Over the last few weeks I’ve watched A LOT of skating! I was at the Skate Southern – all day, every day for four days, I was watching the Junior World’s, and then Triglav on Live Stream, and finally the World Championships in Boston.
It’s at times like these I’m very glad not to be a judge.
Think about it – no matter how much you love skating, watching it day after day, stuck in a chair beside the ice, freezing cold and having to concentrate on every programme is not such an easy task. They’ve heard the same old music over and over – Pink Panther, Carmen, James Bond… as the same nervous, expressionless skaters glide or trip past them.
And that, my dear skater, is what YOU are up against. You have a panel of cold, tired (and probably hungry!) judges watching one skater after the other, and you need to stand out from the crowd. When your name is called, it’s your time to go out there and S.H.I.N.E!
You need to be different. You need to make them sit up and watch. Make their day brighter and make them glad they came after all.
This is a performance sport. The audience is expecting to be entertained as well as to marvel at the athleticism and technique. And the judges certainly want to be watching skaters whose passion shows through when they perform. For those moments that you have the ice all to yourself, it’s time to make every single movement count. Every beat of the music. Every last finger joint, rib, muscle needs to be involved in the programme. Tell a story with your performance and mesmerise your audience.
Being afraid to give 100% to your programme because you’re worried about what others might think of you will only hold you back from your dreams.
How much do you want that dream? What matters? And is it really true? Do people think badly of you for going out and giving it your all? (If so – although I very much doubt it’s true – do you need those people in your life?).
Watch the videos back of your programme. Then, in your living room, put on your music and really over-dramatise it – go totally over the top, ham it up. Take it back one notch to ‘remove the ham’ but keep that drama and go for it next time you’re on the ice!
The World Figure Skating Championships 2016 are over, but you can still watch as much as you can on YouTube. Notice the difference between the skaters at the top and the ones at the bottom. Notice how the different skaters handle setbacks. Does it affect their whole performance or do they just get up and carry on, hungry for more points? See how they perform. How could you bring that to your own skating? I can get lost in time watching the very best ones perform – almost forgetting that they are on skates!
Listen if you can to the commentary from Nicky Slater and Mark Hanretty – and make a note of what they notice about the best performances – what works, and what doesn’t work. Because they know their stuff – and you can bet the judges are thinking the same!