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Monday, March 26, 2012

Competition Tip #8: Coping with Adversity

To all skaters entering competition, good luck and skate well!

However, like it or not, not everything will go as perfectly as everyone would wish it to be. Still, it is in your power to overcome any imperfections.

[Picture adapted from photo by torophyofeb_2009, on Flickr]

Tip #8: Prepare for adversity

The most common and obvious errors in figure skating, of course, are falls. There can also be other situations that can unnerve you, causing you to lose focus, confidence or composure. You should always

be prepared for adversity

All skaters have fallen on jumps and they know to get right back up and continue skating. Some have fallen on spins, and similarly, they have to get on with your program... but actually, it is a little different, since spins take a much longer time than jumps ~ skaters who miss a spin are allowed to perform a spinning action until the correct point in the music, before continuing. And then there's also me, who totally slipped off the edge in a spiral during competition (how embarrassing!)

If you fall or make errors in your program, remember that you are still in control. You have been working hard preparing for the competition, you know your program, and you know your strengths. The best thing you can do is to focus on the rest of the program. There is a lot more to your ability than the (double) Axel. Show it off!

Apart from your performance errors, there can be technical issues beyond your control. Imagine you just took your starting position and somebody else's music is being played. Or your CD does not play. If the wrong music comes on, you need to inform the judges. Always have a spare CD ready in case the CD you submitted does not play or gets misplaced. When such technical problems occur, it is natural that you may be a bit shaken, a but more nervous. Take a few moments to calm down and refocus yourself before you resume your program. The judges can wait a few seconds, and it will help you regain your composure.

Less commonly, there may be problems with the sound system - or even a problem midway through your CD. So long as your music started and you are already skating your program, you should continue to skate, unless told to stop by the judges. You are not entitled to stop your own program halfway because you submitted the wrong cut of your CD or if your CD skipped a bar or if your CD stopped playing suddenly. Here's a video of a little girl, who completed her program even though her music went out:

What else can go wrong? What if you find a tear in your tights, or your laces snap, or your blade feel loose. Remember to have extra laces, extra tights, a sewing kit, safety pins, screwdriver... they might just come in useful. Don't forget to at least have one practice with your competition dress on ~ at least you can identify any potential problems and have it fixed before competition.

Then there are other external issues you cannot predict. Like getting caught in traffic on your way to the rink, or the MRT breaking down (again!?). You should give yourself plenty of time to get to the rink ~ better be there "too early" than late!

While you cannot imagine all of the things that can go wrong, you can at least prepare yourself for what you can think of!

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