Skating Competitions Are Stressful:
Figure skating competitions are not only stressful for the skaters, but also for the parents. Sometimes, the emotional and financial stress related to a skating competition can make parents forget basic principles of good sportsmanship. This article is meant to give parents of skaters an idea on how to behave at figure skating competitions.
Try To Be Friendly and Supportive:
Every parent would like to see his or her own children win at figure skating competitions. The natural way to behave may be to only care about their own children, but parents of figure skaters should try to be friendly and supportive to other skaters and their families. Take the time to greet other skaters and their parents. Praise other skaters.
Care About Other Skaters and Their Families:
Figure skating parents know that a tremendous amount of hard work, time, and money has gone into every skater's training. At figure skating competitions, it's easy to only focus on one's own needs. Parents of skaters should try to take the attention off of themselves and their own children for at least a moment, and focus on others in some small way. If a skater or another family needs encouragement, attention, or support, be there for them. If a skater skates well, compliment and congratulate the skater and the skater's family.
Introduce Yourself During Practice Sessions:
Most skating competitions have practice sessions before the actual competition events. During the practice sessions, parents of competitors sit in the stands and watch their children practice. These practice sessions times can be tense for skating competitors and their parents, but can also be a time to "break the ice." Introduce yourself to other parents during the practice ice time. The parents of other skaters may be nervous and tense. Becoming friends with the parents of your child's competitors may not be easy, but being somewhat friendly can make every competition a bit easier.
Examples of Bad Parent Behavior at a Figure Skating Competition:
Listed below are two examples of poor behavior by skating parents at figure skating competitions. These are real situations and are common in the skating world. Both are also examples of poor sportsmanship. Parents of figure skaters should make sure that they never act like the parents in the examples below.
- Two mothers of a pair skating team approach the mother of a female pair skating competitor and introduce themselves before an unofficial practice session. Instead of smiling and responding gracefully, the mother of the young girl is unfriendly and hints that her child is more experienced and better than their children. She makes it clear in her response that she has no interest in meeting or getting to know the mothers of her daughter's competitors. She makes them feel she is in another "league" and getting to know them or their children is not worth her while.
- A skater gets injured during a competition on a warm up practice session. The parent of the injured child gasps in horror. The parents in the stands that witness the accident don't show any concern at all. In fact, they seem to act as if they are glad to see a fellow competitor who may be a threat to their child out of the competition due to injury.