Updated: Dec 30, 2019
Things you'll want to know before heading out to your first (and every other) competition.
Competitions can be very bewildering things. Especially when you aren't familiar with the competition circuit yet, you'll have a lot of questions. This is my usual rundown of things, although every single coach has their own.
I try to send my students' parents an email usually about 3-4 days before the competition, so it doesn't get bogged down in their inbox. In it, I will very clearly highlight the...
# of Competitors:
I then link to the website of the competition venue, give some general directions if I'm familiar with the rink, and give the exact address you'll want to put in your GPS.
When possible, I'll attach a diagram of the rinks as well as a copy of the schedule just in case they want it- keep in mind I (or most coaches, whoever it is) will take care of everything day-of. But everything is different for every single coach. Here's how I usually recommend we do things:
Arrive 1 hour before the scheduled start time with your hair and makeup done, in comfortable/regular clothes.
When you get to the rink, text your coach and let them know and they'll usually come meet you. Check in with the registration desk- they'll ask for your music, and all coaches do that differently. If your coach required you to bring the CD (plus an extra in case), give it to them there. For my students, just tell them your coach has already turned it in. If for any reason I haven't yet, just let them know that I'll be dropping it off soon.
Change into your costume 50 minutes before the event.
With 45 minutes until our event, I will walk you through the space so you are familiar with where everything is- from bathrooms to changing rooms to where to get your medal.
30 minutes before the event we will start doing warm-up exercises- depending on where we do these parents are welcome to come watch, but after they have the costume on, and know where their skates are, you won't need to worry about anything. I'll be with her the whole time.
15 minutes before the event we will get skates on- I'll usually want to do this just so I know they're tied perfectly (not that there is any such thing).
10 minutes before the event we will go into the competitors-only area. Parents then should go to their seats if they haven't already. We will go over what we want to practice on the warm-up.
After our event is over there will be a place to wait for the results- I'll come find the skater's family and we will walk there altogether. It usually takes around 10-20 minutes for the results to be posted- although I've seen it be a little less or much more.
In a bag (either your skating bag or a tote or whatever), you'll want to make sure you have the following:
The costume. Most coaches will do a dress rehearsal about a week before the competition to make sure it's all good- especially if it's a new program with a new costume. Check the costume at that time for anything that needs to be repaired. The night before the competition, steam or iron or however-you-want-to-do-it clean up the costume so it isn't wrinkled. Be careful as a lot of costumes can't be ironed- it will burn the fabric and we will have a nightmare on our hands.
The CD and an extra. I take care of this for my students.
Safety pins, super glue, and an emergency sewing kit in case anything comes undone on the costume.
An extra pair of tights- whatever your outer layer of tights is, whether in the boot or outside, I recommend having another handy just in case.
Hair tools. Brushes, combs, bobby pins, hairspray, extra hair ties, scrunchies, a curling iron, a straightening iron, whatever you use to get the hair the way it is, bring. Just in case we have time to do last minute touch-ups or all of a sudden something comes loose.
Extra laces for the skates. Correct size, in white. I've only dealt with this once in all my years of skating, but it did happen and thank goodness I was prepared.
Water. For 30-45 minutes before the event and after. I do not recommend giving your skater too much water after we've missed the threshold for bathroom breaks. I felt like I had to pee every single competition. So monitoring my water intake helped me to figure out if that was actually true or if I was just nervous.
Snacks. Small things, heavy things, I don't care. Just something in case.
Don't stress over anything that isn't the costume, the music, or the skates. Everything else can be fixed (and most of those can be fixed, too). Remember it's about the fun of the competition- getting to showcase all the things your skater has been working on and seeing tangible results of their hard work.