By: Margaret Amory
Tryouts for the upcoming 2017-18 synchronized skating season are in full swing! Nationally competitive teams from all over the country want to share some tips for tryouts and advice to help you showcase your personal best.
Trying out for a synchronized skating team is all about the “try.” Try to do your personal best. Coaches know synchronized skating is a sport where your performance off the ice impacts your performance on the ice. Therefore, as you try out for a team, know the coaches will be looking at not only your skating skills but also your ability to work as a team member and how you handle feedback. Use these tips to help you glide through tryout season:
Going into a tryout there can be a lot of information running through the mind of an athlete. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to rewind and remember the basics of your skating. Danielle Ostrower, coach of Teams Elite, explained that “basic skating skills at the juvenile level are imperative for success. Things like stroking, progressives, chasses, backward crossovers, etc. are a really good thing to focus on for juvenile and below when heading into a tryout.” Even though Danielle was speaking about her juvenile team, this is applicable to all levels; even senior teams are required to show the power and technique of their stroking and crossovers at tryouts.
Also, teams are looking for a variety of skills. Karen Wiesmeier, coach of Team Del Sol, shared the importance of skaters to “work on all aspects of skating, moves, dance and freestyle.” This will give the coaches a flavor of everything you are capable of and show your versatility as a skater.
Obviously there are lots of different parts of the program to think about when a
synchro team is skating, but the most obvious is for all the skaters to be on time with one another. “We do all of our drills to music, so we want to see that skaters have good rhythm and the ability to skate on beat,” said Jenny DeSimone, a coach of DC Edge. For teams to be able to skate together successfully, all of the skaters should know how to count music and skate on beat. If the opportunity arises, to showcase this skill at tryouts, skaters should demonstrate that they know how to skate on beat. After all, it is synchronized skating.
Whether you are a skater trying out for the team you’ve been on for years, or you are trying out for a brand new team, it is important to make connections. Synchro is all about connections between teammates on and off the ice. Teams Elite “really encourages prospective skaters to make personal connections with current skaters and coaches because at the end of the day, this should be fun! The more comfortable a skater is, the more they will enjoy themselves and the more successful they will be.” Demonstrating you are a team player and are comfortable working with members of the team, may make your skating look more comfortable.
Skaters often have all of the skills, the preparation. and the focus, but sometimes they lack the ability to showcase all of their abilities. A great piece of advice that is often repeated but rarely applied is “to have confidence.” Jenny DeSimone said this is one of the most important things. If skaters work to showcase their skills they may look more prepared and potentially stand out among their peers.
Although, confidence is key to a great tryout, there are other important things to remember. Danielle Ostrower said “I think skaters get caught up in the notion that they have to be ‘perfect’ at a tryout in order to impress coaches or make a team. At Teams Elite we really focus on the potential of a skater, rather than if they are perfect.” Skaters need to know that coaches recognize not everyone is perfect. Sometimes when athletes are in the tryout process, they get a mentality that everyone has to be able to do everything perfectly, but it is okay if you make mistakes. It is how you handle mistakes that the coaches will take notice. Alexis Leahy, a coach of Team Image said, “don’t worry, everyone makes mistakes! If you make a mistake during a tryout, stay calm and pick up where you left off. The way you manage mistakes at a tryout will demonstrate your ability to handle setbacks.”
One of the hardest things to do under pressure, especially if you have made a mistake, is to compose yourself again and refocus. Although, this can be difficult it is important to remember to believe in yourself. You have worked hard to get to where you are. Just breathe and let your skating talk for itself. See you at the rink!