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I’m now a Silver skater! Phew!

Every time I test or compete, in the lead-up to skating I ask myself why I do this and what it brings me when it makes me feel so nervous and stressed out. But then I do the thing, and even if I don’t pass or do well, I usually feel fine the second I finish, even exhilarated. I tell myself consolingly that I don’t have to test or compete at all, that skating for its own sake is plenty rewarding, but then the thought of not testing or competing bums me out. So I continue to do it!

Preparation for this test was a little rushed, because my new coach and I have only been working together two months and the program is very new. But because of the timing of the tests offered, we decided somewhat last-minute that it would be better to test early rather than wait till late January, and we put together a basic program with just the test requirements.

My elements were:

  • Solo loop jump
  • Solo Lutz
  • Solo flip
  • Sequence: Waltz-half loop-salchow-toe
  • Combo: Salchow-toe loop
  • Camel spin
  • Spin combo: camel-sit
  • Spiral sequence

I don’t have video, sadly. Every time I test I think about asking someone to video me, but at the last minute I get so nervous that it feels like knowing I’m on video would add too much anxiety and I opt not to do it. And then afterward I wish I’d gotten it. Ah, well!

I generally felt prepared going into the test — I actually cut short my last few practices, because I felt like I had everything where they needed to be, and I didn’t want to overthink things. My camel spin has been behaving lately, and I’ve been getting the feel for it, and my jumps felt comfortable. As long as I didn’t blank out or get too nervous, I felt I would be okay.

Of course, nerves are always the big variable. I felt low-level nerves while waiting and my warm-up went fine — a little shaky but calmer by the end of it. It wasn’t until I actually began the program that the extra bit of nerves hit, making me a little jittery. It didn’t derail me in a significant way, but my coach and I agreed that all the jump landings were more skittery than usual. Partly because I didn’t have as much speed as I’m used to, and partly because I think my knees don’t bend when I’m nervous!

The one outright mistake came on the solo camel spin, which didn’t get a good entry (my coach said my entry didn’t get the power it needed in wind-up) and I barely hung on. I think I got a little more than 2 revolutions and was prepared to reskate it. But then I hit my camel-sit spin combo later, so I think that’s why I didn’t get any reskate requests. Everything else was completed, if not as well as I usually do in practice. Gah, nerves! I didn’t use to understand why TV commentators would talk so much about nerves and call skating a mental sport, but now that I skate, IT’S ALL MENTAL.

Judges’ scores and comments (passing average 2.7, passing total 5.4):

  1. Technical Merit: 2.7
    Presentation: 2.7
    Total: 5.4
    Pass
    Nice program! Would like to see you hold your spin positions a bit longer. Would also like to see a bit more speed. Well skated. =)
  2. Technical Merit: 2.7
    Presentation: 2.7
    Total: 5.4
    Pass
    Camel – work for clear exit – stronger. Loop ok. Lutz – work on entry edge. Keep working on knee bend. Keep working on lower sit pos. Some nice elements in presentation.
  3. Technical Merit: 2.7
    Presentation: 2.8
    Total: 5.5
    Pass
    Good. Make sure to hold camel for required revs. Good flow.

So that’s two tests down this year! Which is one test more than I had dared to hope earlier in the year. Just for fun, some stats: It’s been four months since my last test (Gold moves), nearly two years exactly between passing Silver moves and Silver freeskate, and about 3 and a half years between Bronze free and Silver free. I don’t intend to test for a while yet, but I’m thinking Intermediate moves will be ready much sooner (within a year?) than Gold free, which I’m not even going to think about — I’m going to enjoy skating Silver for a while!

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