This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.
Monday, April 18, 2011
The top-level men skaters (much more than the women) exhibit a certain nonchalance in their practice sessions. A fair amount of this is due to the greater security in their relative positions, due to the general paucity of male skaters overall. They don't feel the pressure to always be "on" to impress people. Or to put it differently, their competitive bent is more driven by a desire to be kick-ass-best rather than a wish to "impress." They are more inwardly competitive than outwardly competitive.
Also their informality is partly a show of independence: a desire to break free from the artificial nature of imposed "show timings" and space allocations that can happen in the practice sessions.
A side effect of this is that men are much more focused on visualization and individual move skills, rather than program continuity. Mostly this is because -- having a man's brain -- they know without a doubt that they can assemble the pieces together under pressure when the time comes. It's an interesting psychological difference between the sexes that reflects directly in the practice of the sport.
After chatting about this a bit with my daughter we realized an unintended residual affect: in actual competition most men's programs tend to be weak at the end. This is due to the men failing to establish enough stamina, since they don't continually skate their programs all the way through during the practice sessions.