1. Sleep Early Consistently: This one seems like a no brainer but it could actually take a huge toll on your productivity on the ice if you don't have the "CONSISTENTLY" part down. In high school, there was a ton of homework for me to manage while being a full time athlete. Nonetheless, I had to make sure I got at least 6-7 hours of sleep. I would try to be in bed by 9:30-10pm and I would set my alarm for 4:30am. Anytime this schedule was thrown off by sleeping later than 11pm, I would wake up in cranky and unmotivated. My mom would have to come in room a couple times to flash the lights on and off to make sure I was getting a move on. This bad mood is understandable because as athletes, our body are constantly working whether, it be doing a double run through of your program, lifting weights, or running for endurance training. Thus, both the body and mind need all the precious rest and recuperation it can get. If we deprive ourselves of any of this sleep our bodies will fight back with a moody attitude, which will not to reflect well on the ice.
2. Set Up a Night Routine: Setting up a night routine is the best thing that anyone, not solely skaters, can benefit from. Setting aside 30 mins - 1 hour to unwind from a long day at school and practice is so rewarding. One example of my typical night routine includes: showering, lighting candles in my room, reading a book, writing in my journal, and painting my nails. I try to avoid using technology because there is so much stimulation from using our phones that it may still be difficult to fall asleep. The main point of developing a night routine is to allow your mind and body to feel relaxed after putting in work on the ice, the gym, and in the classroom. In high school, my night routine sometimes included a hot bath with Epsom salt to ease my sore muscles and achy back. Set up a routine that works for you so you can take care of your body and mind that work so hard on a daily basis that way you feel refreshed for tomorrow's morning practice!
3. Prepare for School the Night Before: Have you ever woke up one morning before practice and your homework is still on your desk, you can't figure out what you want to wear for school, and oh great... your skating tights have a huge hole on the footed part making your toes stick out? Well, you are definitely not alone. I had plenty of these days that made getting up for morning practice hectic and frustrating. I decided to start preparing for school the night before to alleviate morning stress. I placed all my homework and books in my backpack the night beforehand and left them next to my door so I would never miss it. I also checked the weather for the following day, chose my outfit accordingly, and placed them in a separate bag to change at the rink. This definitely my mornings much easier and less hectic. Click on my video below for some school outfit ideas!
4. Set Up a Fun Alarm: Technology is the best! Back when I skated, I had to rely on that typical old alarm sound that my Hello Kitty digital clock was happy to wake me up with. These days, you can literally select any song in the world to be your wake up call. So why not choose your favorite jam that just makes you want to get up and dance? My personal alarm is Fetty Wap's- My Way... it never gets old and it gets me excited about waking up early all the time. You can always switch it up too depending on your mood.
5. Make a Yummy Breakfast the Night Before: Part of your night routine can also include making a yummy breakfast. Cooking is a very relaxing, fun, and therapeutic activity that you can definitely have fun with. Here’s one of my all time favorite thing to eat for breakfast that’s super easy to whip up and will give you great healthy energy throughout the day! By making your breakfast the night before, you don't have to hectically whip something up before practice. Instead, you can wake up excited to enjoy your creation either before or after practice!
6. Play Fun Music While Getting Ready: My favorite way to wake myself up in the morning is by listening to fun upbeat music. I have a playlist of my favorite songs on Spotify. If you’re interested in the type of music I wake up to you can access my playlist here. Create a morning playlist for yourself to brighten your day while changing, washing your face, and brushing your teeth to make getting up early morning like a party rather than a chore!
7. Create a Warm Up Playlist: Along with creating a playlist for your morning routine, I highly suggest creating a warm up playlist that will get you pumped up and ready for practice. I would put my earphones in once I got into the car to listen on my way to practice. Once I get to the rink, I was already in the zone and prepared for my off-ice warm up!
8. Drink Fruit Infused Water First Thing: Another fun way to make getting up early practice more enjoyable is having fruit infused water ready for you to drink first thing in the morning. I would prepare this water the night before and place it on my nightstand so I can be instantly hydrated the next day. The kick of flavor from the fruit makes it way more tasty than regular water!
SPECIAL NOTE: It can seem very unrealistic to apply all of these 8 tips to your lifestyle especially if you are in high school and you have extra activities, loads of homework, and times where you just want to stay up all night watching Netflix and scrolling through Vine and Instagram stalking your latest crush. Trust me... I know that going to bed at 9:30-10pm can seem nearly impossible!
Ultimately, it is up to you how much effort you want to put into your skating and how much sacrifice you are willing to take in order to make your practices as productive as possible. These are merely my personal tips that I found were helpful to me when I skated, so see what works and doesn't work for you and stick to it to have lasting results. Try some of these tips out for a few weeks and see if you're happier waking up or if your practices have been more effective because of these new habits. Let me know if any of these tips helped you and share ways that I did not mention. I would love to hear from you!
Coach Michelle Hong