Ice skating competitions can be nerve-racking experiences. They combine so many factors, from precision to style, and your personal statement shows in everything right down to the costume you wear when you skate out onto the ice. You can easily spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars every year on your skating costumes because they are so labor-intensive to make and they must be fitted so precisely to give the right lines to your body.
A mistake that many young skaters make, however, is not bothering to invest in the proper ice skating practice clothes. Early on they may purchase a few good quality pieces if they are on a junior team or are just beginning their lessons and there is a “dress code” that they must adhere to; but as time goes on they begin to throw on “just any old thing,” when they are practicing on their own time. This is a mistake for a number of reasons, and each of them can and will affect their performance in the ring.
- You should always wear form-fitting ice skating clothing when you are practicing because your coach can’t really see your form or observe your body alignment under baggy clothing. That sweat suit that’s fine for basketball won’t cut it on the ice – the curve of the arm, the way your buttocks are tucked, everything is crucial and the only way someone observing you can correct you is to really see your body.
- Even when nobody is observing you, it’s easier to “feel” your own body’s alignment when you aren’t hindered by layers of bulk. Not only is it cumbersome to move with bulky clothing twisting around your joints, it’s dangerous. If you become tangled in your clothing while ice skating you can take a serious spill, taking you out of any competitions for quite a while.
- Form-fitting doesn’t mean tight or constricting. Forget those old cast-offs from someone else that are just a wee bit too small. If you can’t move freely in them and they don’t have enough give for you to move combined with enough stretch to spring back, they aren’t meant for ice skating. Be sure to check the labels – breathable materials like cotton or Polartec fleece are great at wicking away moisture, but between 5% and 10% Spandex or Lycra are necessary for the stretch and forgiveness needed.
- Dressing appropriately for practice will help you maintain the right attitude. It’s a fact – if you dress sloppy, you act sloppy. Neat, attractive practice clothes help you perform better simply because you feel more professional and polished. It’s exactly why so many coaches have practice dress codes (just like offices have dress codes for their professionals).
The best part of all this is that ice skating practice clothes these days are attractive, comfortable and have all the features to optimize your performance. Boot-cut skating pants with side stripes to elongate the legs, stretch camis for layering and shrugs in fashionable colors with beadwork so pretty they can go from the ice to a night out are all available for reasonable prices. Practice skirts in fun fabrics like zippy flowered patterns and bold polka-dots make a statement and give you the chance to get the feel of wearing a dress on the ice without wearing a full-on costume every day. So if you’re really serious about your ice skating – make the investment to dress the part every day.