1. Compete With Yourself and You're Always a Winner
Sure you're in a competition, sure you're ranked against other skaters. That's what competitive sport is about. But that's not all it's about, and there are some bigger learnings to be had when you see your competitors as individual skaters trying to improve themselves, and apply the same logic to yourself. Those skaters who grow the most and who consistently improve over the course of a season aren't in it with the only objective of picking up the trophy. They're in it to get better, to advance through the testing ladder, and become better performers. Go in to each event with a personal goal other than a specific place finish, and whether you achieve it or not, you'll learn something about yourself as a skater (and maybe even as a person).
2. Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously
We all know at least one. That skater who gets intensely in-the-zone prior to the comp. That skater who would give Derek Zoolander a run for his money when it comes to self-absorption. Everything is a drama, everything has potentially disastrous consequences, and it's not cool. These guys and girls can remind us to stay ourselves, even during competition. Skating isn't just about winning, it's an outlet for your personality and will invariably stay with you (or your child) for quite a while if you stick at it for any length of time. You might not think it now, but how you act and react in these moments can shape the person you are, so be mindful to steer yourself in a direction that reflects qualities you look for in others. Hold yourself accountable, and keep your two (booted) feet firmly on the ground ice.
3. Be Graceful
In defeat, but also in victory. No one likes a show off. I've been on quite a few podiums in my time with the first place finisher holding the trophy literally over their heads for the photos. News flash guys, this isn't Wimbledon. Or the FA cup final. Stay humble, accept your end result with grace, and you'll not only build yourself a good reputation, you'll make those around you feel great too. And that's important.
A lot of my American readers have commented to me that there really is no down-time in their calendars any more, and that between testing, comps, boot camps, and training, the summer is now just as crazy at the Sept-May period. What's your experience of this? Do you and your family take skating vacation, or are you on a year-round schedule? I'd love to hear about it, so let us know in a comment.
Until next time, happy skating!