2020 Regionals!

A week ago, I competed at the 2020 South Atlantic Regional Challenge at the Junior level, and it was really fun! I usually can’t say that because I usually don’t feel the happiest all the time coming back from competitions.

I place third, but honestly the placement itself is not what I was content about. I was just very happy that I was able to execute one of my main goals - a clean short program. For years, I’ve always been competing at a level where my competitors were doing jumps far more difficult than mine. I barely was able to keep up, and I would have to do harder jumps I know that weren’t consistent enough to be competitive with my competitors. Everytime I skated my program, I would fall somewhere or pop a jump, and it really gave me a bad mindset I think. Even though my goal was always to skate clean, or just skate with no catastrophic mistakes, I never really thought I could achieve that. When I worked on a jump for weeks, even months without progress, it was extremely frustrating, and I didn’t really know what to do except continue to throw myself into that jump, hoping some new technique comes out of it. The no progress may have come from continuous height growth throughout middle and high school, or it may have been me just not having the true motivation and focus to make progress on these difficult triple jumps.

This year, however, was different. I honestly think the difference is Instagram. Before I started using Instagram, the only place I saw my competitors were once a year at Regionals. I would see the vast improvements they’ve made every year, and it always just felt like they just “powered up,” like when Mario eats a red mushroom. But after I started using Instagram, I discovered that my competitors’ journeys. Throughout the past year, I’ve seen one of my competitors go through the process of starting to work on a triple axel, the ups and downs of not landing it, and finally owning the jump. Every time I opened my phone to find him on his skating journey, it gave me an inherent motivation to keep pushing myself to the limits. Before, it felt like the competition was the only thing we competitors were competing in, but now it feels more like a marathon throughout the year to see who can push themselves to the greatest height by the time qualifying competitions start.

So this year, I did push myself. Every session I never felt like I should get off 5 minutes before because I knew my competitors were giving it their all, and I had to, too. I never neglected the jumps that I wanted to land, and I made sure the jumps I put in my program were consistent. Every run through was intentional and had a goal. When I finally saw the results of this new training at Regionals, it was the most rewarding feeling I’ve felt in my skating career.