Competition Preparation – Part 1 (Audrey Weisiger)

World and Olympic coach Audrey Weisiger begins a series of videos on the topic of competition preparation. This series covers a lot of ideas and a wide time frame leading up to the competition under consideration. Audrey recommends starting “at the end” of the process and working backwards. She thinks of the end as a “victorious skate” even though the skater may not actually win the event. She explains what she means by this, where victory is based on reaching personal goals. It happens in cases where skaters come off the ice and are happy with themselves and their performance.

The first step is to visualize everything you can about the “victory.” Skaters can develop a clear picture in their minds, but coaches can also do this exercise to help help them do a better job in preparing their skater. Audrey says, “The most realistic vision of the actual event is what we’re looking for.” She offers a tip to help skaters preparing for very important competitions by looking at photos of the rink and overall building they will be competing at. She continues, “Nobody likes to go into the unknown. So the more you can create a comfort zone for the athlete where they know what to expect and prepare for that, it’s going to help them on that day.”

The next suggestion that Audrey makes is to start at the event date and work backward in the planning process, much like planning a wedding or a party. For most skaters, Audrey recommends planning 6-8 weeks in advance. But for elite athletes it can be helpful to plan literally years in advance, and she tells a story about “saving” special music for the Olympic season.

Next Audrey tells some stories and explains situations that are difficult to plan for in advance, unless they’ve happened to you or someone you know. These stories include issues with skate sharpening, new hair dos, make-up issues, backup costumes, and new skate blades. She also cautions coaches to not assume that even “seasoned” skating parents will always do the right thing leading up to competitions.


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