Figure Skating Lifestyle

    Skating Progression and Controlling Nerves

    In this blog post I thought I would do something a bit different. Which is talk about my skating progression and how I find nerves at a competition.

    I haven’t talked much about my skating here on my blog, and I really wanted to incorporate it more into my writing as it is something I am so passionate about. I first started learning to skate back in 2014 where I was taught the basics and signed off at Skate UK level 2 after a 6 week intense course on a weekday evening. However, since then I warmed to one of the coaches that taught us during them weeks and signed up to one on one lessons with her. I found this benefited me more when learning to skate as you have the coaches undivided attention rather then them having to spread it across a group of 10 people. This made the quality of knowledge and advice you were receiving so much better as they could learn what were your strengths and weaknesses and help you improve on them.

    Three years after this I attended my first in-house artistic competition. As I was new to the performing scene I did not have a prop and just chose to skate to a song I really liked at the time. This was the first rookie mistake, as I was hearing this music over and over again I began to dislike it, and even now I still associate it with my routine. So for this number I chose a pretty dress which I bought off boohoo and tried to focus more on my moves that actually performing. And below is a series of images of my costume for the routine.

    Prior to this, I had taken part in two Christmas shows so going out there in front of a crowd didn’t really faze me too much. And here is the routine that my parents managed to record for me, before I went on we had a warm up where I took a tumble doing my spiral, which in turn made me more tentative on the ice, however I still put myself out there.

    Looking back at this now I can see how much I have improved technically since here. And you will notice it too in the next clip below which was my routine that I did for this year’s competition, only a few weekends ago. Three main differences I spot is that whenever I turned to backwards I had to do outside inside but now I just go straight for it. I also notice that in the first routine I put my foot down in the spin, however in my latest routine it is a bit stronger. And when it comes to the catch-foot I actually grab it in this years routine.

    For this year I chose to do a circus theme, however when I decided this The Greatest Showman wasn’t as popular as I thought, but my I was wrong. My routine was not based on the movie as I hadn’t seen it, I just really liked the concept of being all dressed up in a ring leader costume and skating to a piece of old school Britney Spears music. For my outfit, I used a shirt and black skirt I already had at home, and purchased a red blazer from Asda and the rest of the novelty pieces from Amazon.

    As I had learnt a lot more moves since last year, there were a lot of new features in my routine. This unnerved me a bit, however I knew I could do them. But I think there were two main ones I struggled with on the day. We also had the added pressure of having Vanessa Bauer and Hamish Gaman from Dancing on Ice scoring us, which was a bit nerve racking, but I tried my best to keep that out of my head and focus on my routine. This may of affected me score wise though as I avoided looking at the judging panel and stared off in the distance. Below is my latest routine!

    In a year I can totally see changes in how I skate, however I still seem to lack confidence when I am out there solo. For next years competition I really want to work on controlling my nerves a bit better and trying to perform more rather than worrying about the elements.

    For me, I find that no matter how many times you run through your number in practices. The feelings on the day are so much stronger when it comes to counting down until you hit the ice. Prior to the competition I asked Hamish from DOI for some advice and he told me just to breathe, relax and enjoy the routine. Although, when you are out there by yourself it is easier said than done. However, you can see in the clip above that I took a few deep breathes before I started my routine, which I felt definitely helped when it came to focus.