Recovering from Mistakes in Competition

This week I want to talk about competition mistakes because eventually every skater ends up falling or tripping in a competition program. The best skaters will recover immediately, and they’ll usually forget about the mistake quickly.

I’ve found the best way to forget about the mistake is by transferring your focus to the next element in the program. If you dwell on the mistake, that is when you tend to lose focus and possibly make many more mistakes.

You can develop mistake recovery by practicing like a competition. When you make a mistake in practice, you should resume your program with the same expression and energy as before the fall.

Here’s an example of 2010 Olympic silver medalists and 2011 World champions Charlie White and Meryl Davis at a recent ISU Grand Prix competition in Russia. You see Charlie take a significant stumble early in the program, but he quickly resumes composure, getting right back in sync with Meryl. This causes the audience to forget about the mistake and keeps any negative marks by the judges minimal.

 

 

December 5, 2011

Top 5 Performance Reminders for Skating Competitions

Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty performing the Finnstep at the 2009 European Championships (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty performing the Finnstep at the 2009 European Championships (Photo by Liz Chastney)

With regionals having recently ended, competitions for our students coming up the next two weekends, sectionals and nationals coming up, and the international competition season continuing, I want to provide some tips for any competitor, any level. Some of these may seem basic, but even the top competitors in the world sometimes forget to do them.

1. SMILE! :) Unless your coach has asked you to use a different expression to portray your program, you should be smiling!

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October 21, 2011

Halloween and Skating Costumes

With Halloween coming up, everyone is thinking about costumes. In figure skating, costumes are important throughout the year. For technical events in skating, I feel that while a good costume can help the judges remember the skater, strong skating is much more important than just having an elaborate dress.

However, for events such as artistic and spotlight where the focus is on originality and music interpretation, costumes are much more important to the overall performance quality. As a rule of thumb, it’s useful for the judges to be able to tell what type of music the skater will be performing to by looking at their costume before the music starts. It’s also nice for spotlight events to have a surprise layer of costume underneath the first layer or some other unique twist to the costume.

Here’s a Halloween show video with some good tricks in it. If you’re looking for Halloween costume ideas for skating, there are some interesting ones in the video!

October 9, 2011

Top Tips for Skating Competitions

Christina warming up for the 2009 NRW Trophy, Dortmund, Germany.

Christina warming up for the 2009 NRW Trophy, Dortmund, Germany.

Figure-skating competition season is here! Along with all the hard work comes the stress of remembering everything needed for a competition and the actual competition performance. Let’s not forget the parents, coaches, and audience members who have the stressful job of supporting the skaters, which can be a lot harder than it looks.

I think everyone involved with figure skating during competition season needs support. Here are some articles with tips for skating competitions from my brother, Will (former international pairs competitor representing the U.S.), our mom, Deb Chitwood ( founder of Raising Figure Skaters with ideas from a parent’s perspective) and me (former international ice dance competitor representing Great Britain).

I hope these ideas help eliminate some of the stress so that you can experience the joy of competition!

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July 29, 2011

Why You Should Arrive Early for Skating Performances

Christina (8) (on right) and other skaters ready for their Pops on Ice performance, 1998.

Christina (8) (on right) and other skaters ready for their Pops on Ice performance, 1998.

Competitions, test sessions, and exhibitions can be stressful at times, especially if you’re running late. Here are some tips for less stress before performance and reasons why it’s important to arrive early for skating performances.

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June 3, 2011