June 22, 2010

Competition Checklist: 10 Things You Shouldn't Compete Without

Here I have compiled a "checklist" of competitive must-haves to help you on your way to your first (or 100th!) skating competition! These are don't-leave-at-home items which will make all the difference to your big day. Pack your things at latest the evening before C-Day as stress can make you jittery and forgetful - failing to prepare is preparing to fail, after all!

Into which you can fit the following items on this list. Whether you opt for a "wheelie" model or a regular shoulder-strap sports bag is entirely up to you. You might even want one of these Zuca "bags", very popular with the Weir, which look more like little dolls houses on wheels if you ask me!

Yes, I know. I hang my head in shame. How could you forget the skates you ask. Just get them in the bag!

Make sure you have something to protect those precious (read: expensive) blades while walking around pre and post skate. Oh, and lovely-skatey-person? Don't forget to take them off before you go on for your warm up (that's dumb you say? Who'd forget that, you say? Well... umm... *turns red*).

You need these to protect your beautiful blades during transportation, without them sweating in plastic guards. If you're in the mood for crafty crafts, then you might consider making them yourself! Check out my post on making your own skating soakers for all you need to know on the subject of making yo' blades looks the shizzle bizzle.

You need a piece of absorbant fabric to wipe your blades clean and dry after your performance(s). This can be a snazzy purpose-built "skate cloth" or a raggy old hand towel from home (I favour the shabby-chic look... whenever I've had snazzy blade cloths they've always gone missing... hmm).

Bring a bottle of water to your big day. You need hydration before, during, and after the event. Have your coach keep it handy during off and on ice warm ups and take sips little and often to avoid feeling bloated by guzzling too much at once.

Don't go forgetting your CD! You can't skate in the event if you don't have music to skate to. You will have to forfeit the competition, after all your hard work, efforts, and possibly even travel. Bring along a back-up CD too and have your coach hold on to it at the barrier during your event. You will need to check your music in upon arrival at the venue and you usually do so at the registration desk in the main lobby of the ice rink.
You could also make sure you have a digital copy of your music file on your phone/iPod/mp3 player, and a cable that will link these devices to a sound system (which costs less than £5, a sound investment, pun intended). In the event that the comp people mislay your CD, or that it doesn't work, you can always watch on in horror as a family member/coach makes a run for the music box with a mobile device in tow.

Yes I know tights are expensive, but you need to think of your back-up tights as an investment. The day will come when you'll be slipping on your tights in the bathroom before slinking into your outfit, and you'll see a great hole at the crotch or the toes! Laddering tights = not a pretty sight! Leave them in their original packaging so they don't get damaged as they travel in your bag over the months they'll be sitting there, waiting to be used.

You'll need something smart for the warm-up, and you will most likely wear it during your off ice warm up too. A fitted jacket works well with all garments and if you get one in a universal colour it will always look good no matter what colour your outfit is (I recommend black, have been using the same one for 7 years now!).

Often skaters eat a little something sweet before going on to skate to give their bodies a quick rush of energy. It's not a good idea to eat sweet sugary foods too far in advance as they provide a fast but short lived hit followed by a return to normal blood sugar levels - which can feel low after a high! So be sensible. It's always a good back-up to have a Mars bar (or anything else) at hand though. Don't pig out on fast-acting sweets after your skate, you need to eat slow releasing sugars to help your body's sugar levels return to normal.

If you're starting out in figure skating competitions, you might like some of these related posts:
How to dress your hair for figure skating competitions
How to do your make-up for skating competitions
How to sign up for figure skating competitions

If this content was helpful let me know about it! Tweet me (@skating_howto), like me on Facebook, or comment below! Until next time, happy skating! XOXO


  1. Thanks for reminding about the wiping cloth!
    I could have forgotten it but for your blog post. I think I should buy them instead of bringing towels from home. I guess the ones in a store are more suitable for that.

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  2. Any tips for my first competition anyone? They would be greatly appreciated. :)

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  3. Are you able to wear a knee brace during a competition?

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  4. @Anonymous thanks for your comment! You can definitely wear your knee brace if you need to during competition. Most skaters who have to wear some sort of support device (the commonest is knees in my experience) do so underneath their tights to try and keep the aesthetic right, but if you need to put it over your tights that's fine too. Your health comes first so if you feel uncomfortable skating without it, you should definitely wear it! Gigi XOXO

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  5. @Gracie Oury

    Perfect! Thank you! I thought my dreams of competing were squashed when an old injury surfaced a few weeks ago. Glad to know I can be safe during competitions.

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  6. Can you do something like this for MIF or Freestyle testing? It might be pretty similar but I always feel like I'm forgetting something, and anything helps, really, if only to make me feel more secure!

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