CONGRATULATIONS! You've signed up for a recreational ice skating competition! Maybe it's your first, or perhaps you've done several, either way competitions have away of bringing out the nerves. Remember that your coach is always available for questions and will offer guidance and support throughout the preparation and competition experience. Here's a list a few important thing to remember:
Remember this is all about having a fun skating experience. Try not to get overwhelmed in the details. If you’re competing, compete against yourself! If you’re performing, remember that the best performers are the ones that make you want to watch them. SMILE and ENJOY the experience, it goes by fast!
Be prepared. Make sure you have your things together (dress; tights; skates; guards; etc) and always plan to arrive early. For competitions, you should arrive at least 90 minutes before your event. Competitions tend to run early/late so check in with your coach often. There will also always be an ice monitor near the ice entrance (look for person with clipboard and walkie talkie) they will know if things are running on time. You will need to check in with the monitor about 20-30 minutes before your event. Bring a jacket or blanket and water & healthy snacks. Sugary and or fried foods are not your friend ever, but especially during competition.
Warm ups: There are two! The first one is your off ice warm up. This is what you should do 20-30 minutes before it’s time to put your skates on. There may be ice show occasions where you do not get an on ice warm up, so knowing how to warm up off ice is vital. The goal is to get your blood pumping and work your joints (especially the jumping ones!) as well as getting stretched out. Your on ice warm up will be very short, usually 5 minutes or less. Depending on the skating order and group size you may have a long time between your warm up and your skate. It is important to keep moving and stay warm (but do not exhaust yourself). Depending on the amount of time and your personal preference you might want to take your skates off if your wait is longer than 30 minutes or so. Talk to your coach or the ice monitor if you are unsure. During your warm up you should first take a couple laps around the rink using your BEST skating (first impressions!). You can then go through most of your elements (jumps, spins, dance steps). Do not go through your entire program. Do edges, swizzles, power pulls, waltz jumps, scratch spins, anything to help you get the feel of the ice.
Taking & Exiting the ice. Be by the entrance to the ice when the skater before you takes the ice. If you are competing wait on the ice by the door until your name is announced, if you are performing you will be instructed what to do. When you are finished with your program you will curtsey (or bow) first to the judges if you are competing and then to the audience.
For competitions – shortly after your event is complete they will post the results in a designated area, then there will be an award ceremony for the top 3 skaters. These are usually done in bulk several times throughout the day, so check in periodically with the awards people.
Pictures & Video. It is okay to take your own as long as no flash is used and you remain in a designated area. Competitions will also have professional dvd’s for purchase.
What to do if:
You fall. Get up as quickly as possible and try to pick up your program where you left off. Don’t stress, falling is SUPER common. If you are too injured to continue your program skate over to the judges and talk to the referee.
Your music isn’t right. Immediately skate over to the referee and tell them.
Your skate comes untied. Skate over to the referee.
You forget you program. Keep skating! Try to include the elements from your level.
Your coach can’t be with you. This can happen, usually there will be someone else to help you, another coach from your rink or an older skater, but even if there isn’t it will be ok. Smile, just do your program like you’ve practiced.
Again, the most important thing is to enjoy the experience and know that just signing up and committing to participation is a wonderful accomplishment in itself. Watching and cheering on your fellow skaters, watching skaters from different rinks, and enjoying the atmosphere of the event are all bonuses! Getting out there and skating, showing off the programs and skills you've been working so hard to perfect is a real thrill! If this is your first competition, be prepared to get hooked on competing :)