Competition Checklist

Blade On Figure SkateI have a competition checklist for you! Bookmark this link in case you need it again for future reference! And don’t forget to double check for skates, costume, and music!

Here’s my general list of competition reminders:

  • Sharpen your skates about one week before the competition for good edges and to get comfortable with the sharpening.
  • For females, wear over-the-boot tights or have freshly polished skatesFor males, polish your skates if scuffed.
  • The night before you compete, be sure to get at least 8 to 9 hours sleep.
  • Again, remember to take your skates, costume, and music!
  • Bring a sweater or jacket to wear before you go on the ice so you stay warm and loose. You may want more than one layer!
  • You should arrive at the rink no later than one hour before your event.
  • When you arrive at the rink you should be wearing your costume, or you should plan to arrive early enough to have your costume on one hour before your event. Females, have your hair and makeup done. If you are planning to have a vendor do your hair or makeup, be sure that your appointment ends 45 minutes prior to your event start time.
  • When you arrive at the rink, turn in your program music CD and check in at the registration table.  
  • Put your skates on about 40 minutes before your event. About 30 minutes before your event, look for your coach by the ice entrance to get warmed up. 
  • Remember the goals of the competition are to have fun, to learn how to perform in front of an audience, and to give your full effort!!!
  • Don’t worry about results. Good competition placement isn’t the main focus; it’s just a bonus!
  • Remember to SMILE 🙂 & have fun!


August 20, 2016

Top 3 Competition Essentials

Even with a checklist of competition reminders, there are three essentials you should always double check right before you leave for a competition. The three most important things that a skater must have are skates, costume, and music.

1. Skates. Understandably, if you don’t have skates, you won’t be able to compete. Actually, that’s not entirely true. You could try rentals, but your skating would suffer greatly due to the lack of support and edges. You could buy new skates, but competition is about the worst place to try to break in new equipment. Finally, you could borrow someone else’s skates close to your foot size. I have actually seen skaters do this.

For example, when I was in Estonia for an international competition about 5 years ago, one of the ice dancers had lost her luggage. Since she was determined to skate, she borrowed her friend’s skates and used them for the competition. That hindered her skating, however, because the skates were slightly too large and she wasn’t used to the boot and blade.

While the circumstances were uncontrollable in that scenario, for local competitions, you can always have your skates in the car with you. If you have to fly, however, you often can’t carry on skates. Your options then are to either risk sending them though or overnight them by FedEx, UPS, etc. If you tend to forget to bring your skates, put them in an obvious place, such as in front of the door or in the car the day before.

2. Costume. While not as essential as skates, this item is still very important. Since most programs have a certain dress or outfit to go with the music, this is a very essential part of your competition appearance. Luckily, if all fails, usually there are costume vendors and you could purchase an outfit to closely suit your needs. However, the stress in scrambling to find an outfit in your size, appropriate for your program, and finding it in time will definitely up the stress level of your day.

3. Music. This is the final necessity for competitions. While your coach should have a backup copy of your music, that copy should only be used for last resorts such as music skipping. If you forget your music and the backup copy fails, then you will be unable to compete. The only other option is to somehow find a person who can purchase the original piece and re-edit your music before you compete. Once again, this option is much more work and stress than necessary.

As you can see, while just about any forgotten item can be salvaged, finding a way to skate under those circumstances can lead to a stressful and unproductive experience. So, don’t forget skates, costume, and music. Follow my checklist in the next article for a complete list of competition reminders.

April 15, 2016

Have Fun with Your Hair This Spring

Fishtail Braid Photo by Elaine Whitney at Flickr Creative Commons.Spring is a great time to experiment with new hairstyles and start getting ready for summer. This doesn’t have to mean changing your hair color or cutting your hair. You can do so much with fun braids and more!

A great site that I like to get e-mail tips from is Daily Makeover. Recently, Daily Makeover had some videos on “5 Easy Spring Hairstyle Tutorials.” I wanted to share them with you, as they are very straightforward but can freshen up your look!

My favorite is the fishtail braid, and Lauren Conrad shows an easy way to do it yourself. A hairstyle like the fishtail braid is great for skating practice. Fancier hairstyles are typically better for competition, but it depends on your program. Check with your coach about your competition hairstyle.

Read the entire article.

March 23, 2012

Performing under Pressure

During the next two months in preparation for the State Games in March, I’ll be talking about how to perform your best in competition. I always say that competing should be for fun. Regardless of the placement, you need to enjoy the experience. Skating your best should be more rewarding than a trophy or first place finish.

But, I understand it’s always nice to receive an award for a job well done! An article from Sports Coach talks about performing under pressure and where pressure comes from. You can use the information not only for competition, but also in other life events that bring pressure.

January 13, 2011

How to Find Competitive Skating Attire

Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty performing the Golden Waltz at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Clive Rose - Getty Images)

Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty performing the Golden Waltz at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Clive Rose - Getty Images)

This week I’m going to talk about competitive skating attire. While competition is judged on skating skills, it’s still important to leave a positive impression on the judges through a classy appearance.


For technical events, the outfit or dress often helps the judges remember the skater (the girl in the red dress, etc.), so having an outfit that works well with a skater’s music is important.

For artistic and spotlight events, much more emphasis is placed on costumes and outfits that help the skater interpret his or her music or character. Often for spotlight events, the most original costume and prop combinations help produce a high competition placement.  


Another important part of appearance for girls is their tights. I often recommend skin-tone, over-the-boot tights because they help complete the skater’s lines. Also, I recommend having a separate competition pair of tights. The practice pair usually will develop holes fairly quickly. Guys, remember to polish your skates if scuffed.

Hair and Makeup

It’s important to have the skater’s hair looking neat and tidy. There are many different ways to fix hair, depending on the type of music the skater chooses. In addition, I recommend using makeup for girls because the white ice tends to wash out the skater’s face, especially when viewed from a distance. Most competitions have vendors who can do the skater’s hair and makeup.   

Where to Buy Skating Costumes and Accessories is the eBay of the skating community with a wide variety of new and gently used skating dresses and outfits, equipment, and accessories for low prices. Plus one of my friends started the site – it’s worth checking out! is another good place to find inexpensive skating dresses and outfits. Numerous students of mine have had good luck there. Just be prepared that skating outfits may not always fit properly because they may have been listed incorrectly. I would avoid buying skates online. Unless you have already been fitted by a professional, it’s hard to know what size boot you need.

A good local pro shop is going to carry skates and accessories. They may also have a limited selection of skating dresses and outfits.

If you need a more elaborate costume for a program, you could check out various online costume stores or plan ahead at Halloween. The other option is to have a seamstress make you a custom costume or dress. Until skaters reach the the highest levels, skating costumes can be purchased inexpensively.

September 30, 2010