Once you become a competitive skater, it can help you grow in many areas of life if you train for a competition properly and use the competition as a learning experience.
After you and your coach have decided on a specific competition, set some goals for that competition. Then, each week, set weekly goals that will help you achieve your competition goals. (See New Year, New Goals.)
Leading up to any competition, you should utilize your practice time well. If you are in a lesson, focus as much as possible, and make notes after your lesson that you can use before your training sessions on your own.
Practicing on Your Own
When training on your own, you should be practicing what your coach has told you as well as your competition program. When you are practicing your programs, you should treat each program as if it’s a competition. (Note: Practice time is NOT socializing time. You can socialize before or after your practice session or in non-skating time.)
You always want to try your hardest whether it’s practice, competition practice, or the real competition. If you always try your hardest and also try to improve what you’re doing each time you do it, then you will be as prepared as you can be for competition.
At the end of the session, you can use some of the newer or more difficult elements you’ve been learning as a reward for practicing hard on your session. Practice sessions are also a time when you can feel proud of yourself for setting a goal and working to achieve that goal through your session.
If you feel like you have done a skating element or program where you could have tried harder, then you are not reaching your maximum potential. Many competitions turn out like you practice.
Trying Your Hardest Doesn’t Mean Perfect
Even when you’re trying your hardest, mistakes do happen and that’s okay. Don’t give up. Try to make the very best out of your situation and you will still have tried your hardest.
Trying your hardest doesn’t mean perfect. It means putting everything you have into what you’re doing. If you practice keeping going when you make a mistake in your practice session, then if that does happen in completion, you will know how to deal with it and it won’t affect your performance nearly as much.
By the time of competition, if you’ve focused in your lessons and worked hard in your practice, it’s time to just go out there and do what you know how to do. Nerves are a natural part of competition, and they can be really helpful if you use them to send energy out through your body.
On competition day, try your hardest, smile, and have fun! 🙂
For information on preparing for competition and performing in competition, see Top Tips for Skating Competitions.