Monday, April 27, 2009

What to Wear to a Figure Skating Competition

I was reworking Ice Girl’s sock bun at last Saturday’s Basic Skills competition and teaching another mom the basics of the process when a coach I know overheard me.

Coach was judging at the little competition and my hair demonstration seemed to put a quarter in her. She started to talk in a loud voice and wave her arms a lot.

“You should teach a class,” she said.

I had no idea what she was talking about.

“We need to have a seminar for skating moms so that they know how to dress their kids for a skating competition,” Coach said.

Well, she said a lot more and made some comments about coaches who offer no instruction about what the skater should wear or how the skater’s hair should look.

“Neat,” she said. “I just want neat. Neat hair, neat dress, no laces dangling from the skates. I don’t want to be distracted when I judge.”

This makes sense to me, and I’m sure it makes sense to most readers: skaters should dress in a manner that calls attention to the skating, not to tangled hair.

Skating attire/grooming requirements:
Courtesy mostly of Coach (M.R.)

  1. Hair should be neat. A bun is best, but a close second is the ponytail. Don’t leave hair loose and unmanaged.
  2. Figure skating dresses only. Ice dance dresses are not figure skating dresses, Coach said. The extra fabric might look terrific in a spin, but it hides the skater’s leg positions and ticks off Coach when she judges. I’m sure it ticks off other judges, too.
  3. Laces should be tucked in. Boots should be tight, not floppy. Laces shouldn’t drag on the ice. Tuck them into the tights.
  4. Tights in good repair. Over-the-boot, footless, or footed: to a judge, it just doesn’t matter as long as the tights don’t have holes.
  5. Keep the undies hidden. “I don’t want Dora the Explorer underpants peeking out at me from under a skater’s dress,” Coach said. I don’t blame her.
  6. Crystals. I couldn’t help but interrupt Coach’s rant and ask: do crystals matter? She looked at me like maybe I wasn’t the person to teach her fictional new skating mom class. “Crystals?” she said in a shrill voice. “I don’t care about crystals.”
  7. No gloves, no jackets. They’re fine for warm-up, but leave them off the rink when you perform.
  8. Conservative makeup. “It’s not a beauty pageant,” Coach said. “Why are they sending these little girls out with so much eye makeup?” Well, she said a few other things, too, but the gist of this one was: keep makeup conservative and age-appropriate.

Feel free to add your attire/grooming requirements below. If you think Coach and I are off-base, you can write that, too. I might work up the courage to let her know…someday.


Melissa said...

I am new to ice skating with my dauther, but a hair stylist for many years. As as stylist i see skaters go on the ice who spend all this money on coaches and skates and their perfect dress, but their hair is not smooth or clean and is messy. I do not understand either and I would like to offer some advice as a stylist for those who just do not know anythig about hair.

Yes, bun, ponytail or if semi-short hair completely off the face. TOTALLY AGREE! I would want to see the skating and not be distracted. If your hair is a short bob (like my daughters right now) pull the sides up off the face. If you have trouble with a bun and/or your hair is thin and doesn't look good in a bun, go to sally's and get a fake hair piece to look like a full bun for about $10.

Now a few tricks! Step by step!

1. wet hair completely
2. gel (any strong hold will do)
3. comb through
4. Dry completely while brushing off the face and do this right away to avoid having a hard time brushing if the gel dries
5. put up in desired style.
*avoid bumps.. use the end of a come the one that has the long sward looking thing on the end. LOL and slide it in the hair against the head and pull all bumps out! works like magic!
6. spray with good spray (my favorite for updos and good hold without looking wet or dragging down hair is "quick Dry hair spray" by Redkin

Hope i could help at least one mom make her daughter look her best.

Melissa said...

my avoid bumps comment i misspelled a word. I meant to say.
*avoid bumps.. use the end of a COMB the one that has the long sward looking thing on the end.(can't think of the name right now LOL and slide it in the hair against the head and pull all bumps out! works like magic!

RedShamrock said...

Melissa THANK YOU. Despite I.M.'s posting on buns, I am a complete failure at hair. G's hair is just below her shoulders and straight but never looks "neat" like her friends.

Saturday -- yup I will give it a try.

Jozet at Halushki said...

I tend to agree about crystals. The costume shouldn't wear the skater.

I see so many costumes that border on "show girl". The "show" is in the program. I get that some girls want to look glitzy just for fun, but at some point as an audience member I start thinking, "Just what is the costume supposed to be distracting me from?" Not at basic skills level, of course, but...

Peyton Lane said...

Laces tucked in is so important, my coach always stressed that. When I first started skating it was before the days of over the boot tights so we would wrap the loops around the hooks and then tuck the ends in to the boots.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all the wonderful information. I'm a new skate mom and has a question for you.
My daughter has been skating for 8 months and her first ice show is coming up in 3 weeks. She loves to skate and is doing very well. When we singed up for the ice show ( early this year), she was in much lower level. But she has improved so much and so fast in the last 4 months, she has jumped 3 levels. Her teacher placed her in lower level group for ice show because there is no one sign up in her current class. She hated so much that she is in tears after each rehearsal. She has powerful stroke and other kids just can't keep up with her. And they shouldn't have to. Her teacher understand that but unable to do anything about it. I understand that ice show is a group thing and had talked with her many times to slow down, take easy and have fun. She is not having fun. What should I do? Should I make her do it because she signed up for it? or take her out of the show? Thank you of your time.
Another ice mom.

Ice Mom said...

Great idea for a post, Anony. I have some ideas, but I want to bounce them off my unsuspecting friends at the rink. I promise to get back with you soon.

- Ice Mom

Anonymous said...

Advice to anony. I've been a skating mom for 12 years and my daughter has been on both ends of this type of problem. I would definately have your daughter stick with the ice show. If she does not want to be in the ice show next year then that will be a decision you and she will have to decide for next year. However, if she stays with the ice show she may progress quickly enough to have solo or feature in the years to come. If she does not stay with the show then it may be difficult for her to feel comfortable wanting to do the show in years to come.
This is also a learning experiance for her regarding team work. Ice skating can be a very solitary sport and any opportunity for your child to learn team work skills is essential in any sport. It helps to build good sportsmanship and character.
Continue to be encouraging and let her know that when she cooperates with the other skaters you are proud of her. She can also be a role model to skaters that are a lower level. Try to help her to understand the importance of this experience. Children can not always get there way in life and this sport sometimes can create a primadonna attitude. We as parents have to teach our kids that all the kids in the show are important to the show and making it a success.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the anonymous response to the other anonymous re: ice show. It’s very important for children to learn the value of teamwork. It’s equally important for kids to learn to work with teammates who might not be as experienced. Case and point: my daughter was selected to do a duet performance in an ice show with a skater of a very different level. My daughter had solid single jumps that were big and was working on her axel. The other skater was still two-footing the landing on a single salchow. Their speeds were different, and so were their skating styles. She hated it, but I made her stick with it. Why? Because she needed to learn that she shouldn’t quit something just because she thought she was better and she needed to learn that she can always learn something from others. I asked her how she would feel if she was the other skater whose counterpart just quit. She said, “I would feel bad if I was the other skater. She might think I quit because she wasn’t good enough and get upset and think that she isn’t a good skater.” And we talked about how she was that level once and how everyone has to have a chance to learn. We also talked about how she could learn from the other skater, especially because she had to learn to do types of choreography she wasn’t used to. We talked about the value of not being a quitter and what it means to finish something you’ve started. I reminded her that it wasn’t a competition – it was a show where she should have fun and skate for the sake of skating and not focus on who is better. She still hated it, but she learned many valuable lessons. The same thing still applies to my skating. I do synchro and I’m a lot faster of a skater than most of my team. But, I’m not as good at choreography as they are. It’s all about balance and finding learning experiences.

Also, on a side note, I also do what I can to keep my daughter from crying or acting upset in front of other skaters – especially when she’s been working with a group. It’s only happened a few times, and I made it clear that if she didn’t adjust her attitude there would be no TV.

Another good conversation you could have with your daughter (depending on how old she is… this would work probably for a skater who is around 7 or older) would be about setting a good example for less experienced skaters. You could also talk to her about showing the versatility of her skating – being able to slow it down and skate well with a less experienced group also takes a reasonable level of talent.

Good luck!

Alexa said...

Ice Mom, I'm back! :)

My competition is tomorrow and I have one question for you. Ever since I got my skates I have worn boot covers to keep them looking nice and clean. Now for a competition do I unveil my beautiful white skates or do most people wear covers or over the skate tights? Once again, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Advice to Alex,

Taking your boot covers off for competition is up to you. If you want to show off your pretty white skates than don't wear the boot cover tights. If you or your parents are trying to keep your boots looking nice so that they can be resold when you grow out of them, then you may want to wear boot covers and over the boot tights for competition.
Put the boot cover on over the skate then the over the boot tights over the top. It depends on your reason for protecting your boots. Personall, I like the over the boot cover look on the ice better than white boots because it extends the line of the leg and foot. Also ask your coach what they would prefer. My daughters coach prefers white skates for competition "no over the boot tights". The final decision is up to you.
Some more really goo advice is make sure when you are done skating you really dry the sole of your boots and let them air dry really well. Also make sure you have a professional check your waterproofing on the sole of your boots when you get them sharpened. Boot covers trap a lot of moisture on the sole of the boot and this can cause the boot to rot. Rot can cause your blades to loosen on the bottom of your boots. Eventually, you may need to replace the sole of your boot or purchase a new boot, if the rot gets too bad.
I hope this helps and have a fun and fabulous competition. These are just some words of wisdom form a 12 year skating mom vet.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I mispelled Personally and good in my last post.

One more comment for Alex. PLEASE DO NOT WEAR ONLY BOOT COVERS OVER YOUR SKATES FOR COMPETITION! It looks really bad. If you want to wear a cover over your skates wear over the boot tights only. For added protection wear the boot covers then wear over the boot tights to cover the boot cover so it doesn't show.

Ice Mom said...

Great comments, anony! Thanks for helping Alexa!

Alexa - best wishes for your upcoming competition!

Anonymous said...

One of the best gifts you can give your skaters/child is the fact that there will always be the highest skater in a group and a lowest skater in the group. It doesnt matter if its an ice show, group class, summer workshops.Its not ever possible to have 8 or 10 kids all doing the same elements.In a competion, there is always a first place and a last place.
Please teach her that this is a part of life and she will have a much easier time when she is older in this sport.I run into alot of skaters that have never been taught this concept.
Good luck to the skater competing this weekend!!

angel said...

The above was me.... I guess i didnt write my name lol
Ar far as over the boot tights vs white skates, its one of those whatever you like things. When my daughter was younger, we did OTBT as it did make her line longer. Now she is older, she really likes the white skates as Long as they are CLEAN!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ice Mom for acknowledging my comments for Alex. I've been a skating mom for so long you just pick up a lot of knowledge as you go along.

One more comment about OTBT. If you are going to compete or test or do a show performance with OTBT's on, please make sure they do not have holes or snags. Also make sure they are pulled down over the boot and secured so they will not pop off your boot and show the white of your boot. It disturbs the longer line of the leg and is very distracting for the judges and spectators. Hope this helps all skaters.
Remember that when you skate you are putting on a performance and you want to create the best possible image for the spectator to watch, especially for the judges. You want to look your best but not too flashy and not too conservative. Try to also create a character with your costume from the music that you portray. You don't have to look exactly like the character you see in a movie or play but you want your costume to draw the spectator into your performance not distract them or make them want to look away.

Anonymous said...

My daughter recently had her first skating competition. It was also the first skating dress I ever sewed and also the first garment I EVER sewed. Before the competition, I was so stressed, not knowing if my dress would measure up to skating dress "etiquette" . The coach never really made no comment about what kind of dress or the look of the dress I should go for, to go with the music. When it was THE day, the coach said Oh what a nice dress, and from how she said it, I wasn't sure if she was just being nice, or she really meant it...anyhow, the most important is that my daughter really liked it and was proud to say her mom made it, just that made my day. She finished 4th out of 8, for her first time, when she said she would never do any competitions...Then came her first dancing tests (the one at my daughter's skating club). Nervous again about what the "etiquette" was, I asked another parent about some guidance as to what to wear, anything special I should know about. She told me of her first time with dancing tests, and thought that since it was inhouse, her daughter could just wear her practice dress, she found out on the Day of the tests, that no, no, no, this is a big thing like competitions, and all the other girls were all dressed up, cute ponytails and make up as in a competition, her daughter was mad at her mom that she only let her wear her practice dress. So her advice to me was that my daughter could wear the same dress I made for the competition. Don't bother rushing to buy or make a special dress for dancing competition. On the day of the dancing test, I realized that most girls had "dancing" dresses, a bit longer and softer skirt, so it moved well. The competition dress I made, didn't really fit with the dancing dress that most other were wearing... ANyhow, I'll be ready for her next competition and dancing test... So I say yes, the skating clubs should give some guidance as to how to dress your kids for the competition and dancing, or other tests. And when the coach select the music, they should give you some idea as to what kind of dress, and look to go for.

Anonymous said...

What I also find is that at lower levels - for testing or competitions - the vast majority of judges know that this is new for the skaters and for the parents, and there is a lot of leeway given as far as getting things exactly right. They also seem to understand that younger skaters take very little to get them upset (since many are new to competition) and they want to make the competition or test as positive an experience as possible so that the young skater is not overly frustrated. IOW, they want to keep them skating. :-)

As skaters progress, judges seem to look more at the whole package, but by that point, parents and skaters are also learning the ropes and know what is expected.

So, if you're a young skater or new parent, and you're at a beginner level competition or test, know that the judges "get it". Have fun, and don't worry about getting dresses perfect. It will come in time. Just have fun!

Anonymous said...

As far as tights, I love the footie tights. :)

I tend to always, always, always get holes in over-the-boot tights, and happen to notice them right when I step on the ice to perform. The footie tights also take away the problem of me endlessly buying over-the-boot tights.

Hope this helps! :)

Anonymous said...

Commenting on the tights-if you are wearing footless tights, make sure you wear tan (skin colour) socks.You would not believe the stress we have had with this issue!If judges see your socks automatic point deduction.

Cutie said...

I would like to agree to Melissa. Clean and smooth hair is an additional factor for skaters.

rollerskater01 said...

i am a roller skater and in roller skating it is rediciouls we have to wear so much make up that you could probably peel it off many skaters spend $300 to $400 on make up a year and many roller skaters spend $3000.00 on 1 maybe 2 dresses if they are lucky.

Ice Mom said...

Thanks for visiting, rollerskater01, and letting us all know how things work in the rollerskating world.

Ice Mom