Tips for a Strong Mental Attitude for Competition

Will (13) and Christina (8) during their 1998-99 pairs season when they won their first Junior Olympics/Junior Nationals medal.

Will (13) and Christina (8) during their 1998-99 pairs season when they won their first Junior Olympics/Junior Nationals medal.

Having competed in pairs skating for ten years, I learned various techniques to handle the pressures of competition and public performance. Now I’m a skating coach. Here’s how I deal with my students’ most common competition fears.

Usually the most common fear for new skating competitors is performing in front of an audience. The skaters fear they will make a mistake and embarrass themselves in front of their family and friends. The most common question new competitors ask me is, “What if I fall?”

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May 26, 2011

Ballet on Ice

Christina and Mark (Photo by David Paterson)

Christina and Mark (Photo by David Paterson)

Do you love ice skating? Do you love ballet? Do you love dance? If you answered yes to one or more of those three questions, Ballet On Ice is the class for you! Ballet is required for most of the top skaters in the world. Russian skaters take ballet lessons from an extremely young age. Male and female skaters of all ages train in ballet to improve their skating.

If you are not training in ballet and different styles of dance for your skating, you may want to seriously consider it. I believe ballet is the basis for all dance. In a way, you could almost say it is the basis for all movement. Ice skaters require grace, fluidity, artistry, passion, and originality. The class Ballet On Ice will develop those aspects of your skating!

Ballet On Ice is: 

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March 4, 2011

Inspiration from the 2011 U.S. Ladies Champion, Alissa Czisny

The 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were all about inspiring performances. As much as I love to see Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu do well, it was wonderful to see the beautiful Alissa Czisny make her comeback to win the gold medal in the senior ladies event.

After her heartbreaking 10th place finish last year (after winning in 2009), Alissa recreated her skating with coaches Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen. It’s lovely to hear that Alissa’s coaches really believe in her and helped her find confidence in her skating.

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Photo Credit: Alissa Czisny at the 2009 Fiesta on Ice. Photo by Queen Yuna at Flickr Creative Commons.

February 24, 2011

Inspiration from the 2011 U.S. Pairs Champions, Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin

The 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships just concluded last weekend. U.S. Nationals is the yearly competition that the top novice-senior skaters in the nation qualify for by placing in the top 4 in their regions and sections. Usually there are between 12 to 15 skaters or teams in each event.

In senior pairs, the team of Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin won the event. Caitlin and John skate at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, where I used to train. Caitlin arrived after I moved, but I knew John for many years. John was always a nice guy.

I was happy to see Caitlin and John finally succeed in winning this title. Caitlin and John’s victory was extra special because their long program was dedicated to John’s mother who passed away last year.

In the YouTube video of Caitlin and John’s U.S. Nationals free skate, you can really see them feeling the music to bring out John’s emotions. Also, watch how Caitlin and John maintain great speed and flow throughout the transitions and various elements they perform. They wove all the aspects together to create one of the most memorable pairs programs ever at U.S. Nationals.

February 3, 2011

Top 7 Show Essentials

Christina and Mark Performing a Daft Punk Number. (Photo by Jane Vernon)

Christina and Mark Performing a Daft Punk Number. (Photo by Jane Vernon)

What are the most important things you need to perform? You may be skating in an ice show, acting in a play, performing in a concert, or modeling at a photo shoot. Whatever your performance or show, here are my top 7 show essentials.

1. Skates/shoes/equipment  

If you are an ice skater, it is going to be very difficult to skate without skates! If you are a ballerina to be performing on pointe, it will be tricky to perform without pointe shoes. Towels, guards, pads for feet, etc., are also important in helping you perform in your equipment. Remember your equipment! 

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January 28, 2011