Last Friday, Will wrote a guest post called “How to Get the Most out of a Skating Competition.” I used Will’s points to check that my daughter, Christina (Chrissy) got the most out of competing at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy. By following Will’s three points, I believe Chrissy truly came away with the best possible experience given the circumstances.
1. Learn from the placement.
This was Chrissy and Mark’s first time competing in ice dance at Worlds. It was a wonderful experience to be in Turin, Italy, for their first Worlds, but Chrissy and Mark’s placement was not what they had hoped for. Although not as enjoyable as a perfect outcome, this created an intense, ideal learning environment. In his article, Will said:
A disappointing result makes you look at what caused the outcome, therefore motivating you to improve the areas of weakness that hindered your result.
Sure, Chrissy and Mark could have just blamed a bad original dance draw, the lack of a British judge on the judging panel, or that that specific panel was a blend of judges who didn’t reward their strengths like international judges often did. But the most helpful approach was the one advised by Will and reflected in a quote by renowned college football coach Knute Rockne:
Build your weaknesses until they become your strengths.
Chrissy and Mark had a meeting with their coach, Jimmy Young, soon after the competition to review what went well and poorly and to make plans for next season. Chrissy and Mark’s order for the new season will be to turn their weaknesses into strengths so that they will be ready for any judging panel and will hopefully make a leap in their international placements. My husband and I also helped Chrissy brainstorm ideas for making major improvements. Instead of dwelling on placement, Chrissy is excited and motivated at the thought of adding training camps, off-ice coaches, dance classes, and a new approach to each training session.
2. Look at what you did well.
A mistake in the compulsory dance could have ruined the entire competition, creating doubt and more mistakes in the next event. Instead, Chrissy and Mark put the mistake behind them to skate a clean original dance and to enjoy performing in front of an audience who gave them a rousing reception.
Chrissy and Mark placed higher than some teams who were ahead of them in the compulsory dance but were not able to move up overall. Still, they could take pride in skating a strong original dance and will always have a good video for friends and family to enjoy. Chrissy and Mark also can be commended for receiving the same technical levels for their OD elements that Olympic and World champions Virtue and Moir received in their OD. In particular, Chrissy and Mark received level four for their circular step sequence, something very few teams in the world receive.
3. Find something to celebrate.
Just being at the World Championships is something to celebrate. Our whole family finds celebration an important part of the competition experience. Although we can’t attend every international competition, my husband and I both attended the 2010 Worlds to celebrate the specialness of Chrissy participating in her first World Championships. Chrissy’s husband, Tom, also attended Worlds.
The celebration started the first day of practice, which happened to be Chrissy and Mark’s shared birthday. At Chrissy and Mark’s first practice, the ISU played the “Happy Birthday” song and gave Chrissy and Mark Centennial Worlds caps. We then had a mini birthday celebration with Mark, Chrissy, Jimmy, and Tom.
It was easy to find things to celebrate during the week. Chrissy enjoyed checking out Via Roma, the shopping district; we all enjoyed the authentic Italian food (which was as good as I had imagined); and we admired the architecture throughout the week in the beautiful city of Turin. On Saturday, we took a bus tour of the city to gain an overall, historical understanding of Turin.
There were also many skating events to experience, as well as the after-party Saturday night, which Chrissy and Tom attended. On their last day in Italy, Chrissy and Tom found time to visit Turin’s world-famous Egyptian Museum.
So even though the outcome wasn’t what Chrissy and Mark wanted, Worlds was an amazing experience and a dynamic vehicle for growth. As a result of the new focus Chrissy has gained, she will grow as a person and athlete and savor lifelong memories from her first Worlds experience.