The last competition to qualify for the British Championships is over and there will no doubt be a number of disappointed skaters who didn’t quite achieve the required score to secure them entry. It may sound harsh, but if you were counting on sliding in at the last minute, having been unable to get the score in all the other competitions this season, then there is a message in that.

Get a head start on next year, now

You are not ready. And the pressure of competing when you are not ready can be even worse. Better by far to use this knowledge as a yardstick to set your baseline for working really hard in an ‘intelligent’ way and achieve your goal with ease next year.  Now is the time to get a head start over the others.

Those who have qualified will be working their socks off running programmes and doing little else. They won’t have time to stretch themselves and learn new things while they are focusing on this one competition. But you now have a full two months to really work on polishing your skills and developing the consistency you need to skate a confident programme at the next set of competitions in the new year.

At this time of year there are galas and seasonal shows where you can practice skating for the sheer enjoyment without the pressure of competing. Use these opportunities of show skating to develop your performance abilities.

‘Intelligent’ Skating

Gather together your PDFs from the last few competitions. What do they tell you? What’s working that you can enhance even more? What’s not working and what can you do to improve in that area? Intelligent skating means taking responsibility for your development and improvement, not simply being driven to the rink, having a lesson and heading off home or to school without another thought and leaving your coach and your parents to organise your skating between them. The passion has to come from you and if it’s genuine passion, it will bring along a drive to find your own ways to advance and progress.

Of course your coach will have a good insight into your capabilities and potential. And your parents know you well enough to have a realistic view of your strengths and weaknesses. And you should definitely be guided by them. But the responsibility to learn from these and take action to improve lies with you.

Having a good sports mindset isn’t just about performing with confidence or without nerves. It’s about using your mind to further your potential in the sport you love.  So take this opportunity and get a head start on training hard for the next round of competitions. Focus on the areas you need to improve to secure you an early qualification for next year. Set intelligent goals and take responsibility for your results.