What to expect at Skate School and Aussie skate competitions
Although these are “beginners” competitions, the practices here apply equally to senior level competitions and it is good practice to get into habit now.
Whilst it is called a competition the emphasis is on participation and enjoyment rather than winning or losing, therefore I encourage all parents and siblings with a family member competing not to talk about winning, losing, places or other things that may put any pressure on the skater, such talk of “Olympics”, “champion” etc although quite innocent at the time can add pressure over time. We don’t want to lose enjoyment because of pressure.
Most rinks charge a $3 to $7 spectator fee that parents and others have to pay on entry to the rink for competitions, so remember if you bring a lot of spectators then this could get expensive. Whilst it is nice that many family members may want to attend this can however cause added pressure and nerves for the competitor, so attendance is best kept to the family members who usually attend practice sessions.
Arrive 30 minutes prior to commencement fully dressed for the competition (ie with your skating costume on), but without skates on, bear in mind that there will be plenty of waiting around to skate, please do not put your skates on until after the off ice warm up which will be held approximately 30 minutes prior to your on ice warm up. Bring a skipping rope for the off ice warm up. Bring warm clothing for all as there is plenty of waiting around inside the ice rink.
Make-up for girls
Some girls do wear make up for competition, this is optional but please keep it simple.
On entry to the rink you will collect a sheet of paper showing the skating order and which side of the rink you will use, if you have your own music for a full ice program please give it to the people at the registration counter.
What to eat and what not to eat
On the day of the competition please eat normal meals, avoid large meals, before leaving home or slightly earlier eat a simple snack such as a sandwich and a banana.
I have had skaters turn up for a competition who have not eaten all day because they are too nervous or excited and then have skated badly due to low blood sugar and lack of concentration, I have also had skaters buy a bucket of chips and eat them only minutes before they are due to skate, this also has to be avoided.
NSW Championships July 19th 2007 - I saw a skater quickly eating a hot dog less than 1 hour before she was due to skate - her coach did not see this as most coaches would not allow this.
Other things not to do
Stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time, e.g., do not go to the beach. Get a good night sleep the night before.
Avoid other sporting activities on the day of the competition, e.g., do not go on a 15km fun run on the morning of the competition.
Do not sharpen your skates less than 3 practice sessions before a competition, examine your skates a week or so ahead to see if they will make it through until after the competition. Do not leave your skates at the rink for anyone to sharpen, take them to Mario http://mzicenpics.idx.com.au/
The ice will usually be divided into halves by witches hats, two skaters will perform on each half of the ice at the same time, two sets of judges will judge the skaters. Background music will be played, we do not know what this will be ahead of time.
You only get one chance to skate your program, there is no second chance to get it right, yes hours of waiting around for 1 minute of skating!
Make sure you have your toilet break before or just after your off ice warm up, please do not leave it until it is nearly your time to skate.
Off ice warm up
This will be held about 30 minutes before you are due to skate, please bring a skipping rope, after the off ice warm up please put your skates on.
Ice warm up
This is only 3 minutes and is just time enough to do your program about 1 ½ times, as soon as you step on the ice please start your program.
Practice before skating
Some skaters arrive at the rink very early so they can skate for 30 minutes to practice there programs, the full entry price is usually payable. I do recommend it for small children who have difficulty remembering their program such as my daughter (5 years old), or if you are having difficulty with some element. For senior level competition with jumps and spins this is very important to get the jumps working as the 3 to 6 minute warm up is too short, this may consist of a short practice session (20 – 30 mins) on the morning of the competition or at least several hours before the competition starts.
During your program
If you fall over please get up quickly and continue the program as if nothing has happened, if you forget your program the coach cannot tell you what is next, however this does happen frequently with pre-school children.
At the end of the competition there will be a presentation to the top 3 place getters in each division, these competitions do run very long and this could be 3 hours after commencement, the Dias will be used and this is a good photo opportunity, please take off your warm up clothes to stand on the Dias should your name be called, please leave your skating clothes on until after the presentation as this is a good photo opportunity and jeans and daggy T shirt don’t look good on the dias. If your name is not called and you do not get a place then this does not mean you have lost as all skaters who perform to the best of their ability are winners. We have no control on who enters the competition in your division and how they skate, at every competition like this I have attended on leaving there has always been children crying as they leave the rink (because they did not get a place). If you would like to avoid this then please ask me after you have skated and I will give you my best guess as to whether it is worth staying 2 hours plus to wait for the presentation, if you do not chose to stay I can collect any prizes won for you.
Because these competitions run so long, it is a good idea to bring something to sit on and warm clothing. Think also about food as this competition may run 3 hours plus, the food in the rink canteens usually consists of chips and hot dogs so a trip elsewhere may be needed, ignore the sign on the door saying not to bring outside food in (I break this rule frequently for my daughter).
I may be video taping your performance for later coaching analysis to identify weaknesses in coaching and to keep a record of performances, if you would like a copy please let me know, you are also welcome to bring your own video camera and record. Also if you do not wish me to video taped you then please let me know.
Some clubs/rinks require parents to fill out and sign a video permission form on entry to the comp, just be aware of this.
OK this is a fancy word for day dreaming, however this cannot be under estimated as a valuable preparation tool, it has been used extensively by elite athletes for many years, it consists of a mental run through’s of your program, only perfect execution is visualized. This can be done on the day of the competition during quiet times at home, also just before you skate while you are waiting your turn. Here are some things that should be included in any visualization – 3 stone faced judges, hundreds of people in the audience (mostly parents waiting for their own child to skate), smooth clean ice, the cold air as you skate a perfect program, the music playing etc.
Watching the other skaters
Watching the other skaters in your division is not recommended, if they do badly and make a lot of mistakes then this can be contagious, it is better to stay in the club or warm up room while they are skating and do your visualization (with perfect execution in mind).