As we dive into the peak of synchro season with international and qualifying competitions, the act of preparing oneself to compete both mentally and physically is becoming more and more relevant to our training. Competition preparation can be key to the quality of a performance, but is often easier said than done. As athletes, our bodies need to be in the best shape possible, but it is also expected of us to be completely focused on our team and the competition, no matter what happens outside of the “competition bubble.” Competition preparation is essential not only in the days leading up to a competition, but also in the weeks beforehand as well.
The 2015 Colonial Classic was held at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, MA
Competition time can get really hectic with turning in assignments for school, fitting in those last few hours of training, packing everything you need, and remembering to take care of your body. Balancing schoolwork and skating can be challenging which is why completing schoolwork beforehand is a key component to focused concentration during competition. In the weeks leading up to a competition, I’ve learned to get ahead by turning in large assignments beforehand, eliminating the impulse to worry about completing an important essay or studying for a test during the competition. With this approach, I can alternate my focus between schoolwork and the competition.
Although it may not always appear as the top priority, I’ve learned that sleep is, hands down, the most important part of taking care of your body in preparation for a competition. Training can be both mentally and physically grueling, and sleep gives your muscles and mind a chance to restore themselves and recover. In the past, I have gone to some competitions averaging 6 hours of sleep per night, and others averaging 8 hours of sleep per night. The difference that just two hours can make in both performance quality and my own enjoyment of the competition is huge!
Haydenettes competing our short program to James Bond at the Colonial Classic
Taking care of your body also means paying attention to nutrition and hydration. This past weekend at the 2015 Colonial Classic, we had what’s become our classic last meal before getting ready to compete: sandwiches. I love this choice because it incorporates whole grains, vegetables, and protein, keeping us full without feeling like the food is just sitting in our stomachs while we skate.
A big part of competition preparation is just being prepared for anything. Rink conditions can be completely different from practice to competition. Last week we were practicing at the Rodman Arena wearing 4 jackets and earmuffs and then the next day we competed at the Tsongas Center for Colonial Classic where we were sweating and it was very dry. Hydration definitely played a big role this weekend to combat these conditions.
In the locker room after the freeskate with DREAMmate
Ashley Tomich and DREAM alum Tessa Hedges.
At the end of the day, it is the attitude that ultimately determines the quality of a performance. No matter what obstacle is thrown your way, a focused and determined attitude can get you through almost anything! Good luck to all teams in their qualifying and international competitions, and GO USA!!