Coaching Advice: Pre-Competition Pep Talk (Page Lipe)

International figure skating coach Page Lipe offers insights about what to say and do with a skater in the final moments before they take the ice to compete. This is a follow up to the presentation Page made on choreographing the competition “section” for taking the starting pose. These final moments for a coach are typically spent calming a skater, pumping them up, or getting them to focus. As Page explains, there are a wide variety of ways to do this, and her advice is to thoroughly understand your skater and customize your approach for them as an individual.

In terms of calming a skater, Page suggests breath exercises or tapping or simply creating an awareness of where the skater is holding tension. Some skaters respond to joking and lighthearted fun to stay loose. Some skaters who are very intense and focused on winning may require a very different approach, one where the coach reminds them to be aggressive and make sure they earn all the points they can. Most skaters will respond well to calming words and those that build confidence (“you’ve done this program clean all week”) as well as those that can make the skater feel in control and powerful. As Page notes, it’s typically about creating a empowering “feeling” in just a few words or gestures. Throughout a skater’s development over many years, coaches can create a deep understanding of their athletes and those same athletes will likely get better and better at handling those stressful moments as they gain experience.


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