Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Forward Spin!

Anna had switched cars with her fiancé (and left her skates behind), so she had to coach me from the boards today. Today's lesson:
  • Waltz jump -- Anna wanted me to focus on several areas -- first, I'm checking too hard on the landing position. She wants my arms in less of an "L", instead the left arm out to the side much more. Second, we worked on remembering to bring the arms back on the step forward, something I've been meaning to fix. And third, working on my body position so that I'm not trying so hard to turn. Anna showed me the loop position (backspin position) and explained how I need to work to be able to make that happen in the air -- prep for waltz-loop and eventually the Axel (!). These have definitely improved, though -- more speed and better flow. Still a bit scratchy on the BO edge but the entrance positions (collect, especially) are much better.
  • 5-step Mohawk -- we'd not looked at these in a while. Anna says my rhythm is much better. I need to work, still, on the 3rd step -- Anna says I need more kneebend, keep my back straight, and keeping my weight more in the middle of the blade. I noticed I tend to have some uncontrolled swing on the 2nd and 3rd steps that tends to force me around in a wide swing instead of a narrow "skinny" rotation.
  • Power-3s -- we'd not looked at these in a long time. Anna suggested that I try to be square (looking down the ice) after the 3-turn when coming back to the line; then to remember to (waaaaait for it!) look where I'm going! when doing the back crossovers into the step forward. Anna says the main reason my step forward on the RFO power 3s is so bad is because my BXO is crappy (makes sense, it's the bad side) and thus my hip is blocking me (too far forward) when I want to step forward. More stuff to work on.
  • Spin entrance -- we finished up with these. The windup and back edge are pretty comfortable and solid now, but I'm still tending to wide-step the step forward and getting no push as a result. At one point Anna asked me to just try to skate the FO edge around one of the "pepperoni dots" (the small solid hockey circles that are maybe 18" in diameter). Amazingly enough I was able to do this and enter a forward spin! I must have given Anna the dumbest "what the heck!" look. So we tried it again a couple more times and yep, I can now enter a forward spin from a forward edge. So we went back and tried to see if I could do it from the full setup and no, not quite. Still, I'm so psyched! I've been working on this for months. I looked at her and said, "Does that count?" and she said "I think it does!". YAY! Obviously I need to practice this more. It was slow (not much oomph to work with) but it was there. So now if I can get it from the full entrance of course I'll have a lot more to work with in the way of speed and power.
When we were done, I asked Anna why I'm able to do the forward spin entrance around the pepperoni dot, when I couldn't the last time we'd tried it several months ago. "Because you got better!" she smiled. It was a good feeling!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

XOs, Jumps, Spins

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs & Stroking -- we started off by doing the moves perimeter stroking pattern. Anna was pleased that I've learned from watching the video tape; my extension is better. I'm concentrating on having that "squeezing the butt" feeling. We did 'em CCW and CW both. Then we worked the FXOs both in the Moves pattern and just around in a circle. Anna says they've improved. I'm still tending to drop the back arm (especially CW) and she says I need to have a better "stretch" from the armpit down on the inside side. I'm still tending to shortchange the first push and not get good extension. Still, Anna says I'm getting a real underpush, even CW, so I was pleased.
  • BXOs -- just around in a circle on these. Anna says I still need to pull the inside hip back, and to feel like there's a string between that hip and the opposite shoulder. I still need to get turned into the circle better and look where I'm going, and to point the trailing toe and feel the extension there. Still, Anna says these have also improved.
  • Waltz jump -- from BXOs. We worked mostly on getting the setup better, more distinct and better-formed. So at one point, for example, she had me do the whole setup but just step forward and glide instead of doing the jump. Very tricky! We did make some progress on making the individual parts of the setup more correct and distinct, though.
  • Salchow prep -- so from that we went to working on the prep for the Salchow. First she had me enter from almost the same setup as the waltz jump, but instead of step forward and jump it was step forward and LFO3. Then we went on to work on it just from a standing start and LFO3. I'm so trained to check my 3s that I'm finding it hard to give it the minimal check (and face forward) that the Salchow needs. Then we worked on doing the 3, holding the edge straight and then doing the curve-the-edge, bring the hands together and jump. It's coming closer I think. At one point Anna suggested that I needed to be standing taller before the jump so I'd have somewhere to bend the knee from to start deepening the edge. She said I could either bend in the 3 and then rise (rise and square) and then bend again, or have a soft knee in the 3 and then bend from there after. I tried it and it looks like the soft knee is more my speed.
  • Backspin -- we went on to look at my (in-?)famous backspin (from a two-foot spin), since we didn't get to it last week. After one bad one, I managed to get the best one I've done yet, easily 2+ revs! Wow! I was so stunned I almost fell, it surprised me so much. Anna reminded me I need to contract my stomach muscles and be firm.
  • Spin entrance -- we finished up with these. I am SOOO close still! Anna gave me some minor corrections, but her final thought was that I needed to be more aggressive and just try to do the spin even if I'm not sure of the exact timing. So I tried it, and was rewarded with a most spectacular (and, fortunately, painless) fall :-). I tried a couple more, and then we were out of time.
It was a long lesson -- Anna gave me about 10 extra minutes. After the lesson I asked Anna a question that came to me a while back -- why is it that you never see skaters entering spins backwards? At first she thought I meant a backspin, but I explained how there doesn't seem to be any reason you couldn't do a forward spin from a backward entrance. She played around with it a bit and was intrigued... maybe it's an upcoming signature move? Who knows? I just want credit :-).

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Another Skating Blog

A shout out to Jocelyn, another adult skater with a blog. She's working on her Novice moves, if I read correctly, so she's a very good skater. Check it out.

I'm not getting to skate much right now. The rink is not open to the public yet, just hockey practice and freestyle ice and coffee club; and it was closed Sat. - Monday anyway due to a gap in their insurance coverage. So I have a lesson tomorrow and I've not skated since last Monday. Sheesh.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rink Update

Another story in today's Star about the rink -- Tucson ice rink will soon be out of deep freeze.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Edges, Waltz-8, Spins

Today was my first lesson since 9/8! I had a pretty good warmup. When Anna got there we talked briefly about the video of my runthrough, then on to our lesson:
  • Edges -- went through all the edges. FO and FI were not bad, although I'm still not tending to 'set' very well on the RFI edge. BO, need to work on keeping the free foot in front at the beginning (still!), being sure to place the new edge perpendicular to the line when changing feet, and not let the free leg swing around too much. On the BI edges I still need to work on getting more over my hip, most especially on the R foot; also need to keep the free leg from wandering out to the side.
  • Waltz-8 -- these are actually rather improved. Anna suggested I make the circle a couple of feet bigger than I had been, which helped. We worked on the rhythm of the move. The step forward (especially from the RBO) is still not clean, so we worked on just skating a circle and doing FI Mohawk, BO step forward; the goal being to keep the free foot close and have a minimum of movement. I finally did manage some real improvement, not just in keeping the foot close but also minimizing scraping on the BO edge just before the step forward.
  • Spins -- we were pretty much done when we decided to spend just a little time on spins. I had done some yesterday and in the warmup, and I was not impressed; but I actually did some decent ones. It seems to be very hard to find that rocker and stay on it in the spin though!
After my lesson I decided to try the waltz jump again since I'd spent all that time de-scratching my BO step-forward; I was rewarded with a really nice jump! Not high or anything, but having the BO edge cleaner made the rhythm of the jump much, much better. Now if I would just remember to look up, and to really push the L foot to have more *oomph*....

It was really great to be working with Anna again. I felt much better about my skating when we were done.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Back In Action

I finally had an opportunity to hit one of the new freestyle sessions today, 3:15 - 4:15. The first 5 or 10 minutes were incredibly scary! After that things improved and by the end of the session I felt reasonably okay about things. My stroking (of all things) seems a bit off. 3s and Mohawks are okay, did my 10 waltz jumps and they were pretty much okay. My spins were pretty off, though. The new ice is really much nicer than the old back ice was -- smooth and not as brittle.

I've been sick for several days so I wasn't surprised that I got tired easily, but it was still disturbing. I felt cold the whole time, which makes me wonder if I have lost my acclimatization. Oh well!

Friday, October 14, 2005

New Skating Blog

Check out Mandi's Figure Skating Blog. Mandi is an adult skater in Houston, TX.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rink Update

I know folks have been waiting for an update on this... so here goes! I talked to our club president at Regionals on Saturday and she informed me that the owners of the rink have the back sheet up again, so we have ice time as of last Monday (10/10). Not a lot -- 2 hrs of FS a day -- but hey, that's infinitely more than we had! The FS sessions are for anyone, not just club members, but they'll have to sign a waiver and abide by the usual FS session rules.

Ironically I've not had any time to go! I did talk with Anna and schedule a lesson for Monday though. Unfortunately I will probably have to drop back to one lesson a week due to increased cost of ice time (no annual pass and no refund in sight as of yet). I need to balance my practice time appropriately; it's looking for the immediate future that I'll probably only have 2 or 3 hours of ice time per week, so 2 lessons looks a bit like overkill to me. I'm sad :-(.

It's not clear when the rink will be open for business for public sessions but I expect it will be soon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I was up in Phoenix (well, Scottsdale actually) on Saturday for the regional championship. I got there in time to watch the Juvenile final round and saw Katlynn McNab take first place! Way to go Katlynn! There was some tough competition in that group, let me tell you. Katlynn's skate wasn't perfect but clearly it was good enough.

Unfortunately I didn't get to see any of the Tucson skaters competing; most of them were on Sunday. I did hear that Dimitri Makansi took 6th in Juv. Boys -- way to go Dima!!

Finally, I stayed late on Saturday to watch the Senior Ladies freeskate since I'd never seen one up close and personal. It was good to watch. Amber Corwin was there, along with Danielle Kahle and a bunch of ladies I'd never heard of. Corwin looked good in the warmup but had a very disappointing skate -- I felt bad for her. Kahle had a couple of falls but wow! What a great skater she is. I really enjoyed watching her.

I finally got home around 10, so a very very long day (left the house at 6 a.m.!). I was wiped out.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Rink Update

Good news! The Arizona Daily Star reports that our rink may re-open soon. Yay!