by Megan McDevitt
Pre-season training is an essential part of the synchronized skating season because it builds a foundation for skaters to draw upon later. It is important to train before the competition season so the team feels confident in the individual skills required to get through a competition program. Using practice time before the program is set to work on skating skills, strength, conditioning, and individual elements allows coaches to assess the team’s skills and craft a program to fit the skaters’ talents. It also allows the skaters to improve skills, such as spread eagles, ina bauers, spirals, biellmanns, and twizzles to use later. Pre-season time is the perfect time for skaters to work on individual skills and get into good training and nutrition habits so once the competitive season starts, they are prepared.
Different teams approach pre-season training in different ways. Maddy Martin, from Team Ashburn’s junior team uses some of her individual time during pre-season to focus on reinforcing healthy habits that benefit her long-term health as well as her skating during the season.
“I eat a lot of more fresh vegetables and fruits. I also go running every other day to build up my stamina and spend a lot of time just practicing at the rink,” reports Martin. Eating healthy, working out and practicing are important parts of pre-season training. Building healthy habits in the summer makes it easier to carry them over into the season once life gets more hectic with skating, school and other activities.
Many skaters also use off-season and pre-season training to explore other activities that can help their skating. Hanna Tuomi from Lexettes explained, “this year, I cross-trained by running track during the spring with my school and over the summer in addition to practicing on-ice and keeping up with a HIIT [high intensity interval training] workout plan.” Training off the ice is just as important as training on the ice. Cross-training gives skaters the opportunity to make new friends and get involved in different communities.
Teams themselves use pre-season training to bond and prepare for the competition season. Tuomi and Kathleen Rice from Lexettes express their thoughts on spring training practices in May and June before their July break. Rice said, “in order to prepare for the season, our team has many practices where we work both on and off the ice. On the ice we work a lot with our programs and sometimes have guest choreographers come and help us. In our off-ice times we either have program off-ice, fitness, or ballet.”
Suzannah Boaz and Ceci Picard from Team Ashburn junior also enjoy pre-season training and preparing for the season. Boaz said, “as a team we focus on trying elements that the coaches want to try to incorporate into the program. We also focus a lot on skating skills and step sequences.” But, not all of the training that is part of pre-season has to be dedicated to a new program. Picard said, “my favorite thing about spring training is working on and learning new drills and step sequences that we don’t always have time to do during the season.” This spring and summer many teams worked on step sequences, pivoting blocks, moves elements, and intersections to prepare for required elements for the upcoming season.
Pre-season training is an important part of the season as synchro teams prepare for the competition. Setting good habits, strength and conditioning, learning new skills and drilling old elements are all crucial parts of pre-season training which can all be used during the competition season. Taking the time before the competitive season starts to perfect individual and team skills can make all the difference once the season gets underway. Pre-season training is about to come to an end, and we look forward to the competition season.
Stay tuned for an upcoming Get It Called podcast for more information about the benefits of cross-training for synchronized skaters. If you haven’t heard any of our podcasts yet, check them out in iTunes!