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View Full Version : How some coaches help skaters deal with nerves in competition (article)



Sylvia
09-25-2012, 08:01 PM
Coaches quoted include Tom Zakrajsek, Bobby Martin, Todd Sand, Kori Ade, Audrey Weisiger, and Mark Mitchell: http://web.icenetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120920&content_id=38716912&vkey=ice_news

Alex Forrest
09-26-2012, 12:55 AM
Great article, thanks for posting it.

aliceanne
09-28-2012, 04:35 PM
I think if I were a skater appearing on TV I would never go on the internet. Between the trolls and the ubers, not to mention the journalists, I would be mentally spinning like a top!

Jozet
09-29-2012, 02:22 AM
This is a great article!

I love the idea about arriving at the rink in costume, doing a six minute warm-up, and then waiting around to get on and do a run-through. That always seems like one of the toughest situations to stay focused - the wait.

I saw an interview with Michael Phelps - or maybe it was his coach - and it was about how the coach would do things before a practice like mess with Phelps' goggles so they wouldn't work right or throw other kinds of obstacle/challenges in Phelps' way just in case it happened on competition day.

For test sessions, I've joked that during practice ice the week before, a few people should sit in the hockey box holding clip boards and jotting things down. That can really throw kids off during their first few tests.

Also, even getting used to skating on crowded practice ice. If a skater is used to skating on less crowded sessions, it could be tricky to transition to more crowded ice at a larger competition practice session.

Or, if a skater only skates afternoon sessions, to suddenly only have a 6:00 AM practice session before an 8:00 AM competition can become its own challenge.

aliceanne
09-29-2012, 04:55 AM
I would add practice your program facing both directions and starting from opposite ends of the rink. The set up at the competition rink may be different with respect to where the judges sit in relation to the audience, where the front entrance is etc. It can be disorienting if you rely on these visual cues to tell you where you should be on the ice.

Also be prepared to skate on hard ice, wet ice, and chewed up ice.

Jozet
09-29-2012, 05:01 AM
It can be disorienting if you rely on these visual cues to tell you where you should be on the ice.

A disorienting rink to skate on is the Skate Club and Humane Society in Ardmore, PA. It's a gorgeous rink! But no hockey lines or boards. My kiddo had a lost moment there a few weeks ago and had to do a bit of improv until she figured out which direction was which. No way to practice for that really than to practice there.

overedge
09-29-2012, 05:47 AM
Also be prepared to skate on hard ice, wet ice, and chewed up ice.

After my first few competitions, I always made sure to practice parts of my program on the crappiest ice I could find. You never know what the ice at another rink is going to be like.

I also remember some of the Russian skaters in the early 1990s saying that the reason they were able to skate so fast and so fluidly when they competed in North America was that the ice was so much smoother and firmer compared to the ice at home :lol:

Ziggy
09-30-2012, 12:28 AM
You have to train psychological skills just like you have to train your physical skills.

It's a shame that a lot of coaches, skaters and parents don't seem to realise that.

madm
09-30-2012, 04:14 PM
Another thing to mentally prepare for is another skater having the same music as you. It happens often when new movies come out. The worst was when Pirates of the Carribbean came out.

My daughter just had a bad experience that she was totally unprepared for. A friend of hers skated at a big competition with the exact same freeskate music as hers (it was unusual music) and the friend skated right before her in the event. Talk about blowing my daughter's mind! She discovered this during the official practice hours before competition. She was so pissed that her friend changed her program before this competition and surprised her by stealing her music. I know this seems unethical, but it happens. The skater in question did not have a coach at the event, or else the coach probably would have done something to prevent this. Unfortunately my daughter was not able to rise to the occasion and blow the socks off of the other girl, which would have been fitting justice IMO.

I remember being at Nationals one year when Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek both skated to Ave Maria (different recordings though). They both performed beautifully! And who can forget the Battle of the Carmens between Debbie Thomas and Katarina Witt during the 1988 Olympics?