Skating Fridays

Tips for Competition Preparation

As I mentioned last week, I attended a skating seminar focused on competition preparation. My all-star faculty included Audrey Weisiger, Doug Webster, Laurent Depouilly, Kalle Strid and Nick Perna. Wow, that’s like a “Who’s Who” in figure skating coaches. How amazing is that?

The first section of my seminar was a lecture provided by Audrey Weisiger. Here are the tips and advice that she offered us:

    1. Visualize
    2. Make
      a plan that starts with the successful outcome you desire and map it out, in
      reverse, about 6-8 weeks back. Select a specific focus for each week. “Failure to
      plan is planning to fail
      ” (Winston Churchill)
      • Taper training the week of the competition and
        take it easy
    3. Identify
      purpose, problem-solve and progress. Use training logs. Be honest and focus on
      details. See sample training logs below.
      • Do exhibitions during the worse possible times
        to prepare for the worst case scenario in order to toughen up.
      • Every program run-through should have a purpose.
        Come up with 2-3 things you want to improve during each run-through.
    4. Expect
      the unexpected. Practice coping skills. Watch your language.
      • Say, “This is a great day. I am here and I am
      • Laugh while you are scared (watch funny vidoes online). It will make the
        frightened part go away.
    5. Simulate
      a variety of scenarios. “The best draw is the one you drew” (Audrey Weisiger)
      • Have a friend cut your lace (or simulate it)
      • Have your coach skate next to you with a camera
        in your face
      • Have friends boo at you
      • Have friends ring cowbells during your program run-throughs
      • Have friends tell you negative things prior to
        your run-through (“Don’t mess up! You’re going to fall! You’re going to fail!”)
    6. Get
      inspired and be inspirational. Who are your role models? Are you the person
      that somebody would aspire to be like?
      • Watch your own videos and find elements you want
        to copy
      • Watch videos of others to get inspired
    7. Approach
      competition as if your life depended on a successful outcome, but realize that
      it doesn’t and be grateful for that.

You become what you practice the most.


Other thoughts

Why do we compete?

  • To see if we’re improving. There will always be
    somebody better than you. Don’t worry about the other skaters – control only
    those things that are within your control.
  • Remove the barriers – if a jump combo isn’t
    working, move it or change it
  • Review your video (of previous performances) and
    watch it as if you were critiquing your best friend.

Sample training log



Sally Smith



Long Program LRP (Landed, Rotated, Popped)
















I have been using the training log and listed out all the elements in my program and mark down how I execute it during program run-throughs. I’m aiming for Ls (“landed”) on my most difficult elements and want to keep those as consistent as possible. If I see a  pattern in certain elements (if I am popping or falling on them), then I know it is an area that needs attention.

Hope this has been useful for skaters reading this blog.

Next week: Warmup exercises.


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