Strategy

Demystifying the Judging System: Roles, Rules & Report Cards (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second instalment in a three-part series about Demystifying the Judging System. Read Part 1: Roles here.

Part 2: Rules

Overview

Like the other figure skating disciplines, synchronized skating is governed by rules and regulations created by the International Skating Union. The bad news is, there is no one single rule book that contains everything a coach or official needs to know. The good news is, all the documents that make up the rules are available online, for free. It just requires a little effort to find and organize them.

With so many different documents being published at different times during the year, it can be hard to know where to start when you need to look something up. I’m here to help point you in the right direction.  (more…)

Looking back to plan ahead: tips for effective reflection on your season

Though 20 or so of the globe’s best synchronized skating teams are still gearing up to peak at the World Championships in just a few weeks, the 2012-13 competitive season is winding down for most team skaters. Watching my Facebook and Twitter feeds become flooded with try-out notices, I’m prompted to encourage coaches and skaters not to forget to spend some time reflecting on the past season before being carried away by dreams of what lies ahead. Whether your season was successful, dismal, or something in between, taking a hard look at what did and didn’t work over the past several months can help you make smart decisions about how to approach the coming year. (more…)

Incorporate your competition report card into your strategy for success

You’ve practiced. You’ve competed. You’ve gotten a score, maybe a medal, and a report card.

Now what?

Teams often find themselves asking this question after the first competition. There are an infinite number of different strategies a team can use to prepare for the next competition, and a chosen strategy may or may not change after you have a score and report card from two competitions, or three. No official can tell you which approach will lead to guaranteed success, but I do have a few tips to share to help you make the best possible use of your report card. (more…)

November is the month for reality checks and finding balance

Ah, November. In all my years of skating, it didn’t matter which team I was on, who was coaching me, or what category I was competing in–November sucked. The anticipation and excitement of the early part of the season, when everyone was fresh and anything was possible, had been replaced by debilitating stress and total panic. A handful of skaters still didn’t know their steps. The intersection that had once been disguised as “challenging” now revealed its true nature: impossible. Elements were over-rotated one day and under-rotated the next. The program didn’t have an ending. There was at least one injury. The dresses either weren’t ready, didn’t fit, or were hideous.

Memories I hold near and dear to my heart.

The intent of this post is not, however, to reminisce. Rather, it’s to speak to a few key points coaches need to keep in mind during this very important month. An optimist might say November builds a team’s character. A pragmatist knows that choices made in November can have a big impact on the trajectory of the rest of the season, and prepares to make adjustments. (more…)