Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skating Skills

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson was all about skating skills...

  • edge drills -- JJ had me work on a very basic outside edge drill -- glide forward on a flat, then around a circle.  Each foot, forward and back.  While I certainly can do it, my circles are pretty large.  And backward my position is a bit stinky.  I need to def. work these as it directly attacks one of my weak points (deep edges).
  • cross strokes -- evidently JJ has been talking with Sonya!  These were basically the same as I worked on with Sonya a couple of weeks ago.  Ugh.  Although they have improved a little bit since then.  JJ emphasized that when the feet cross you need to feel you are shifting your weight *forward* which was a bit different for me.  Good stuff.
That's all we had time for, amazingly enough.  I was a bit concerned about this time slot but I managed to get to work on time so I guess it will work.  I would rather have kept the later time slot, but hey, you can't always get what you want.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014


My lesson with JJ on the 2:30 p.m. FS at Gilbert.  Since I was off, and just home from Oregon, we chose this afternoon session.  However with Fiesta Skate starting tomorrow, perhaps not the best choice as it was a little crowded and lots of people running programs.  I was a bit distracted and out of sorts.

After all my whining about my crappy skating, we decided to work on moves. Today's lesson:
  • power-3s -- ugh.    JJ told me something I swear he never had before -- to bring my free foot further across after the BXO so that I could step on a better FO edge.  It really helped.
  • BXOs to landing position -- we worked on getting me to actually (Duh!) turn my head and upper body while holding the landing position.  For some reason while I can manage to turn the body, getting that head to turn is really difficult for me.
  • 5-step mohawk -- the only good thing was that I kept going!  Well, actually the last part was not so bad, but the mohawks are pretty bad.  I don't hold the FI edge, for one thing.  Ugh.
Not sure about my skating schedule in the future as I'm starting a new job Monday.  Ugh.  We'll have to see.  Also the Chandler rink is closed for the summer for renovation, so my only options seem to be Gilbert (15 miles in the opposite direction from work) or perhaps Oceanside.  Hmmm.

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Friday, April 04, 2014


I skated the 7 a.m. FS at Sherwood today.  I got to skate with a number of friends and homies!  That part was awesome :-)

I worked through some of my drills from yesterday -- crossrolls (somewhat better), crossover exercises, slaloms (bleah). Worked on spins a bit but only managed to hold the leg back on the last couple.  Grrr.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Crossovers, Crossrolls, Slaloms And Spins

My lesson with Sonya on the 7 a.m. FS at MountainView.

Today's lesson was mostly on skating skills:
  • crossovers -- Sonya worked through some drills with me -- swizzle pump x2, push and hold the edge; two foot glide and cross the feet (yuck!); and then crossovers.  The CW ones were not too pleasant..
  • crossrolls -- more ugh. Of course she wanted nice crossrolls where you put the free foot down and cross it on the ice.  Yikes.  The goal here in part was to get a nice knee bend and lean and it's not really happening.
  • slaloms -- this was power-pull prep (forward only).  Again I am not bending my knee and ankle enough for this to really work, and my feet are too far apart.  Mmmph.
  • spins -- I think we actually made some progress on these but we bumped into what I'd call my "final" nemesis -- I get about two revs in position and then I bail when I could have held it longer. Aaaah.  We tried for quite some time and I think the best I did was 2.5 revs.  I think the thing is here is not a generalized fear of falling but a more specific fear of falling backward.  Grr.  I really need to find a way around/through/over that or I'm never going to get this.
All in all it was a pretty good lesson, and she left me with things to practice.  Unfortunately with my change of jobs this is probably my last lesson with Sonya for the foreseeable future as my visits to Portland will be rarer and probably only on weekends when Sonya's not teaching.  *sigh*

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014


I skated the Sherwood public for about 45 minutes this afternoon for some practice.  I worked mostly on crossovers, edges and spins.  I could not really get myself to hold that free leg back going into the spin, so they were not as good as in lesson w/Sonya.  Grrr.  On the positive side I did get to see Kayla, Aziza, Kristen and Judy.  Yay!

Edges And Spins

My lesson with Sonya on the morning FS at WSC.

I got to the rink around 7:15 and Sonya finished a lesson with Sierra about 7:45 so she gave me 15 minutes then, and 15 minutes after the 8 a.m. ice cut.  I was on the ice a total of an hour and 15 min.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- more of the same.  I actually made some progress on getting my free leg back on the entrance and also bringing the free leg around... but I cannot quite make myself bring it allll the way in for some reason.  Grrr.  Still I felt we made some good progress.
  • backspin -- we worked on these some more.  It seems like I can either get the arms to open, or get the free leg brought in and snap the hips... but not really both. Grrr.
  • edges -- we spent some time just working on edge drills.  The forward edges were decent but I had a really hard time sitting back on the backward edges, esp. BO -- I tend to be up on my toe (as usual).  It was good to work on these in my FS blades as I usually do this stuff in my patch blades and they are flatter in every sense.
After my lesson I worked some more on spins and enjoyed watching Chloe and Logan working on their new program.  They are a lot of fun to watch.

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Monday, March 31, 2014


I had a lesson with Sonya on the afternoon public at WSC. I got there at 3:30 and had a rather indifferent warmup... I was not very motivated and being on public didn't help.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- Sonya took me back to the beginning and had me skate a tight LFO edge while holding the free leg back and holding good tension in the arms.  Ugh.  I did manage to make some good progress and was bending my knee a lot more than I have in the past.
  • backspin -- we worked on these a couple of different ways, finishing with the LFI-RFI edge entry.  Ugh.  I am starting to have a feel for snapping the hip in a bit but I really am not able to make the free leg  cross over/around , or if I do that I don't remember to let the L arm come around.  Yuck.
  • sitspin -- I think I looked at Sonya like she was crazy when she suggested we look at this (I do that a lot, I suspect).  Anyway we worked on it briefly.  At least she didn't make me try camel!

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I'm in Oregon and had a figures lesson with Kelli on the 6:15 FS at WSC.  It wasn't too crowded and people were pretty tolerant of the old guy working on figures.  Yay!

For today's lesson we worked exclusively (per my request) on the waltz-8.  We focused on holding the exit from the 3 (keeping straight up after the turn) and fixing the body position on the BO edge into the step forward.  Kelli had me really working on keeping the free foot tucked in on the BO edge so that I wouldn't be leaning forward.  We made some good progress on this.  The 3s were a bit better too.  Good progress.

For homegirl sightings, I got to see Madison and also Kris.  Yay!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waltz-8, BO8, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Cafe.  The group lesson was on serpentines, and it brought up a couple of questions that I asked Lynne about later (see below).

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we mostly worked on improving the exit from the 3 so that I don't get forward.  Part of this is because while I have the "down" - "up" I'm lacking the final "down"... which is a persistent problem.  We also looked at the step/push on to the BO edge; trying to get/keep my weight further back on the blade so I can actually step forward from it.
  • BO8 -- just a little time on these.  On the positive side I had good push and flow.  On the negative side... not a lot of control.  My circles were pretty wild and I didn't return to center well.
  • serpentines -- we came back to these.  I asked Lynne about two things I'd seen in the demonstration that were different from what I've been doing.  1) on the first half lobe, she brought her free leg forward smoothly after the push (so it was in front around mid-lobe).  I had been bringing it forward just before the change of edge.  2) the arm position at the beginning of the FI serpentine -- she had her skating arm forward, then switched arms at the FIO change of edge.  I'd done it with the free arm forward and no change of position at the change of edge.  So we experimented with both of these.  The first one did seem to help make the FIO change smoother.  The second was kind of hard to get used to and I'm not sure if I want to do it that way or not.  More work required.
I am going to Oregon next week on vacation and I'm looking forward to working with Coaches Sonya and Kelli :-) and seeing some skating friends!  When I get back the Chandler rink will be closed for renovation.

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Edges; Planning

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert. I had not skated since the previous week (Tuesday) and never really felt warmed up.  Oh well :-(

We didn't have the most productive lesson today.  We spent a fair amount of time discussing/planning our summertime lessons and what I/we need to do to improve my skating.

We did spend some time working on some edge drills.  Nothing fancy, just trying to work on getting that edge to curve more quickly/sharply.  Ugh.

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