Can it get any worse? What’s your biggest figure skating blooper? And how many people were watching?
In ice skating, mistakes happen, always have and always will. Prima ballerina Natalya Makarova is gracious now about her epic fail, but she probably did not feel anything like that when it happened. What was the lesson learned? Preparation is really, really important!
As adult figure skaters, we can learn to compete, we can prepare, but sometimes stuff gets thrown at you on a test session or during a figure skating competition that you are just never prepared for.
Is it just me or as adult ice skaters, do we really beat ourselves up and “if-only” ourselves to death more than younger skaters? Do golfers go through all this? Do figure skating and competitive second guessing ourselves always have to go hand in hand?
NO! Stop it right now! Drop everything and read:
Six Ways to Get You to Your Happy Ice Skating Place!
- Don’t compare. Maybe everyone out there is a better skater than you; maybe that newbie is progressing faster than you. Maybe not… talk to any adult figure skater long enough, and you will get an earful about the elements they struggle with and how long they have struggled with them. Like five years of daily slogging before landing an axel.
- You will get stuck on something – especially something you thought you were starting to master. Sometimes the blocks last for a few minutes, sometimes years. See axel example mentioned above. Sometimes it may require a coaching or equipment change. An old injury may require some type of professional attention. Sometimes you just need to let it go.
- Take a break. Step back from your skating for a minute and breathe. Move onto another element, have a sip of water. A wise coach once told me that if you keep trying to do an element when it gets to this stage, where you are popping jumps or repeatedly missing and element, you are actually reinforcing the incorrect method. STOP!
- Chill, in the emotional, not physical sense. If you are kicking the ice and cussing a blue streak in frustration, it will only make things worse. To paraphrase a popular on-line meme, “Stay Calm and… “well, just calm down. Frustration and loss of focus tend to be self perpetuating, especially in figure skating. Refer to above point.
- Sometimes you will skate well on a figure skating test or in a competition, but will not be rewarded for it. Occasionally, the problem may lie with the judges. They do make mistakes and yes, they do show up with personal biases. Maybe they are aware of them, maybe not. But, be really honest with yourself, bite the bullet and watch the video of your skate. Is that jump really completely rotated?? Did you hold that variation long enough on that spin to get the level? Were you toe-pushing to maintain the speed and flow on that ice dance? Were you the complete package? Work on correcting errors, but especially work on improving things that you do well.
- The drama, or maybe more of a soap opera, that is figure skating going on around you. I’ve noticed that it seems to vary from year to year. Up until recently, I felt quite welcome in my home club, but this year one of the directors conspired to get me kicked out of our annual show. She felt the focus of the show needed to be on children. Of course, that didn’t stop her from allowing several twenty-something’s from participating, two of whom were actually club professionals. I need to confront this person. But not yet, I’d rather focus on my training plan for this year and this person may be leaving anyway.
If you stick around figure skating, all of the above will happen, I can guarantee this! Remember these hints and just keep skating!
So, what keeps me going? I have made progress. I will continue to make progress. Skating is something I do for me. Go have a look at Shaelynn’s video from last week. In short, I do it because it brings me joy, teaches me to overcome challenges and is, at times, even a metaphor for life.
What keeps you going on a bad skating day? Be sure to share it with us!