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Author Topic: Why enter a competition?  (Read 760 times)

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Offline Newicemom2016

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Why enter a competition?
« on: January 29, 2017, 10:14:50 AM »
My daughter has been skating now for 7 months.  She is 8.  She really loves it!  She is doing much better participating in the group lessons, as she has focus issues.  I am very happy for her, she is commited and loves what she is doing.  She skates 3 times a week.  I do not have high pressure demands or expectations, I just want her to be happy and be involved in a activity.  Her coach wants her to go to the upcoming learn to skate competition, she would be competing in Freestyle 1.  Do competitions help a child or hurt them?  The coach said he does not like to hold his students back because it gets harder as they get more advanced.  I do not want her to quit skating because she "lost".  Is it better to wait until she is more mature?

Offline LunarSkater

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2017, 10:58:00 AM »
Is your child comfortable in front of an audience? Competitions (and shows) are a method to have a kid become accustomed to performing (talking, etc.) in front of a crowd focused on her. It's a good life skill to have. If you don't want her focusing on the competition aspects, you can very much downplay them. Put it as experience skating using all your skills together. It's a performance. Many different ways to frame it - just as there are many different reasons why people skate. It's all in how you think your daughter will handle the change of environment.

Competition, however, is also a good skill to have because it can and eventually will teach your child that they will not come in first every time they enter. Sportsmanship. The 'get up' again factor: not giving up just because something didn't go their way. It just might not be something you focus on as she starts competing until she gets comfortable. The comfort is important - if she wants to continue skating, skills in how to handle the environment and pressure are important. (And if you do decide that having a competitive aspect to her skating is okay, please don't do what one set of parents from my rink did at the last competition to their six-year-old: lie about her winning when the result sheets - and her medal - clearly stated she came in third.)

Really, it's all about the mental aspects whether competitions help or hurt a child. Age doesn't really matter; I've seen kids as young as three in LTS competitions. If the parents don't focus on the competitive aspects and instead choose to use it as a learning ground and someplace to have fun with other skaters, it's a far different situation created for the skater. Sit down with your daughter's coach and set out guidelines for the competition and focus on what is best for her: is she competitive by nature or should she be doing this more to learn how to perform in front of an audience, etc. Do what is best for your daughter's mindset. Build a relationship with her coach. It makes all the difference in the world to have a united team behind her for current and future skating goals.

Offline DressmakingMomma

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2017, 01:00:45 PM »
It is really interesting to see how your child responds to competition. Our DD (age 13) is shy and was born a tomboy. We weren't sure how much she was going to enjoy a competition, but she wanted to give it a try. We were shocked at her response.

For somebody who 99% of the time wants nothing to do with being in the spotlight, she LOVES competing. She refuses to wear anything girly on any other day, yet her costumes are feminine and the more crystals the better. She gets completely anxiety ridden over having to speak in front of people, yet she shines on the ice when all eyes are on her. She is also fiercely competitive with herself, and while she doesn't like the idea of any of the other skaters feeling bad, she goes out there to win. We have had some difficult moments, but they have been learning experiences about pushing yourself to work hard, and exhibiting grace even when you are disappointed. She once told me that when she steps on the ice, all the things that are hard for her disappear and she feels free.

Most basic skills competitions are grouped with small flights so that even a bottom placement is 5th or 6th, your child won't have to deal with coming in at 16th place or something like that. And, most of them have goody bags, or participation trophies (although my kid never fell for that). I think it is very important for kids to experience failure. We talk about how failure isn't a state of being but rather a moment in time. And that it is okay to feel frustrated and angry - let that be a motivating factor for working harder next time. I come from the belief that failure is a natural part of success and kids need to learn how to work through it to be able to achieve greatness.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2017, 02:24:21 PM »
Does SHE want to do it?  If yes, then it will probably make her a better skater and help her learn to focus under pressure.  If she doesn't feel ready to do it, it could just be a negative experience (especially if she doesn't place well).

Offline Newicemom2016

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2017, 08:16:45 PM »
Thank you.  Great points.  She really wants too.  I guess, I will let her try it under the condition that no meltdowns are allowed if things do not go her way.   :)  To be honest I am not sure where this is going,  we are new to this and what I see around the rink with other kids and parents make me nervous.  I just want her to have balance between life, friends, school, and the activity, it seems like this is a common issue among skaters. 

Offline Newicemom2016

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2017, 08:33:06 PM »
I did have one more question.  She is not very girly or has much finess either.  She refuses to take a dance class, or gymnastics, bale etc  We have tried it all before skating, inspite the fact she is athletic and do anything she wants, everything ended up with a fight to get her there.  That is why we got so excited when she took to something and is the one pushing to go.  Do you think she will realize with time that she needs something else?  Or will just skating be enough for now?  If so for how long?

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2017, 09:00:53 PM »
This is a basic skills competition for little kids. No one in the audience is going to be judgemental. Your daughter will be on the ice for 60 seconds, this isn't the Olympics. Don't worry about it.

Yes I'm in with the 90's. I have a skating blog. http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/

Offline Newicemom2016

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2017, 09:10:04 PM »
I am not worried about it like that.  I am worried about her and her meltdowns and how she behaves after. 

Offline amy1984

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2017, 09:28:08 AM »
If she wants to go, I don't see the harm.  At that age and level, it's as much about the social/fun aspect as anything - seeing skating friends, everyone getting into dresses and their hair done, etc.  At least, that's what I remember from when I was a kid :)  I was also a kid who was pretty competitive and though I didn't melt down skating, I'm sure my parents worried about it lol.  But the environment doesn't really encourage it.  It's all happy and they are in small groups so no one comes in 26th or anything.  Sometimes they don't post beyond 1, 2, 3, so you don't know if you came in last.  And they usually hand out goody bags - that's the one lasting memory from competing as a kid! One of my friends had a meltdown at sectionals when she came in dead last and I'm sure she's still embarrassed about it as an adult :/ But this isn't the sort of environment you'll find yourself in at a basic skills competition.  It's all about having fun.

You mentioned that you see some 'interesting' stuff at the rink.  I'm guessing overly involved parents, overly competitive kids and parents, lots of $$ spent, that sort of thing.  You'll find your tribe.  We're out there.  We're just a lot more quiet, lol.  Not everyone is a crazy skating mom or whatever and as long as you avoid that crowd you'll find a few mom's you can sit with in the stands and chat with.

Anyways, long story short, I'd just stress with her that you're going to have fun.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2017, 06:42:17 PM »
Do you think she will realize with time that she needs something else?  Or will just skating be enough for now?  If so for how long?

If you want her to have balance in her life, adding a second sport would not add balance.  There is plenty of sport and creativity in figure skating to keep anyone busy.

To return to your original question, I don't think there is any reason to compete except to enjoy competing.  Don't compete because she likes to skate; you don't get to skate much during a competition, and they cost a lot (especially at higher levels...)  Ice shows and tests can be a more cost-effective way to participate in the sport.  Personally, I've skated seven years and I have only done one competition.  I mostly just like the practices.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2017, 06:50:24 PM »
She is not very girly

You do realise there are a several adult male skaters on this forum?  Men also do gymnastics and ballet.

Online twinskaters

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2017, 12:18:42 PM »
My girls started competing at age 8 and I really found it only did good things for them. Having a program to work on helps them focus on new skills in a much more palatable way than just doing them over and over again, and it is fun picking music, dress, and all the other creative decisions that go into competition.

My girls are both very competitive and can tend to focus on the negative--who got what honor at school they felt they deserved, etc. I was worried how they would react to not winning every competition (because they are perfectly competent but not skating prodigies by any stretch of the imagination). But I think doing competitions and sometimes winning, sometimes coming in last has been good for giving them some level of "immunity" to both the highs and the lows. Perspective, really. And the basic skills competition groups are small, as others have said, so you don't have the pain of being last of a huge group. Often they give medals for 1st to 4th, and sometimes that's the entire group. But at our state games last year, both my kids came in last of 8 in their respective groups, and I was really impressed with their attitude about it, which was "well we're going to work hard, come back and kick butt next year!" No tears.

I do have to add to all of the above that competing was entirely my kids' idea. It's been on their radar since they were 4 and saw their friend do a competition at the Snowplow Sam level. And it's amazing to me to watch them when they get out there on that ice. Neither of them is tremendously outgoing in "real life" and neither is a super-strong skater, but they both hit the ice and really perform! Smiles, energy, and a level of enthusiasm that really makes my heart swell. If your daughter wants to do it, I bet you will have a similar heart-swelling experience!

Offline Query

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2017, 01:34:44 AM »
Watching kids playing around in various contexts, inside and outside the rink, has made me wonder why kids compete.

Most kids compete with each other almost all the time. They compete at teasing each other. They are constantly racing each other, mock fighting or tickling each other, etc. - even the ones who always loose want to do it, which seems illogical - though in many cases it seems like a form of socializing.

I was absolutely astonished when a couple of my co-volunteer instructors in a figure skating LTS program brought pool noodles and foam pucks, to play mock hockey. The kids really went for it, to the extent of being a bit too boisterous. I think it brought out their competitive spirit, whereas traditional LTS lessons de-emphasize that. Also that it gave them a way to relate to each other, that traditionally taught LTS lessons also de-emphasizes.

You see it in kittens too. They love to play-fight, even the ones that habitually lose.

I'm not sure why. There may be something innate to human (and animal) behaviour, that makes most people seek to compete. Somehow even the ones at the bottom of the totem pole need to know where they are in the pecking order.

OK, that doesn't address the o.p.'s question, though it suggests that losing needn't kill the desire to play.

An interesting question is how this changes for adults. I.E., are adults more likely to quit competing at things at which they usually lose? I confess I have that tendency.

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2017, 08:05:15 PM »
Since you say she wants to do the competition, I think you should sign her up for it!  Although I didn't start skating until I was an adult and I never really wanted to compete, I started competing because I realized it would make me a better skater.  And it has.  You never find out what you're capable of doing until you have to perform under pressure and give it all you've got, and I would never have learned what I was capable of if I hadn't challenged myself by competing.

Here are some the other benefits:
1.  She will learn how to focus under pressure.  Public speaking and test-taking will be NOTHING after a few years competing in figure skating!
2.  She will learn perseverance and discipline (and part of this is how to learn from a disappointing result and use that to improve)
3.  She will learn to be graceful (eventually) because she'll see that the skaters who can do the jumps and spins AND move gracefully get higher scores from the judges.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes! :)

Offline Newicemom2016

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2017, 12:41:50 PM »
Well, she did a practice run in her costume at our own rink and she nailed her program.  She was very excited because the attention was all on her, and people clapped for her. Lol ;D.  It was probably the best I have ever seen her skate.  She got like 14 revolutions out of her 1 foot spin, and the most she has done before was 8.  So the pressure of people wAtching did not phase her, it fueled the fire, which really surprised me.  At the competition some how she skated the wrong way, started at a spot that she never practiced before, and completely reversed the order of the elements in her program.  She got 1st out of 6.  Her coach was very surprised and did not understand why she did it that way, and thought she should have done much better.  He said it was messy and where she was skating did not make sense but that all her elements looked good. Lol

Offline Newicemom2016

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2017, 04:00:42 PM »
Anyhow this is all new to us, and I just want her to have fun, and stick with something.  It happened to be skating.  This time it went her way, but I am well aware that as she learns more and her skill level is higher, the more slim her chances will get, and the harder it will be.  Experience does count and 7-8 months is nothing compared to the long journey figure skating is.  As time goes by she will be working on the same element for months, if not years.  Hopefully by then she will be more mature and keep trying.  So am I happy that she won, OFCOURSE!  But at the end of the day I am back at square one not knowing what her reaction will be like when she looses. ;D She is so over the top confident and happy!  Her coach already said that in 3 months there will be another competition and he is upping her level so he can up the difficulty of her program and include new more difficult elements.  He said he does not want her to get bored, and  complaincent.  It has not been that much time.  Is this what a "good" coach does?  You are doing something well... Should you not stick with it until next comp season?  Or is her level so low that you learn basic elements, and you move on to the next?

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Why enter a competition?
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2017, 06:46:17 PM »
I wouldn't worry about how she reacts to losing.  If she loves being the center of attention and performing for an audience, it will be totally worth it for her regardless of how she places.  Some skaters don't love performing or being the center of attention, so for them, it's all about how well they skate or how they place.  I am one of those skaters and wish I were like your daughter!
BTW, since her first competition was such a success, she may already be addicted.  Winning your first skating competition is like winning the first time you ever go to Vegas--Even if you lose the next several times, remembering what it felt like to win keeps you coming back, LOL!