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Author Topic: What's your pre performance calming routine?  (Read 256 times)

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Offline mnrjpf99

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What's your pre performance calming routine?
« on: April 26, 2017, 06:37:34 AM »
This coming Saturday, I will be doing my first exhibition skate, with one other person. Needless to say, I am very excited but very nervous about it, to say the least. Plus I have Tourettes which doesn't help.
I am just wondering, if and what pre comp or performance, calming routine anyone has, that helps to make life a bit easier? I know Gracie Gold juggles, but that is out for me. Lol

Offline LunarSkater

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2017, 07:31:27 PM »
Keep in mind, my handling of nerves is a work in progress. So take my advice with a grain of salt. What I'm figuring out that might work for me possibly won't help you at all.

For competition, I do not watch the other people in my group that skate before me. I also find the warmest spot near the rink and stay there. Not watching anyone else and staying warm are important considerations. (I was thrilled when I went first in my group in my latest competition. Didn't have time for the nerves to set in and not stress about comparing myself to anyone else.)

For an exhibition/show, I'm generally running around backstage and slightly too busy to get my head twisted around performing in front of people. If I have time to think, nerves.

Now, as for my routine. I have a set piece of music I listen to when I put on my skates. It is not my competition/test/whatever music. In addition - and I realized this in my last competition - that I need to be alone and just let myself breathe. I spent a good portion of the time at the competition not watching the other events, but just wandering. Luckily it was a gorgeous day and the rink was part of a complex that had a long, long sidewalk. I could just let myself be. I was calm and relatively confident going in and subsequently skated the best program I've ever done.

Offline mnrjpf99

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 09:15:00 PM »
I completely agree about not watching others in a comp. I like the idea of listening to non related music before an exhibition. I love classical piano and that does mellow me out. I could always go outside and walk around the big parking lot while listening to music. Of course keeping a good eye out for cars and such. It would suck to have to withdraw, due to getting plowed over by someone. Lol:0) Thanks for the tips. :0)

Offline Loops

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 01:22:09 AM »
Back in the day when I was competing, my coach wouldn't let me watch the other competitors either. But she did have me sit in a quiet place, and visualise doing my program. Ideally, I would visualise a perfect run through, but I often found myself handling falls. Fwiw, those falls didn't happen in my actual performance  :D.

I always get very nervous, and have jelly-legs from the instant I step on the ice. I'd love to find a way to better deal with that, so appreciate this thread!! +GOE for starting it.

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 06:43:13 AM »
I get nervous when I take the ice and assume the starting pose, so I actually practice that, to be sure I can hold it still for a long time.

Once I'm skating, the nervousness goes away and I concentrate on the program. 

I first warm up off-ice and then on-ice.  It doesn't bother me to watch others skate, even my competitors.  Walking around, little hops, leg lifts, waist twists, etc. keep me warm.
When I skated ISI, I used make a mental note of which elements the other skaters did better/worse than my usual performance.  During my skate, I'd try to make those elements perfect.

If I had to wait more than a few minutes, I'd close my eyes and walk through my program in my mind.  When Sony released the Walkman, it was wonderful - didn't have to put my fingers in my ears to block out the arena music, lol.

Although my family wouldn't agree, I'm very calm and determined rink-side as a coach.  I have them warmup off-ice, then take the ice for the event warmup, which we've planned the week before. 

While they wait their turn they walk, stretch, balance and do gentle calestenics.  (Waist twists, toe touches, leg lifts, knee bends)

What's more important is going into the competition or test session prepared.   Extra run-throughs, mastered skills rather than stretch skills, consistent practices and good planning really help exterminate butterflies.  I have my skaters practice their moves in every possible setup, so that when the judge asks them to use the red line with the logo rather than the blue line, they don't get rattled.  My being calm, rink-side, also helps because skaters pick up on nerves.  YMMV with stuff like stress balls or worry stones.  One of my skaters insists that I have to hold her guards while she skates.  If I put them down, she insists that she'll fall, lol.  I humor her and hold ALL my skaters guards while they perform.  It's harmless.

I want my skaters to be able to enjoy their 1:30 in the spotlight, so keeping them calm and composed really helps.

As a side note: I don't emphasize where they place or what medal they receive.  I'm focused on their performance - clean elements, good transitions, smooth skating and dramatics.
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Offline mnrjpf99

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 05:16:52 PM »
I am bad at my off ice routine. I need to stay on track with it again. I do however, find myself balancing on one foot or the other while waiting in line at a store or something.
I often will sit of my sofa with my eyes closed and run through my program in my head. I don't even have to always play music while doing this. I think of where I am supposed to be on the ice at certain points in the music.
I also try and do what Frank Carrol used to tell Gracie Gold. "When practicing your program, imagine that it is the actual performance." I look at the bleachers and "see" all of the people there. I try and skate like each run through is the real deal.
On the other hand, I am trying to learn from the issue that Gracie had; and that's to try and stay out of my head. It doesn't matter what happens, I am there for the experience and to have fun. I am going to try and feed off of the audience and not "let them eat me alive". Lol
I try to take videos of myself doing the program to see what needs more work. Video doesn't lie. Lol
I did discover that doing edges, such as a figure 8's in the center circle mellows me out. Unfortunately, I will have that option before the show. Lol

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 05:20:42 PM »
I have seen adult competitions where a number of competitors from a single club entered. They cheered each other on even though they were competing against each other.

I suspect that would certainly take the edge off of nerves when taking the ice knowing that your fellow club members "have your back". That's great sportsmanship.
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Offline fsk8r

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 02:11:35 PM »
I read once that the adrenaline rush from nerves is the same as the adrenaline rush from excitement.
I found it a profound statement. So I've been known to say to myself, you're not nervous, you're excited.
Since then, I've worked out how to calm the nerves and go very very calm. The only way that this works, is that I have to stay completely in my zone. It's not that I don't want anyone in my zone with me, but you've got to be calm and "normal". Anyone in their psycho competitor mode is not allowed in.
I was competing yesterday. I was completely in my zone and my friends who were putting me on the ice just left me to it. But while alone in the changing room, a woman I know came over all psycho wanting to catch me up on all the gossip from her rink. I wasn't ready for it, so I'm sure she thought I was rude, but I was trying to blank her. I just couldn't help her channel her nerves because I need to just stay calm.
It's taken me YEARS to get to the point where I can find this calm. It still freaks my coach out as she's seen me have many a meltdown. But when I have everything controlled, I can get it right and skate well. 

Offline mnrjpf99

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Re: What's your pre performance calming routine?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 07:02:59 PM »
Very interesting fsk8tr. It makes complete sense though. I did my exhibition skate yesterday and my nerves were not anywhere near as bad as I thought they would be, which is completely surprising, since I have a very hyper mind.
I was able to "stay out of my head" fairly well too. I had a fall in the dress rehearsal about a half hour before. When I did my actual skate, I didn't think about the fall at all. I just concentrated on each element as I did them. I made good eye contact with the audience as well. I just tried to feed off of them, instead of me letting them "eat me alive" in a sense.
Even though It was far from a perfect skate, I didn't beat myself up over it afterwords. I just am choosing to learn from it and make the changes to fix those issues. I had a friend video record my skate and I am glad I did, so I could look at it and see what was good and not so good.
The whole experience was one of the best I have ever had. It was nice hearing the audience clapping and cheering after an element. It kind of gave me that "big time skater" feeling.   :D
Back to training tomorrow and continue to learn the elements for my free program next February 19th. I think I will be a much stronger skater by then. I will OWN it! Thank you everybody for your help. :0)