August 2, 2015

3 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Skating (and Life!)

It's that time of year again when you're coming in to the home stretch of the "off" season (yeah, right...) and in September you'll be staring down the barrel of a new season and new competitions, probably at a new level. In all likelihood, there'll be some testing thrown in for good measure. Whether this is your first or tenth season in skating, it's always a good time to start getting more from your sport than just a calendar full of events, deadlines, and new pressures on your mind and body. In the 2015-2016 season, make skating work for you as hard as you work for it. Let's now discuss how.

photo cred benson kua under cc by-sa 2.0
Competition is an essential and massive part of skating, and I'm sure you'll already be discussing the events you're planning to partake in with your coach and family over the coming month. If you're moving into a new category, you might move up with some of last season's competitors, but chances are that you'll come in to contact with some new skaters too. This can be daunting and challenging on a physical and emotional level, but you can turn the tables to learn some valuable skating (dare I say, life) lessons from your fellow competitors. Read on for 3 things you can learn about skating, and life, from your competitors.

#1 Compete With Yourself and You're Always a Winner
Sure you're in a competition, sure you're ranked against other skaters. That's what competitive sport is about. But that's not all it's about, and there are some bigger learnings to be had when you see your competitors as individual skaters trying to improve themselves, and apply the same logic to yourself. Those skaters who grow the most and who consistently improve over the course of a season aren't in it with the only objective of picking up the trophy. They're in it to get better, to advance through the testing ladder, and become better performers. Go in to each event with a personal goal other than a specific place finish, and whether you achieve it or not, you'll learn something about yourself as a skater (and maybe even as a person).

#2 Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously
We all know at least one. That skater who gets intensely in-the-zone prior to the comp. That skater who would give Derek Zoolander a run for his money when it comes to self-absorption. Everything is a drama, everything has potentially disastrous consequences, and it's not cool. These guys and girls can remind us to stay ourselves, even during competition. Skating isn't just about winning, it's an outlet for your personality and will invariably stay with you (or your child) for quite a while if you stick at it for any length of time. You might not think it now, but how you act and react in these moments can shape the person you are, so be mindful to steer yourself in a direction that reflects qualities you look for in others. Hold yourself accountable, and keep your two (booted) feet firmly on the ground ice.

#3 Be Graceful
In defeat, but also in victory. No one likes a show off. I've been on quite a few podiums in my time with the first place finisher holding the trophy literally over their heads for the photos. News flash guys, this isn't Wimbledon. Or the FA cup final. Stay humble, accept your end result with grace, and you'll not only build yourself a good reputation, you'll make those around you feel great too. And that's important.

A lot of my American readers have commented to me that there really is no down-time in their calendars any more, and that between testing, comps, boot camps, and training, the summer is now just as crazy at the Sept-May period. What's your experience of this? Do you and your family take skating vacation, or are you on a year-round schedule? I'd love to hear about it, so let us know in a comment or over on Facebook!

Until next time, happy skating!

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1 comment

  1. You help me get through skating <3 Thank you <3

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