills. When it’s time to put those skills to the test at competitions, Cindy creates an environment where her skaters are as confident and comfortable as possible. She reinforces that the two most important things to remember for a successful competition are to trust yourself and to always come prepared.
As Cindy gears up to join her skaters at the Southwestern Regional Championships this month, she’s making sure that her skaters are ready for any curveball that may come their way. Here are some of her best tips to prepare for a successful figure skating competition:
Avoid anxiety before the competition. Missing school for a competition can be distracting as you prepare to skate. As soon as you know when you will be competing, make arrangements with teachers to have your work done ahead of time. Then focus on your skating.
Visualize the event. There are many pieces to a figure skating competition. The more you can prepare for it all ahead of time, the better. Use the days and weeks leading up to your event to visualize the competition setting: positioning on the ice, where the judges will be, etc. You can do this at your home rink, during down time or before you go to bed at night. If this is your first time competing, ask your coach to help walk you through this process.
Plan ahead. Practice everything from your five minute warm-up to your allotted 30 seconds to take your spot on the ice. Wear your competition outfit on the ice and make the entire experience as realistic as possible.
Secure equipment. Make sure that the screws attaching your blades to your boots are screwed on tight and that the blades are sharpened one to two weeks ahead of time. Replace your laces one week before the competition to avoid a break minutes before you take the ice and always keep an extra pair in your bag. Checking these items ahead of time will not only help you dodge hurdles on competition day, but will also ease some anxiety.
Know the next step. Check in with the rink monitor as soon as you arrive at the rink for your competition. This will give you the best sense of when you will need to be ready for your event. Plan a time and place to meet your coach so that you can warm up and finalize any details.
Trust yourself. Don’t focus on the hard skills. Get out on the ice and show the judges what you’ve practiced. Hard work and attention to detail will shine through as you perform for the judges.
These are Coach Cindy’s go-to tips for skaters preparing to compete. Do you have any tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!