This week, we dedicate this article to all the Synchro skaters about to compete at the British Championships. Good Luck!
Your daily warm up routine can become a deep and resilient mental and physical preparation that you can rely upon at competition.
The benefits of a good warm up:
Getting in the zone – Whether its training or competition, you must enter the zone and leave all distractions behind. Body and Mind together
- Stress relief – Routine can be comforting.
- On a training day, an off ice warm up allows a skater to tune in to their coming training session, separating this important time from the worries of the outside world.
- When the surroundings change (whether it’s a different rink or being on another continent), having a familiar routine that is so simple to do that it is bullet proof will help control the control-ables, reducing potential stresses in many areas of feelings of readiness to compete, giving a skater the advantage in having their head “on straight” for their event.
It’s ok to Tune Out! – Remove unwanted distractions by hitting the play button on your iPhone and tune into the tracks that accompanied you on your best days of training back home. Set an alarm so you don’t lose track of time to get your skates on.
Copy and Paste – Tried and tested in training – Following a consistent intensity and duration of physical warm up allows the body to be reliable and warmed to your ideal state of “ready for action”. Use it at every training session and every competition.
The Mind really Matters – Building imagery, positive self-talk or performance scripts into your daily routine will make using these mental skills more automatic and natural during competition. If you’ve not had much practice at these skills and would like to know more, we’ll give you an example in a moment. Keep reading and scroll down…
Here are some ideas to build a routine to prepare for training and competition
Equipment – Music player with your fave play list queued up, wear comfy layers or already in your costume it’s up to you, sports bottle (with preferred drink)
Start with walking and joint rotations – wrists, ankles, shoulders, hip circles & figure 8’s (and if you can do the last 2 while walking then well done :D, but next time do them standing still)
Increase movement range – arm circles, knee lifts, adding controlled inward and outward rotation
Dynamic stretches – Not to be confused with bouncing stretches which we avoid to reduce risk of pulling or tearing a muscle.
Jog – use varying directions and rhythms. If you’re part of a team or couple, try doing this in synch with your skating partner/ some of your team mates. This gets a physical and mental rhythm going between you.
Discipline specific elements – jumps and off ice spinner for singles, lifts for dancers, pairs and synchro.
Dry land walk through of your choreography – This is best done with your music, so either plug in your earphones or have a portable mini-speaker (especially useful for couples and teams).
First find a place to stand or sit where you can see the full ice surface, then find the spot where you would start on the ice for your routine. Trace the path you would skate through your routine over the rink remembering which elements happen as your eyes continue along the path of your programme. The better you get at this, the more details you will be able to add to your visualisation. Gradually, you’ll be able to do this as you listen to your music and keep your mental picture and details up to real time speed. (We’ll do a whole article on this another time :D)
A good warm up and performance preparation routine is essential, but keep an open-mind to small deviations that may be unavoidable. Control the control-ables and go with the flow. Each competition is an opportunity to practice and learn about competing.
Approach competition as if your life depended on a successful outcome, BUT, realise that it doesn’t and be grateful for thatAudrey Weisiger, 2 x Olympic Team Coach & Founder and President of Grassroots to Champions