by Katherine Ruch

The start of a new year almost forces you to reflect back on the year you just had as well as prepare for the one that is ahead of you. My year essentially started with breaking in new skates, a daunting yet exciting task! A highlight from 2011 for me was a fall competition where I managed to not let my nerves destroy the experience. It was the first competition I have ever done where I didn’t feel like l fell apart while out on the ice!

Another highlight last year was passing that Silver Moves Test after the sixth try. I had begun to question whether I would ever be able to pass that darn thing! On the other hand, it was frustrating to hurt my hip in December. It got to a point where it hurt me to do usually simple things like stroking and crossovers.

While at the Doctor getting it looked at I did have a funny interaction with the Radiology Tech. He asked me if I hurt my hip doing a Triple Axel and I just about fell on the floor laughing. Even though I said “No, I said I was a skater, I never said I was a good one,” this interaction did get me thinking about how critical I am of myself. Even though I can safely say that I will never skate as well as the people we all get the joy of watching on the television, I shouldn’t let that stop me from being the best skater that I can be! It ended up that the hip injury took nothing but a lot of patience for it to get better but that seems to be the thing that I’m usually lacking!!

If the new year doesn’t get somebody pondering those goals, watching Nationals on the television sure will! As I sat glued to the television all weekend, I did manage to plot out the upcoming season in my head for both myself and my students. Before the end of the year 2012, I have set out to be able to do a Flying Camel, land an Axel, pass the Adult Gold Moves Test and last, but certainly not least, win the ongoing war between me and my nerves!

That being said, I’m planning on going to about three competitions this spring because there is no better way to conquer your fear of competing than to continue to do the very thing that terrifies you! I may even forget to get nervous at those competitions if I lose sleep over whether or not my Gold moves test will be executed with Jesus-like perfection come March! At the end of those days, I hope I can find a way to rest easy in knowing that I did the best I could do and that truly is the most anyone can ask or expect.

One of the things that I love most about coaching is trying to learn what motivates my students, because I have learned as a figure skating instructor that not everyone is looking to get the same thing out of ice skating. If I have learned anything over all these years of skating it is this: each ice skater is on their own path and that is the one to commit to or you risk facing constant disappointment. As a skater, you have to follow your own path, set your own expectations and find your own motivation. There is no one who can do that for you! I’m truly excited to see what this year will hold…

Editor’s Note: Learn more about facing your personal fears in James Smith’s “Fear Itself” blog post.

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