Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Circle-8, Spins & Jumps

I skated the 8:15 a.m. FS at Gilbert for my lesson with Holly, as usual.  Today we had Aly, Zoe, Amber, Brenna, Mia (briefly) and a special treat - Viktorya was there also!  Had not skated with her in forever.  Also coaches Emma and Mark as usual.

I warmed up with stroking and some crossovers.

Today's lesson:

  • blade alignment -- I talked with Holly about this and demonstrated that I can now do really nice CW FXOs, now that I'm not fighting the RFO edge.  Nice!  From there we went to...
  • circle-8 -- about the same as Tuesday. It doesn't help that I tend to make the RFO too big the first time, but really, I'm still struggling so I think it's that I just need a better/stronger push.  Yuck.
  • spins -- we worked on the exercise (Holly's really pleased at my progress!) and then from a standing start.  Still struggling to transfer the skills from the exercise to the standing start, but at least I know where I am supposed to be aiming for, which I didn't really before. Holly's cue for the standing start is "down, around, and up".  I'm okay on the down part, but the around is a struggle and when I stand "up" I'm not bringing my free leg in.  Urph.
  • jumps -- we had just 4 minutes or so at the end so we did some waltz jumps (nice, really) and a couple of salchows (ugh).  Mostly making sure the blade alignment will work.
So, the blade alignment seems to work for me so I'll get them back to Kelly at some point and get the permanent screws in.  Yay!

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Back To Basics

My figures lesson with new coach Danette, on the Chandler Ice Café.  I just had a short time to warmup so I scribed some circles and did forward edges.  Nice to see Katy K. at this session!

Today's lesson:

  • back push-off/hold  -- this is the exercise Danette gave me a couple of weeks ago.  Back push off as for a BO edge, hold the edge/flat along the boards and hold arms out along the boards.  The emphasis for this exercise is getting the twist in the upper body and holding the free foot in front; and getting the weight on the middle of the blade.  The RB edge is pretty easy, the LB is a lot harder as I don't normally push like that.
  • back edges -- we briefly ran through the BO and BI edges.  The BO edges are pretty nice, BI not bad.
  • BI push -- we spent some time working on the BI edge pushoff.  Danette drew an L on the ice and had me actually line my feet up along the L to get them closer together.  This was a bit unnerving at first but it improved after a while.
After our lesson I had about 20 minutes to work on other stuff, so I did FO8, FI8, and a waltz-8, then some more work on the exercises.

I had told Danette that I wanted to start off by working on fixing some of my basics, and in particular I mentioned 3s and the back mohawk/step forward.  I'm hopeful that if I can improve these basics that I will finally be able to make the progress I want.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Figures Coach

After some reflection and review, I've decided that Danette will be my new figures coach.

It wasn't an easy decision, and to be honest I don't think I could have gone wrong with either Tammy or Danette.  I think, though, that Danette will be a slightly better fit for me for figures, and so I texted her and told her we're on.  We'll start Thursday.  I saw Tammy at freestyle tonight and told her also, and of course she was gracious as always.  That's the mark of a quality coach!



I skated the Chandler 5:30 p.m. FS as usual tonight. I got my skates back yesterday so I finally got to skate freestyle again after about a week and a half.  Urph.

I was a bit rusty and it took a while to warm up.  I worked on Bronze Moves (yes, all of them).  Alas, getting my right blade moved (the front of the blade)  to the inside didn't magically solve my circle-8 RFO issues. 

After that I worked on spins.  I worked first on the the exercise Holly gave me, then spins from a standing start, then back to the exercise and back to the standing start.  The exercise is getting better -- I'm doing a much better job of keeping my hands up and in.   I got one really good spin from a standing start, the rest not so much; while I am doing better with my hands/arms (transference from the exercise, yay!) I'm having a hard time bringing my free leg in.  Urph.

I spent the last 5 minutes working on crossovers, and discovered that my clockwise FXOs are magically much better!  I do attribute this to the blade movement as I'm not fighting the edge anymore.  Yay!  They were really quite good -- a full cross and hold.  Nice.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Trial Figures Lesson #2 - Tammy

I had my second trial figures lesson today on the Chandler Ice Café, this time with Tammy.

I warmed up pretty much the same as last week -- scribed circles, edges, FO8 and FI8 and a little waltz-8.

Today's lesson:

  •  Background -- We had some discussions about goals and what I've done in the past, competition-wise.
  • FO8 -- a random layout.  Mostly okay but a little burble when I lost sight of center coming back on the R foot.  Like Danette,  Tammy commented that I tend to pass my foot very late.
  • FI8 -- a random layout again; pretty good except I hit some weird rut that slowed me way down so I didn't make it back to center on one of the LFIs - I had to push.  Yuck.
  • waltz-8 -- after a runthrough, we spent some time working on 3s.  Tammy suggested that instead of thinking "down-up-down" I try thinking "down-PRESS-down".  This did help some. 
  • 3s to center -- we did a few of these to explore my 3s.  They were about the same as before.

All in all it was a good lesson.  I'm not sure how to decide on this as both Danette and Tammy are good coaches and I wouldn't go wrong with either one.  It's nice to have options!  But difficult too.

In other news, I haven't skated this week as I am skateless -- I've been concerned about my R blade placement on my freestyle skates and so I gave them to Kelly on Saturday (he was at the competition) and he is going to move the front of the R blade a little to the inside, which should fix the skidding/chattering issue I've had when trying to do my circle-8 on that side.

Also Tammy mentioned that the 5:30 p.m. Tuesday FS is going to go away in the fall as it's been sold for hockey.  WAAAH!!  The one session I could reliably make it to as it was after work AND I am awake.  Oh well.  Also only two Ice Café sessions left before the summer break :-(.

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Friday, May 11, 2018


My lesson with Holly on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert, as usual.  I warmed up with the odd Bronze moves, and then a couple of jumps.

We spent our lesson on spins, again, just the exercise.  The first few were pretty good and then I started dropping my darn arms again instead of keeping them up. AGH.  We finally managed to fix that but it took a while.

I do think this approach will work.  It's going to take a while to train me out of bad habits, I think, but I think we can get there.  Yay!

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trial Figures Lesson #1 - Danette

I skated the Chandler Ice Café today for a trial figures lesson with Coach Danette.  I had about a half hour to warmup so I scribed some circles, did edges and FO8 and FI8.

Today's lesson:

  • FO8 -- we did a random layout.  It was about the same as usual, i.e. not bad, except that I didn't hold the free shoulder back on the last LFO and so I had major issues trying to control the last half of it... but I did.  Danette commented that I tend to pass my arms very late, which is true.
  • FI8 -- also a random layout.  The first set I had some issues because another skater and coach were coming into my path so I aborted. Started over again and they were much better.  Tracings were just okay -- I've certainly done better in the past, but acceptable.
  • waltz-8 -- Danette felt that we really needed to fix the 3s (it's true).  She asked me to start the circle pre-rotated.  It may help a bit, it's hard to say.  We then spent some time working on the BO edge, working to have a better position w/free leg in front.  She took me over to the boards and gave me an exercise to do to help me hold that position better.
  • BO8 -- I didn't want to spend all our time on waltz-8, so we finished with this. Amazingly enough to me, the RBO was really nice (both times I did it!).  Like, really nice!  The LBO was okay flow-wise but I was not tracking the circle well so I couldn't come back to center.

All in all it was a good lesson.  Danette seemed to really enjoy getting back into figures.  Kudos to her for the exercise she gave me.    I'm going to try to have another trial lesson next week and then I'll make a decision (there are only two coaches at Chandler that I'm trialing with for figures).

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018


I skated the 5:30 FS at Chandler for practice as usual.

I was feeling pretty rusty for whatever reason, so my warmup (stroking, crossovers) took longer than usual.  After that I spent about 25 minutes working on spins, both doing the exercise Holly gave me and working from a standing start.  The exercise is getting more comfortable, but it doesn't seem to be transferring to working from a standing start at this point.  I spent the last 5 minutes or so on waltz jumps and salchow.