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Hochstein preps for season at Glacier Falls

California-based skater shares what it's like to be a first-time competitor at this summertime tune-up

Grant Hochstein brings readers the scoop from the Glacier Summer Falls Classic.
Grant Hochstein brings readers the scoop from the Glacier Summer Falls Classic. (Tom Briglia)

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By Grant Hochstein, special to icenetwork.com
(08/03/2012) - Grant Hochstein is a longtime U.S. national and international competitor who most recently placed 12th at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. He is keeping a daily journal at this week's Glacier Falls Summer Classic for icenetwork.com.

Monday, Aug. 6

My free skate didn't go exactly as I had planned. I was kind of bummed out when I finished, but after watching the video, it didn't look quite as bad as I thought. It also gives me some room for improvement as the season goes on. It was, however, the first time I've attempting two triple Axels in my free skate. Overall, though, I was pretty happy with how the competition went. I received my highest short program score and my second highest total score. For August, I think I'm doing all right!

The worst part of the week was probably Saturday night into Sunday morning. I didn't get back from the competition until midnight, didn't fall asleep until 2:00 a.m., and then I had to wake up at 6:00 a.m. for my 7:45 a.m. evaluation. Let's just say I was dragging a little bit that morning! I had a good evaluation and got a lot of really positive feedback and constructive criticism from my panel of officials.

Later on in the day, we had our Team USA Summer Camp at one of the hotels near the rink. It went on from 1:00-5:00 p.m., and we had a bunch of great presentations and learned some new stuff. We talked about new rules, injury prevention, maximizing program potential and a few other things. Afterward, we had our team building activity, which was Jenga. Our team finished first in a tie with another team after removing 23 pieces. When removing a piece, we had to answer a question that identified with the number on the block. This way, we were able to get to know each other a little better since we don't see everyone on a daily basis. It was a lot of pressure to try and keep the game going, and I'm pretty sure my hands were shaking every time it was my turn to remove a piece! Overall, I think the day was pretty successful!

So now it's time to say goodbye so I can head to the rink and get back to training. I hope you've all enjoyed my little Glacier Falls blog, and hopefully I can be blogging again for you all sometime soon!

Until next time,
Grant

Saturday, Aug. 4

Day three here at Glacier Falls! I wanted to write an entry yesterday, but considering I didn't get home until almost 11:00 p.m., that idea was definitely out. So here is my Saturday afternoon update!

The senior men's short program was yesterday, and it was a really exciting event. There are so many strong, competitive men here, so it felt sort of like a mini-nationals. My program went pretty close to how I wanted it to. My triple Axel wasn't perfect, but I felt like the rest of my program was solid. I also earned my highest short program score to date.

The rest of the group also skated strong. Ricky [Dornbush] landed a very impressive quad toe to start his program and continued with an equally strong triple Axel. I wasn't able to watch Jason [Brown] because he skated right before me, but I heard that he skated well and landed a nice triple Lutz-triple toe combination. Keegan [Messing] also delivered a strong program that included a quad attempt and a solid triple Axel. Our long programs are tonight, so keep your fingers crossed for some solid skating!

I wasn't able to watch much of the senior ladies event, and I probably won't get to watch their long programs because they skate before me tonight. I'm sorry that I have nothing to report there!

It's time to get a late lunch and then come back home and relax before my long program. I will probably watch an episode or two of I Love Lucy and then Michelle Kwan's 1998 nationals programs like I usually do before I compete, and then I will head over to the rink.

Until next time!

Thursday, Aug. 2

I'm sitting at home eating dinner getting ready to head over to the rink to watch my friend Alana Walker compete in junior ladies short program group B. I think it helps to get yourself in the competition state of mind and begin adapting yourself to a new environment. Fortunately, the rink is only a 10-minute drive from my house, so I can relax here and not have to get a hotel.

The competition is crazy big this year! I've never done it before, but it's wild that there are 21 senior men, and that it takes three hours to get through the long program event -- that's about the same as U.S. nationals! I think it will be a good test for all of us to see where we are at this point in the season. Since I live so close by, I'm also hoping to be able to watch some of the other events as well.

This morning we started our Team Summer Camp with a wonderful presentation by Dr. Caroline Silby, the famed sports psychologist. There were only a few of us there, so it was cool to be able to get a more personal presentation from her. We did this exercise which was meant to show the power of visualization and the power your brain has. We had a paperclip hanging from a string that we were supposed to hold right in front of ourselves. We were told to think about making the paperclip move from side to side, and magically the paperclip started moving. I guess your brain is able to send signals to your nerves, which in turn creates the motion for you, without us having to move our hand at all.

Next, we were told to do the same thing, but this time with our eyes closed. I was slightly skeptical, but it worked too! We were able to make our paperclips swing side to side, start and stop them, and move them in circles. It was really fascinating and showed the athletes how powerful the mind is and how we can control what it does.

I also had to go get my PPE exam today, which is basically just a physical exam. All the ISP (International Selection Pool) athletes have to do this to show U.S. Figure Skating that we are healthy for our assignments or potential assignments.

All right, well, I am off to the rink, so I will bid you all adieu and hopefully get another entry in tomorrow. Have a good night!