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BY LEXI ROHNER There exists virtually no one in this sport

who is not a type A personality. We all deter- mine we will achieve that jump, spin, judging appointment and so on, and fearlessly — or otherwise — chase it. It matters not that the end result fl uctuates daily. In fact, this renews our eff orts. The pursuit is the pleasure, even with the falls, and we remain. When you want something, do you go

for it? Do you set goals? Do you wait for some- thing to happen? Whatever your method, or lack of one, preparing for anything such as a musical performance, a school exam or an athletic pursuit, requires focus. Below is a collection of the top practic-

es adult skaters apply for competition pre- paredness leading up to adult sectionals and U.S. Adult Championships.

GOAL-SETTING Goal-setting can always be a useful tool.

Having measurable, attainable and specifi c goals can assist you in achieving your target. Consider writing them down. “There is a huge power in writing your

goals down,” bestselling New York Times au- thor and personal development speaker Mi- chael Hyatt said. “When you write something down, you are stating your intention and set- ting things in motion.” Pınar Gürel aims for clean programs but

knows that is not always realistic. Kathleen Westmoreland works with a sports psychol- ogist and, in two weeks, noticed a positive change in her practices. Hyatt advises sharing goals selectively. “Share with those who are committed to helping you achieve them,” Hyatt said.

OFF-ICE Many skaters use cross-training, weight

lifting and other cardio activities to maximize their on-ice eff orts. “Rigorous off -ice includes cardio, inter-

vals, weights and plyometrics,” Rachel Firlik said. While this is typical, unusual means also prevail. Sharidan Williams-Sotelo and Julie Gidlow swear by extreme steak training, fi ll- ing up on tasty protein to fuel their skating. Michael Tongko makes sure he glues

more rhinestones on costumes. “The E6000 scent seems to calm me

down during competitions,” Tongko said. “It’s the little things.” “Rest is a crucial part of training,” said

Merry Neitlich, cautioning on not overtrain- ing.

68 MARCH 2017

ON THE ICE A popular way to train close to competi-

tions is tapering off . “Two to three months before compe-

tition, I perform my program every session, increasing to four times weekly,” Joanna Ram- berg said. “Back-to-back double run-throughs begin six weeks prior.” Tapering off usually entails little training

the week before events, allowing the body recovery time. Firlik also does double pro- gram run-throughs, but during the second run, only the jumps and spins missed. “Train the way you perform,” Dranae

Jones said. “I go full throttle every program.” Connie Achtenberg seconds the fre-

quent run-throughs, even pushing through before the 2016 nationals while sick. “I told myself, ‘If I’m still sick or got sick, what would I do?’” Achtenberg said. “Skate because with- drawing isn’t an option.” Zuzka Polishook fi nds programs easi-

er after many run-throughs, adding fi ve to 10 minute gaps between double programs. Marlene Bernstein likes practicing programs fi ve minutes into a session to simulate com- petition. Kara Mackowiak also includes inter- val training. In contrast to tapering off , Aimée Ricca

increases practice time from one to two hours daily, six days weekly. “First stroking, then pro- gram without music, then music,” Ricca said. “Then anything that needs attention, and program again.” Gidlow chooses quality over quantity, leaving her fi rst program if it was clean or near-clean. “It’s more important to leave the ice confi dent and have a real expe- rience to visualize going forward,” Gidlow said.

MENTAL PREP Often skaters point to nerves, confi -

dence and getting in their own way at com- petition. At any age, being prepared mentally is necessary. Find what works for you, or try these suggestions. Follow through with a planned workout,

then concentrate on elements and mental cues. “Stay in the moment and be aware of your calm,” Terryl Allen said. “Closer to events, I do less repetition and hard training, so I don’t beat myself up physically or allow the possibility of injury.” “In the shower, when you go to sleep at

night and whenever you have a moment to just close your eyes, visualize,” Ann Orsolini said. “Just not when you’re driving!” Dranae Jones recommends walking

Pinar Gürel

through your steps everywhere. Skaters have been seen in retail establishments plotting footwork and practicing lifts, so perhaps this works. Beyond visualizing physical skills, Deir-

dre Russell digs into the character she por- trays. “If I believe my performance is worth sharing, it helps me get past nerves and tech- nical aspects,” Russell said.

HEALTH MANAGEMENT Not to be overlooked, and likely the

most important component of training, is a competitor’s health and well-being. “Off -ice interval cardio, stretching and

good nutrition are a must for me,” Polishook said.

Carlie Sanders knows healthy eating

habits are crucial. “The better you feel, the better you skate,” Sanders said. Michele Lynn adds lots of sleep to that end. Achtenberg agrees with exercise and eat-

ing healthy. “Getting enough sleep and stick- ing to my off -ice strength-training schedule with stretching makes a huge diff erence.” Aviva Cantor takes a diff erent angle with

sleep. “I’m an evening skater and I anticipate morning events, which helps me prepare,” said Cantor, who also trains at the coldest rink in town for conditioning and programs. “If I can skate clean there, I can anywhere.”

Aimée Ricca

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