Whether moving up from Juvenile to Novice or from Junior to Senior, transitioning to a new level in synchro is an exciting opportunity – but it can also be a bit nerve-wracking! Moving up to a new level gives you the opportunity to take your existing skills and kick them up a notch. You’ll get to challenge yourself while having new opportunities, learning new things, and building new relationships!
We asked the OneTeamMVMT Community to share their advice and helpful tips to make the transition to a new level easier. Here are some top tips shared by members of our community:
1. Go in with an open mind. A new level and new team might require learning a completely new skating style and lots of new skills and elements. Try to be a sponge and soak it all up, and give yourself grace if you don’t get something on the first try.
2. Find a mentor (like a veteran on your team, or former skater from the team) that you can connect with. Not only can they help you develop your technical skills, but they can also help to give you insights on the dynamics and nuances of your new team. This can help you be a more positive contributor as a teammate, and can also help you balance the demands of your outside life (like school and work) with skating.
3. Ask questions to the more experienced skaters on your team! Skaters who have been on the team for multiple seasons are very knowledgeable about their team, their level, and the history of the team which may dictate current expectations, mindsets, and routines. They can also help you with struggles you may be facing, as a new member on the team. If you get the opportunity to ask questions prior to the start of the season, it can help prepare you before you step on the ice.
4. Embrace the feedback you’re given. It can feel discouraging if it seems as though you are receiving a lot of corrections, but these are tools to help you develop. Your coaches want to see you succeed!
5. Ask a teammate to go to extra ice with you, to practice new elements and skills. If you can’t get extra ice time, consider what you can do off the ice to better prepare you for the next time you take the ice.
6. Spend the “off-season” getting prepared for your upcoming season at a new level. You may need more physical strength for new elements, more power to keep up with the speed of your teammates, more flexibility to reach the higher level positions, or more stamina to get through longer programs. Work on your weakness to help prepare you for the challenges ahead.
7. Watch videos of the team or level that you are transitioning to. This can give you a feel for the style of the team, and what you should be working on in order to blend in with your new team. You may also want to work on the step sequences from your team’s no hold element last season, as many teams will use the same series of turns year after year.
8. Enjoy the experience and the learning opportunities that come with joining a new level or team! It is awesome to feel the accomplishment of years of training paying off. Take a minute to reflect on how far you have come, and remember to have fun and enjoy the new experience.
9. Remind yourself that you are on the team for a reason. Transitioning to a new level can be hard, but you were put on the team for a purpose and your coaches believe in you!
BONUS TIP: If you are reading this because you are planning on moving to a new level next season, make sure you communicate to your current coach what your plans are. Your current coach can help get you ready for the next level throughout your current season, but only if they know that is your goal! Good luck!