Are you preparing for your first or next ice skating competition?
At any level, figure skating competitions are intense, competitive, and challenging.
There’s no room for error.
All of your training comes down to executing your routine and jumps while having fun doing it.
You want to leave nothing to chance.
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It’s important to maximize your skill level and leave no doubt in the judge’s mind that you’re the best on the ice.
Competition is all down to preparation.
You can’t show up on the day of your event and expect to knock it out of the park.
Ice skating competition, whether solo or in pairs, is a culmination of hours working on routines, conditioning, and everything in between.
If you’re having problems preparing for your first meet, or you want some tips and tricks to get ready for the next one, you’ve come to the right place.
Getting ready mentally and physically will make sure you have a successful performance.
Try these 10 tips and tricks to increase your chances of success:
1. It’s a Mental Game
When you’re on the ice, it’s as much a mental game as it is a physical one.
We’ve seen some of the most talented skaters struggle to perform in front of the judges while others who are mentally stronger achieve massive success.
The days leading up to the competition are filled with stress and anxiety.
Your time on the ice also requires concentration to remember the routine and land your spins or jumps.
Therefore, you should spend a significant amount of time working on your mental preparedness.
Consider meditation, mindfulness, and other stress reduction techniques.
Visualization is another useful technique, where you picture yourself pulling off advanced moves, landing your routine, and enjoying the moment.
Consider a coach or sports therapist who can help you work through any fears or anxiety you are feeling, especially if you underperformed at a previous competition.
When you’re mentally prepared for an ice skating competition and can block out the noise, your chances for success improve significantly.
2. Focus on Physical Conditioning
It goes without saying that ice skating is a physically demanding sport.
You’ll have significant training on the ice to hone your strength and flexibility.
However, focusing on your off-ice training is just as important.
Off-ice training involves activities to improve balance and increase strength, stamina, and flexibility.
These are all crucial elements of figure skating.
Sometimes, it helps to combine different exercises and activities like weight training, cardio, yoga, and plyometrics.
Find the right balance of on-ice and off-ice training to get you prepared for the demands of competition.
It helps to get a strength and conditioning coach or program tailored to your body and goals.
The better you feel physically, the more confident you’ll feel when your name is called to the ice.
3. Perfecting Ice Skating Routine and Elements
You have your routine, which includes spins, jumps, and other technical aspects needed to perform to the best of your ability.
Now, it’s all about fine-tuning your performance leading up to your ice skating competition.
First, get really detailed with your routine, including arm position, movement, and even facial expression.
Every competitive advantage counts, and these details can turn your performance from good to excellent.
It also helps to review the tape of others who’ve excelled in your competition.
Slow it down and pay attention to their movements to help you understand what’s required.
Regular practice, along with visualization of a flawless routine, enhances your performance and gets you ready for an exceptional performance on the ice.
Be patient yet persistent.
Get guidance from your coach, especially if you need to work on difficult moves.
The more you perfect your routine and the specific challenging elements, the better your performance.
4. Costume and Equipment Preparation
Skating is not all about skills and your routine.
How you look and feel on the day also matters.
Costume and equipment play a role in your performance.
That means extra care must be taken in how you present yourself to the judges.
Spend some time working on your costume and overall look.
A coach can help you with this as you can brainstorm to come up with exciting music and the look to match.
Many ice skaters look forward to costuming as it takes their minds off the pressure of performing on the ice and allows their creativity to shine through.
Remember to focus on comfort, mobility, and flexibility.
A well-designed costume does not hold you back from performing the advanced movements necessary for your routine.
Your theme may be elegant, dramatic, sporty, or whimsical.
Make sure everything reflects the music and story you’re trying to tell.
You must ensure you have competition skates ready several weeks in advance.
Break in your skates and make adjustments to the blades accordingly.
Use practice skates in the interim so you have skates ready for the big day.
Attention to these details improves your confidence and prepares you to do your absolute best.
5. Nutrition and Hydration
What you put in is what you get out of your training.
The same goes for your nutrition and hydration.
Ice skaters expend significant amounts of energy in training and competition.
Therefore, they need the right fuel to maximize their performance.
Nutrition can be a competitive advantage to help build muscle, increase stamina, and reduce injury.
Consider a stricter diet leading up to competition focusing on whole foods like meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
Avoid processed foods, candy, and foods with high sugar that can spike and then drop your blood sugar.
Whole foods provide sustained energy by gradually releasing energy and keeping your blood sugar in check.
Hydration is another critical part of athletic performance.
Even if you don’t feel thirsty or it’s cold on the rink, you still lose water, minerals, and electrolytes.
You may not know you need proper hydration until you attempt your routine and struggle to execute it.
Make sure you’re taking in adequate amounts of water, electrolytes, and minerals while training and leading up to competition day.
Your coach can guide you based on past experience, or you can seek help from a sports nutritionist.
6. Rest and Recovery
All our tips and tricks focus on maintaining high levels of physical and mental performance.
However, the best results come from adequate rest and recovery.
Rest allows weary muscles to recuperate and strengthen while reducing the chances of injury.
Make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep while avoiding triggers that impact sleep quality..
Sleep ensures you have the energy necessary to perform while resetting your body and triggering healing factors to reduce soreness and soft tissue troubles.
Rest and recovery aren’t the same.
There are other aspects that can help you recover faster and perform better.
Spending time cooling down after training or using a foam roller can help relieve muscle tightness, reducing the chances of injury.
Consider massage therapy and supplements for muscle recovery (with a doctor’s guidance).
While this can take some extra training time, the payoff is a more prepared body and mind and improved performance.
7. Consider Synthetic Ice Training
Preparing for an ice skating competition means putting time on the ice and rehearsing jumps, spins, and other moves.
However, many skaters do not have access to a rink to ramp up their performance.
Investing in synthetic ice is a great way to supplement your training without going to a rink.
Synthetic ice panels are made of smooth polyethylene materials that mimic real ice.
You can use one large panel or connect multiple panels to create a small rink in your home or backyard.
This innovative product allows you to train quickly, rehearse your routine, and perfect your moves while saving you time.
Synthetic ice can also improve your strength and speed due to the slightly increased friction.
It’s a competitive advantage many ice skaters use year-round to take their performance to the next level.
8. Get Familiar with the Competition Venue
If possible, visit the competition venue beforehand.
It helps to familiarize yourself with the rink layout, entrance, performance space, and ice conditions.
This information is invaluable.
You can gauge the space to minimize errors.
Ice skating competitions rarely go as planned.
The skater must understand this and sometimes make changes on the fly, especially if they fail to land a jump.
With knowledge of the rink beforehand, you can also easily adapt to the rink and make quick adjustments during the performance.
If the rink is out of reach (for example, out of the country), do online research on the dimensions, get feedback from other skaters, or watch videos to give you an idea of its layout.
9. Prepare for the Unexpected
As we just mentioned, things rarely go to plan.
This can be both on and off the ice.
So it helps to be prepared.
Get your event times and locations so you don’t miss anything.
On the day of the competition, get to the venue at least 1 hour in advance.
This gives you enough time to change, prepare mentally, and get a rink layout.
Bring a change of clothing in the event of wardrobe malfunction is critical, along with extra copies of your routine music.
The extra effort to prepare removes the chances of being anxious or stressed when it’s time to perform.
10. A Strong Support System Matters
Ice skating can be an individual sport, but we aren’t competing alone.
At any age, we need a strong support system to help us stay prepared and mentally ready.
Family members, friends, and fellow skaters can be there to cheer us on and help us.
Your coach also plays a major role in performance.
Make sure you follow advice and instructions and ask your coach for more support if there is anything you don’t understand.
The stronger your support system, the better your outcome.
An ice skating competition is a challenging endeavor and only gets more difficult the further you move along.
At the highest levels, every detail matters.
You’ll compete against the best in the world, and to become the best, you have to beat the best.
To beat the best, you can follow these tips and tricks.
Eventually, they become second nature, allowing you to improve your performance and reach levels you did not think were possible.