I’M SURE IT’LL BE OKAY, RIGHT?
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN.
I’M SURE IT’LL BE OKAY, RIGHT?
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN.
Two weekends ago, I skated at my first competition in two years, which was also my first competition at the Silver level. It was a chance to put the program out there and get feedback before Sectionals (ack! It’s Sectionals week already!), and also my first encounter with IJS scoring.
The competition itself went… okay. I didn’t fall, I got credit for all my elements, I didn’t have a disaster skate. The scoresheet felt fair. It didn’t feel like a good skate, though, and I felt shaky throughout, like I didn’t have my blades in the ice. There were a LOT of ladies in Silver freeskate, and most of them were very strong skaters, so I wasn’t expecting a high placement; it was more about seeing the numbers for the first time and seeing where I stood.
Spins are where I need a lot of work, because my nerves completely wrecked them. My first element was a back camel (CSpB), which I managed to do but not very well, hence all the negative GOEs. The last element in the program is my camel combo spin (camel-sit-back upright) and the biggest source of stress for me; the week leading up to the competition, I lost my camel spin entirely. Aside from being hit or miss on the camel, I was struggling to hit a low enough sit position (shaky camel = no speed into position change). In the competition, the camel got credit but the sit didn’t count so I lost value on that spin (CCoSpBV).
I’m generally okay on my jumps, although I did mess up my 3-jump combination by not adding the third jump. At least I still got credit for the first two jumps in the combo (flip-loop). Unfortunately, both my lutzes got edge calls, and fixing this will be a long-term goal. My coach thinks my lutz is a good jump for me despite the potential edge call, so we’re keeping two lutzes rather than replacing with salchows. We’ve been working on getting on the proper edge, but know that I may get called on it for now.
GOEs. It’s a little shocking to see so many negative numbers everywhere! It’s a bit of a blow to the ego to see that everything you did was deemed poorly done. My loop jump was my strongest element, which got a row of zeroes, and my coach was pretty happy about that. So I think I just have to recalibrate my expectations on GOE — zeroes on everything would be amazing!
PCS. This was where I was most curious to see how I would score. My numbers ranged from 1.50 to 3.00, averaging in the low-mid 2’s. I know you can’t necessarily compare scores from different competitions against each other, but having these numbers gives me a tangible goal for the next time. *freaks out about Sectionals*
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:
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):
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!
My coach explained the importance of spins once hitting Silver, since some competitions start judging with IJS rather than 6.0. And given that I’m unable to land double jumps but could, theoretically, hit a Level 1 or 2 spin, the spins end up being bigger point-getters than jumps, although there are only 2 spins allowed versus 5 jumping passes. But then on the downside, if you don’t quite get a leg high enough or low enough, or hold a position long enough, the dreaded dash of doom could zero out the whole attempt.
So all in all, I’m putting a lot of attention on my spins these days. It’s been a while since I’ve videoed my jumping, but I guess I’m not that excited about my jumps (other than dreaming of an axel someday) — I generally have all my singles now, and they’re dinky adult jumps so there’s definite room for improvement, but somehow it feels like there’s less to work on. Whereas, there’s an endless number of spin variations.
I’ve started working with a new coach, finally! After floating around on my own for a while, basically since my surgery last summer, I started looking earnestly into finding a coach with my eye on getting a new program and competing at Sectionals/Nationals next year. I’ve been working with my new coach about a month, and after discussing my goals and looking at where I am, we decided to shoot for Silver FS, which means putting together a new program and also testing. It suddenly feels like I went from relaxed to strapped for time, with all that’s required to get ready for the season!
The last time I competed was at Sectionals in 2016, about a year and a half ago, and my then-coach had suggested afterward that I stay at Bronze for the next season. I figured she knew better than I did and agreed with her opinion, but then I got injured and had to sit out the next season anyway. When I resumed skating, I focused a lot on edges and moves and feel like my overall skating improved a fair amount, but I wasn’t sure what my new coach would think. I put the question to her and after we went through my jump and spin repertoire, she thought I was ready to try for Silver, so we got right to working on a new program.
If I want to compete at Sectionals in March, I’ll have to pass my Silver FS test by January at the latest. It’s already nearly November, so this doesn’t give me a whole lot of time! It seems possible, but will require a lot of work, so I’m getting into my training mindset to learn things as quickly as possible.
Goals for Silver Freeskate are: