Competing and performing can be a nerve-racking experience. It can also be a wonderful and enjoyable experience. How you approach the competition can make all the difference in the world.
From my experiences at many different kinds of ice skating competitions from national championships to international senior B competitions to the European and World Championships, there is one thing I’ve always used to perform my best.
Here it is:
If you are putting the work in practicing and preparing properly for the competition, by competition day there is no point in actually worrying too much. The best thing you can do is to relax and know you’ve put the work in. Now is the chance for you to go out and show what you’ve been working so hard on – and have fun!
When you’re more relaxed you are much more likely to perform your best. So, even if you are not feeling confident in your preparation to the competition or are performing a new element for the first time, you will be most likely to perform well if you go out there in the mind set of enjoying it and having fun.
If you’re finding yourself focusing on what you have to do, how well you need to skate, or how important the performance or competition is, try doing something to take your mind off it. Usually the best things are actually things that take your mind off the competition but don’t require much thinking or brain power:
- You perform best in ice skating when you’re relaxed and on the right side of your mind (or you can think, “Act blonde!”).
- I always enjoyed dancing and moving around backstage, singing a song to myself (either in my head or maybe even aloud), or talking about silly things.
- Another simple thing that works is saying a phrase over and over in your head. It means you are thinking of the phrase and not thinking about being nervous. You could try something like, “I am a great skater who is confident, and I am going to go out there do my best and have fun!” Or you could even say over and over, “I am awesome.”
- You may have something that works for you already or you may want to try something new.
- Choose what you like and if you find it works for you, stick with it!
Ultimately, you don’t usually remember the results of a competition in 5, 10, or 15 years … you remember the performances you really enjoyed! Here’s to having fun! 🙂
Here are a couple of YouTube videos of Mark Hanretty and me having fun performing original dances at 2009 Europeans and 2010 Worlds: