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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

- jitters


Preparing for a competition feels like it's more than half of the battle. Although the day before an event is often entrancing it can still be quite a strain. Worries abound: are my boots presentable? Are my tights spotless? Is my costume copacetic? Do I have all my hair stuff? What time do I warm up tomorrow? How much time should I allow for prep? How long will it take for travel? Is my coach on board?

So many things have to come together and yet these mundanities keep distracting your mind while in the meantime you run through your programs over and over (and over again) in your creative imagination. Checklists are a big help here, if for no other reason than to provide you with some peace of mind (so you can sleep soundly the night before you compete).

Then having set your alarm, be sure you awaken early enough to have a healthy breakfast, do most of your makeup, and then pack (using your checklist!) and hit the road.

The time on the road driving to an event feels like the suspended animation of when Wily Coyote goes over the cliff and spins his feet mid-air before gravity takes effect. This is where high sports psychology takes hold; you do need to be conceiving your events -- quietly running the mental tape loop -- but you want to avoid psyching yourself out. Here's a good link to a Competitive Edge article that details this positive projective thinking.

It helps to have dad put on some nebulous background jazz or easy listening, and to busy yourself with some more of your makeup. Have a bit of small talk or read a magazine or two that you brought along for the drive.

If it's a place that you've never visited before, the worst part of the jitters may happen as you walk into the rink. Maybe the way to force a positive perspective on this is to frame your visit in terms similar to general leisure travel; see for example this post on Whole Living.

Once you're inside the rink everything is magical: sure you still have the heebie-jeebies, but lots of people you know are here and they have stomach butterflies too (or else they've already skated and now have that warming unburdened face of freedom).

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