Top Tip for Skating Performances and Competitions

Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty having fun performing to “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” from The Swing Kids at the 2009 European Championships. (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty having fun performing to “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” from The Swing Kids at the 2009 European Championships. (Photo by Liz Chastney)

Competing and performing can be a nerve-racking experience. It can also be a wonderful and enjoyable experience. How you approach the competition can make all the difference in the world.

From my experiences at many different kinds of ice skating competitions from national championships to international senior B competitions to the European and World Championships, there is one thing I’ve always used to perform my best.

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January 20, 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.

Costume

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.  

Tights

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

MySkatingMall.com 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! 

eBay.com 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

How to Cool Down after a Skating Session

Extra cooling down can be done anywhere - Christina Chitwood at an Obserstdorf, Germany, train station.

Extra cooling down can be done anywhere – Christina Chitwood at a train station in Germany.

Cooling down is very important for competitive skaters. Just getting off the ice after an intense skating workout without any type of cool down can lead to stiffer muscles and joints. This stiffness can lead to injury. Also, stretching and cooling down can help reduce muscle pain and soreness the next day by relieving the tension built up by training.

A short cool down can be helpful for every skater, but the longer and harder you train the more important your cool down will be. I recommend a few cool-down laps at the end of a session or ending with easier elements such as footwork or spins to lower your heart rate. Once you get your skates off, spend 5 to 15 minutes stretching, holding each stretch at least 20 seconds.

Here are the most helpful stretches to do on both legs.

  • Put your leg up in front or to the slide on the skating boards and then reach for the foot for a hamstring stretch.
  • Hold your foot and then bend that leg behind your back for a quad stretch.
  • Bend the front leg and keep the back leg straight for a calf stretch.
  • Flex the front foot up to the board and lean forward for another calf stretch.
  • Split your legs halfway while standing, then bend one leg and lean your body toward the straight leg for a groin stretch.
  • Hold a lunge position for a hip-flexor stretch.
  • Straighten one arm and pull it across your body with the other arm for a shoulder stretch.
  • Bend one arm behind your head and pull it back with the other arm for another shoulder stretch as well as triceps stretch.
  • Bend one wrist back by pulling the fingers of that hand back with the other hand for a wrist stretch.
  • Also, head rolls, body rolls, ankle rolls, and arm- and shoulder rolls are helpful in cooling down.

If you feel comfortable sitting on the ground at the rink, here are a few more good stretches.

  • Reach for your toes with both legs straight while pointing your toes for a good hamstring stretch.
  • Do a straddle split and lean body to both sides and then forward for a hamstring and groin stretch.
  • Lie on your back and keep one leg straight on the ground and then bend the other leg over the top. Twist your body against the bent leg for a back stretch.
  • Turn your front leg out and bend on ground and turn the back leg in on ground. Then lean reach forward over the front leg for a hip-flexor stretch.

These stretches will help you feel more limber and will help improve your flexibility. You get far more from stretching when your muscles are already limber because they can expand farther than when your muscles are cold. Remember, even stretching 5 minutes every day after skating will make a difference in your flexibility.

 

May 27, 2010