Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Spins & BI3 Prep

Since I was not feeling well earlier this week, I had rescheduled my Tuesday lesson to today. Today's lesson:
  • Spins -- started out with a two-foot, then went to 1-foot (from 2-foot) and backspin (from 2-foot). These are okay. On the one-foot I need to watch the free leg, I tend to do a "stork" position which throws me off. When I can keep the free leg close it's much better. On the backspin I think I got about 1 rev.; Anna says I need to stand taller and really feel my weight on the ball of the foot. Anna said she didn't want to drill this too much since I won't be doing them this way.
  • Spin entrance (part 1) -- we moved on to looking at the spin entrance, and I did a couple that were just so-so. Anna stopped and we moved on to...
  • FO edges -- Anna had me do a lap or so of alternating FO edges. She was impressed that I'm getting much better kneebend on these. Still, I could do more. She emphasized that I need to really get some outside edge pressure, which actually equates to the "edge bite" feeling I've been working toward on my forward crossovers. Anna said, "I love it when everything ties together!" And of course it's true. So, with that experience, we went back to...
  • Spin entrance (part 2) -- Anna told me I need to get more kneebend on the RBI entrance, press the heel, and hold the free foot closer so it's just a step and not so much like a leap :-). She also had me work to keep the free hip back on the step forward (as I said, like an arrow aimed at the center of the circle). Anna says I am really close on this and that at some point I just need to give it a try. What I'm still lacking though is the "edge grind" on the LFO edge.
  • FI3/back 2-foot turn -- Anna next asked me what I wanted to work on: FO3s, FI3s, or Mohawks, so I said FI3s. Little did I know she meant the dreaded turn/back 2-foot turn combo on the hockey circle. These are definitely improving, though. Anna was very impressed with my RFI3. The LFI3 is still a bit weak. The back 2-foot turns are definitely improving. I managed a really nice one, and Anna asked "what was different about that one?!" and I responded, "I finally bent my freakin' knees!". So there you have it. It's all about the knee bend.
  • BI3 prep -- from there it was on to scary stuff. Anna showed me the entrance to the BI3 (RBI3, in this case) and we worked the entrance several times. Truth be told, it's not actually that scary feeling for some reason or another. Of course, I have a hard time convincing myself to actually look over my shoulder (why the heck IS that?). Anyway, we got some good progress on it, although I didn't actually do one yet. And with that we were out of time.
All in all a pretty good lesson. Anna informed me that the morning freestyles next week will be starting on the hour, not 15 minutes after; so my lesson will be at 7:30 instead of 7:45. *sigh* I'm sure it will be good for me. Now, though, I'm thinking I will just jump out of bed and drive to the rink, and come home afterward and take a shower then. With all that I'd still get to work by 9, so no harm, no foul. Something to think about.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I went to the Wednesday night session, the first time I'd been on the ice since last Friday. Eeep! I really, really hate being off the ice for more than a day or so, I get all dorky and it takes a while to get over it. I worked a bit on crossovers, stroking, and 3s, but mostly took it easy.

One of the coaches said that they've been told there *will* be Wednesday night skating, contrary to what I'd been told and blogged earlier. I hope that's true, it will make my schedule a lot easier to handle.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Summer Ice Schedule

[2nd try; Blogger ate my first attempt!]

No skating for me today, my car was in the shop. The other day the skating club sent out the rink's summer ice schedule:

The South Pole will be resurfaced beginning Monday, April 4. All skating will move to the North Pole for that week of April 4. When completed, all skating will move to the South Pole and the North Pole will be taken down. It will remain down for an extended period of time. Plan on all summer.

The freestyle schedule will be as follows for the month of April and May:

Monday - Friday 6:15-7:15am
A 5:15-6:15 is possible with enough interest. Please speak to Anna if you are interested.

These afternoon sessions will be available through May.
Tuesday 4:40-5:40pm
Thursday 4:40-5:40pm

Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Saturday 6:15-7:15am
7:15-7:45am Power

Sunday 7:20-8:20am

Public Sessions:

Monday-Friday 1:30-4:30pm
Saturday 1:00-4:00pm
Sunday 1:00-4:00pm

Monday-Friday 3:40-5:40pm
Saturday and Sunday 1:00-4:00pm

So... pretty limited. It's sad to see the evening public sessions go away, esp. Wednesday and Thursday. I'm rather surprised Friday and Saturday are going away; I can only assume there's hockey then. This schedule doesn't include the MWF adult session from 12 - 1:20.

As I blogged before my lessons will be Monday and Thursday on the 7:15 a.m. freestyle. So between that and the adult session I'm skating M, W, Th, F. Add the Saturday zoo and hopefully an hour of FS on Sunday and I'm skating 6 days a week. If I can drag my butt out of bed to make the Tuesday 7:15 FS I'll have a clean sweep! I doubt it though, I hate getting up early. Anyway, it's not so bad for me. Unfortunately many people will be negatively affected by the new schedule. Worst off, I expect, will the the kids whose parents will not be able to work this into their schedule -- usually this would be the more beginning kids. *sigh*

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Shout Out To 3Turn

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to another adult skater, 3Turn. Check out her blog, Skating Through Life.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Spin Entrance & Waltz-8

Today's lesson was at 5 p.m. due to Good Friday service. I warmed up on the public ice and then skated the 5 p.m. freestyle session, which was pretty lightly attended.
  • BO edges -- some time reviewing these. Anna said it's time for me to start keeping my free foot in front at the beginning of each lobe. No more getting away with keeping it tucked in! Of course making this change totally threw me and I wasn't happy with how I did them. Sometimes it seems like I never practice these, but I know I spend significant time on them; and I practice them almost every (if not every) time I skate. Sheesh.
  • BI edges -- I'm getting nice extension on the last half of each lobe, but the first half is a bit weak. I'm trying to do better about the rotation in these and also the free foot in front to start and it's still throwing me a bit.
  • Waltz-8 -- as promised Anna introduced me to these. I'd read about them online and worked them a bit. They were not as hard as I was expecting, though of course I can't do them well yet. I was thinking the 3-turn would be the hard part -- ha! It's the least of my troubles. Really, the hardest part seems to be the step-forward; and it's not that it's hard so much as it's hard to do it and keep the circle so that I come back to center again. Sheesh! Still, definitely a practiceable element.
  • Spins -- I had asked Anna if we could come back to these, so we did. I reeled off a reasonable 2-foot spin, so it was on to the one-foot spin; as always from a 2-foot spin (but see next element also). These were okay. Anna says I'm not standing up very straight over my skate; I'm either bringing my shoulders back or my hips forward (she's not sure which it is). We worked on them for a bit with a little improvement.
  • Spin Entrance -- I've been dying to work on this for a while, so I was really happy Anna brought it up. This is the entrance from back crossovers. I still can't quite do this. Anna says I need more push into the step forward, still need to work on keeping free hip/free leg back on the step forward, and really need to bend the knee more on the step forward and get a real "grind" from the FO edge. In general, more aggressiveness. We worked on it for a while and had some progress, I think, but it will require more work still (and perhaps more determination to get that aggressiveness).
Sometimes it's just overwhelming, the number of things I feel I need to work on and it seems my progress is breathtakingly slow. Still, there is progress. I was skating after my lesson and just working on stroking for a bit. Now that I am working on getting better extension, I am also getting more power. It's very cool. I think getting down the ice in 4 strokes is almost within reach. Now, if I could just feel better about those end crossovers...

I sometimes worry that people reading this blog will think that from the way that I present things (the example that came to mind is my occasional heading of "Perseverance") that I am not enjoying myself in all this. Nothing could be further from the truth! Rest assured, dear reader, that while I sometimes get a bit frustrated, and while I'm certainly aware of my failings and imperfections and how much I have still to learn, I am enjoying this like ... well, like nothing else. When I practice 3-turns obsessively, it's in part because the feeling of doing them (especially those occasions when I do them well) is, well, delicious. Okay, so I'm less enthused about practicing crossovers and waltz jumps, but I know if I persevere I'll get to the point with those where I enjoy them more too. I'm actually close on the crossovers -- that edge-bite feeling is very cool. So, be assured that I am having a good time and while I am perhaps a bit obsessed, I'm certainly not torturing myself.

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I attended the adult session today. I'm still feeling a bit off. It's rather annoying. I suppose it will take a while to go away. Still, I did spend some time on edges, stroking and (of course) 3s. I also spent some quality time on crossovers, especially the CW ones. I worked on just doing the crossover and also skating crossed-over. I really hate these things! Still, I am getting a little better at them. I'm working on getting that "edge" feeling more quickly and more consistently. The "edge" feeling is hard to describe; it's basically being able to actually feel the FO edge cutting the ice directly under me. I know part of it is feeling a push that's more on the side of my foot. Anyway, when I can feel that edge I feel much more secure and can actually generate some amount of push. I just need to do it about a gazillion times more...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Today was a bad day. I had a 5-hour meeting at work that ran long, so I got to the rink about 8 minutes before my lesson and still had to change, get my skates on, and warm up. Anna gave me a few extra minutes to warm up, thank God, but even so... *bleah*.

Today's lesson:
  • FO edges -- a little weak. Anna told me to get more blade pressure, that I looked a little wobbly. I felt a little wobbly, not quite warmed up.
  • FI edges -- These were not too bad. Anna reminded me that I need to point the free foot/toe and keep the thighs together.
  • BO edges -- Anna said these are not quite as good as they have been (I agree). Anna says I need to stand taller on the RBO edge and also work on bringing the free leg back straighter.
  • BI edges -- Anna says these look pretty good. She did think that I need to work more on bringing the free leg back straight and keeping the thighs together.
  • Perimeter stroking -- I wasn't happy with this at all. Extension was a little better (Anna reminded me to push from the heel) but the crossovers were just not happening. So we went to...
  • Forward crossovers -- we worked these in the Moves pattern, and then Anna wanted to work them on the circle a bit. She had me practice pushing, gliding in the crossed position, and then uncrossing -- to work on eliminating the toe-push. We worked on the CW ones, then back to the Moves pattern, then worked on the CCW ones and back to the Moves pattern. Anna was pleased with my progress, but I wasn't so sure.
For Friday, Anna says she wants to teach me the Waltz-8. We also agreed that starting 4/4 my lessons will be Mondays and Thursdays at 7:45 a.m.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

3-Turns To The Max

I skated the adult session today, and spent probably 75% of my time working on 3-turns. I was a good boy and spent a lot of time on my weaker turns, i.e. the LFI3 and RFO3. Definitely some small progress. I also spent time on Mohawks and crossovers.

I didn't wear my wrist brace for the first 10 or 15 minutes, which was nice; but then paranoia or common sense returned and I went and put it on. I really don't like wearing such things as I think they encourage me to "skate scared" -- but I have to balance that with practicality. Still, the wrist continues to improve; the main issue now is it's hard to bear weight on it with an open palm.

Lesson tomorrow!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sunday Evening Skate

I skated for about an hour at the Sunday evening family skate. I'm still feeling a bit... off. Skating a little scared, I guess. I hate that! I spent a fair amount of time on 3 turns and Mohawks. Not much exciting to report. I'm just glad I'm working through this now in advance of my lesson Tuesday and not waiting 'til then.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Today was my first time back on the ice since Saturday when I hurt my wrist. Wow, it seemed like a long, long time since I'd skated. I guess that's what happens when you are used to skating almost every day. I wore my wrist brace just in case.

Since I was just getting back I took it fairly easy, working on edges, 3s, Mohawks, stroking and some crossovers. I was able to do some nice FI3s, which made me feel better about things.

Toward the end of the session a few of the regulars pulled out a scribe and drew 3 figure circles and started working them. I'd never had an opportunity to try doing any kind of figures at all, so I worked on just skating one circle on an outside edge. It's harder than it looks! On an LFO I couldn't quite get all the way around the circle; on the RFO I only made it about 3/4 around. It's hard to get a good push for that! The actual following the circle part wasn't too hard, although I tended to get confused between the Moves patterns that I've worked so much and this stuff. All in all it was a lot of fun and definitely a good exercise. I can see how you could learn a lot by working this stuff.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Wrist Update

Just to let y'all know, my wrist seems to be healing nicely. It's still pretty stiff and sore but it's gaining strength and range of motion. I'm thinking I will be off-ice until Friday or so.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Ice Princess

The new Disney movie "Ice Princess" comes out this Friday. US Figure Skating has a 3-part series on the movie, reported by Sarah Ramer:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Master Blog!

This blog has been recognized by Master Blogs as an outstanding blog in the Sports category. Yay!

New Ice Announcement

Polar Ice Tucson announced on their website the stuff I posted on Friday. Here's the blurb:

Polar Ice Entertainment Announces Ice Closure

Polar Ice Tucson will be renovating the South Pole in early April 2005, building new ice and completing other cosmetic changes. Immediately following the repairs and upgrades to the South Pole, the North Pole will be closed until further notice. “The North Pole will be closed for an indefinite amount of time” says Brad Berman Polar Ice Entertainment, President. “The closure of the North Polar allows our staff the opportunity to focus on increasing new business.” Polar Ice Entertainment will also complete extensive repairs to the North Pole prior to it coming back on line. “We are confident that the demand for ice time in Tucson will increase in the near future. At that time we will make the repairs and reopen the North Pole” says Berman. “We are very encouraged by the increased activity this past year in Tucson.”

As the industry leader, Polar Ice Entertainment strives to bring our customers the most modern and friendly ice arenas in the country. When the demand for ice time increases in Tucson, we will re-open the North Pole. We encourage the public to continue to patronize our facility, which will help to build a stronger and more popular entertainment venue.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for all your business and support as we look forward to future expansion of Polar Ice Tucson.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Kwan 2006?

MSNBC's Mark Starr thinks this week's Worlds should be Kwan's swan song. He also thinks the COP is not going to favor Kwan. I actually disagree; I think COP favors the "total package" over the "jump-jump-jump" style, and it plays to MK's strengths. I guess we'll find out soon. Personally, I hope MK goes to the 2006 Olympics and gets the darn gold; but I think she should go regardless. It's not (or shouldn't be) about winning, it's about skating, and she's a great skater.

Saturday Zoo Pro & Con

I've spent some time thinking about my mishap Saturday afternoon. I have been injured twice now at the Saturday public session, once seriously and now once less so. Both times involved collisions with little kids and both involved backward skating. I've also had occasional incidents without injury that didn't necessarily involve backward skating or any action on my part at all.

I'm wondering if I should drop skating at the Zoo entirely. Here's my pro and con for the Zoo:

  • Getting to see people I know and socialize with them. Some of these people I would not see any other time than Saturdays; others I would see elsewhere but not too often. I'm an extrovert and this is one way to get my "people fix" since freestyle sessions are not for socializing.
  • Getting to skate to music I enjoy. There's a DJ on Saturdays and she often indulges me.
  • Skating a crowded session can be good for you in terms of not being afraid to skate around other people or expecting good conditions. In other words, the Zoo can be good because you get used to skate on poor ice and in crowded conditions, which can be handy sometimes. It also can improve one's stops!
  • Risk of injury. Like I said, I've had two mishaps and a number of close calls. Interestingly enough I've never seriously hurt myself (knock wood) when working on ANY element, period.
  • Generally speaking, the Zoo is not productive in terms of quality time on the ice. Indeed, I don't really expect it to be. While I am often able to work "smaller" elements like turns and spins, things like stroking, Russian stroking, crossovers, Moves patterns, etc. are usually out.
I suspect when I tell Anna that I hurt my wrist I'm going to get "the talk." I'm not sure what I think. Should I stop skating the Zoo entirely? Should I go less often or for less time? Should I change my behavior at the Zoo -- for example, have a "no backward skating at all" rule?

It's pretty clear to me that generally the "good" skaters don't bother with public sessions at all; but almost all of them are kids who have ample time during the week to skate.

Anyway, I'll be mulling this over for a bit, and I'd welcome feedback from readers, either by mail or in the comments box (or in person!). Thanks!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

On The Injured List (Me)

I was skating at the public session today. I'd been there about an hour when I had a nasty fall; I don't remember if I was doing a Mohawk or back crossovers or what but there was a small girl lying on the ice and I wound up falling backwards over her. I'm mostly okay but I have what seems to be a nasty sprain to my left wrist. Grr. Elaine (Allison's mom, who is a nurse) was kind enough to look at it for me and she doesn't think it's broken. I don't either since it doesn't hurt nearly enough and there's no apparent break. So it's ice and ibuprofen for me. Bleah! How I managed to not whack my head I don't know but I'm grateful. I seemed to land mostly on the back of my shoulders.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Crossovers, Crossovers, Crossovers

Today's lesson:
  • Chassé -- around and around the circle. Anna made the mistake of telling me the first set were pretty good, so of course I didn't do them as well after that :-(. It figures. The CCW ones are, of course, not bad. The CW ones -- I feel like I'm pulling teeth or something, they are so uncomfortable. My extension is stinky on these.
  • Forward crossovers -- almost the entire lesson (seriously, 20+ minutes) on FXOs. Anna had me going around the circle in the crossed position. Not too bad CCW, but again CW, eeep! From there we went to working the Moves pattern. Once we got to this we spent a good chunk of time working on the transition from circle to circle as it showed up some problems I have in getting adjusted to the new circle and in making a good transition. I really need to start practicing these as obsessively as I do the 3s, but of course it's harder to find the space.
  • Spirals -- we finished up with a couple of spirals on each foot, first straight out then in the Moves pattern (not that I will be testing these). Anna wants me to open the hip just a bit on these, and reminded me to get the free leg fully extended (no bend!). In general they are somewhat improved though, which is all my doing since we've not looked at these in quite some time.
After our lesson Anna mentioned that there will be some changes coming up at the rink. The week of 4/4 they will be taking the front ice down for repairs etc. After they are done with that they will be taking the back ice down "indefinitely." Doesn't sound good to me. Anyway, one of the side effects of only having one ice sheet is that the FS sessions will be somewhat curtailed and we will be having morning sessions. The tentative plan is a 6:15 and 7:15 FS session M-F. This works pretty well for me, and we tentatively agreed we could move my lesson to 7:45 a.m. on any of M, T, or Th to go with my work schedule. It will be interesting to see how things shake out. I am not a morning person (AT ALL!) but this discipline will probably be good for me (and more importantly, probably good for my skating) so I'll try not to whine too much about it.

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Thursday, March 10, 2005


I managed to get to the adult skate today and got in about 70 minutes of skating. It was a good workout! I spent time on most things: edges, crossovers, stroking, 3s, Mohawks, waltz jumps, and some spirals and lunges.

The FI3s are continuing to improve (albeit slowly). I worked on the waltz jump entrance but was too chicken to actually try the jump from the entrance -- grr. On the stroking, I had a mini-breakthrough; if I really think about where my skating knee is, and try to get it over the front of my boot, voila! I can get and hold some nice extension because my weight's in the right place. Simple, I know, but wow, I was much more consistent on my extension with this, even on the right foot. Good stuff! Toward the end of the session I managed a pretty nice LF spiral. Jan said it's improving.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Spins & BXOs

I have been off the ice since Thursday, and it showed in my warmup today before my lesson. Still, one bright spot -- in working on my RFI3 I was able to do a full lobe AND step forward onto an LFI. So that part is coming. Still working the FO3 step forward though...

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- these were pretty stinky. Besides dropping the right side I'm doing weird things with my pull-in. This is still the 2-foot --> 1-foot spin, by the way. I'm tending to rush picking the foot up and not establishing a good spin first. Anna told me she wants me to lay off them entirely for a couple of weeks. Eeep!
  • BXOs and back cross steps -- we spent most of the lesson working these; we started by doing the MIF back crossover pattern. Still pretty scratchy, and Anna says I'm nowhere near a real cross on the weak side (not sooo bad on the good side). We alternated working the BXOs with doing back cross steps around the rink. These are hard! Anna wanted 4 in a row. I tend to lose momentum on them so it's hard to continue. Anna says I need to have softer knees to keep them from scratching and (where have I heard this before! :-)) push the heel more. She wants me to integrate these into my practice patterns.
After the lesson Anna let me know she would be out of town next week, so no lessons then (spring break for UA). She also mentioned in passing that it appears that she will be going straight on to her master's program and that she will be in Tucson "indefinitely." She says she's not fond of Tucson, but I'm really glad she will be around a while. I told her she has to get me through to Adult Silver!

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

On The Injured List (Not Me)

Please send good thoughts and prayers out to my buddy Janice, who broke her ankle Wednesday while working on her waltz jump. Eeep! She says she will be off the ice for 12 weeks and she's in quite a bit of pain :-(.

Competition Day 2

Day 2 of the club's competition was not as hectic as day 1, and was shorter, which helped. Today was artistic programs and also interpretive. The interpretive was very interesting -- it was the first time our club had ever done one, and it was very cool. An interpretive is where the skaters get to hear the music 3 times (in our case) before having to make up a program on the spot. The music got more "abstract," for lack of a better word, the higher the level. The intermediate ladies (highest level we had) were really quite good -- in the winner's case you could swear she'd skated that program for a week or more. Very cool!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Competition Day 1

I have to say, I don't recall being this exhausted in a long, long time.

I spent the day volunteering at our competition, the 6th Annual Tucson Invitational. I was in charge of the score & music runners and spent a good chunk of time running scores and/or music myself along with a bevy of volunteers.

It was a great time, though. After mid-day I got to see more of the competition -- the morning was a blur. In the afternoon and evening my day was brightened by a number of events -- Katlynn McNab got 1st in her spins event and also in the Juvenile Freeskate. My buddies Mariah, Sarah and Kathryn took 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in their Freeskate 4 event. And perhaps sweetest of all, my friend Nicole took 1st in Adult Bronze! This was her first competition ever and I was SO proud of her. She did great!

I also observed that sometimes the best skating isn't the winning skaters, but the perseverance of finishing a program when you haven't skated well. In some ways that is more admirable than a winning skate.

Now I need to rest (a bubble bath sounds amazing right now!) and be at the rink early for Day 2!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Thursday Night Skate

My lesson was over at 6:10ish, so I had dinner at the rink restaurant and relaxed a bit, then skated the 7 p.m. evening session. I stayed 'til about 8:45, so 1.75 hours of skating on top of the 1 hour freestyle for my lesson. The session was relatively lightly attended, especially the first half-hour, and the ice was freshly surfaced and very nice!

I was pretty warmed up and in a good mood. I did spend some time socializing with J-Hawk (a.k.a. Jenny from the Rink :-)) and Bribee :-) and also Hannah, who I'd not seen in quite a while. Hannah spent some time working on my waltz jump with me. I must bring this out in people! (see yesterday's post) Still, some good pointers. Also Jenny was watching my LFI3 and pointed out that I need to bend my knee more. Good stuff!

I spent a little more time working on the waltz jump entrance -- of course I couldn't quite do it again :-(. The pieces are there, I was either lacking nerve due to the people on the session, or tired, or I don't know what. I'm not too worried. I also practiced my 3-turns obsessively; the FI3s are definitely improving. It seems to help if I really think of where I am going with them, i.e. the whole lobe. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well. I worked them on the circle too. All my 3s are coming along, but I probably need to spend more time on the RFO3 since I tend to shortchange that one. I also worked a bunch of other stuff as well. All in all it was a good skate!

It's a good thing it was a good skate, since I will be off the ice for a few days. I won't have a chance to skate tomorrow, and Saturday and Sunday will be the 6th Annual Tucson Invitational Figure Skating Competition that we are hosting, so I will be working that and won't get to skate. And Monday I won't get to skate either due to a conflict. Grrr!

Waltz Jump Entrance

One word description of today's lesson:


Here's what we did:
  • FI3s -- I was working on these before my lesson, so Anna wanted to work on them a bit. They are improving. Anna's main feedback was that I am sometimes leaning back, and also that I need to keep my free foot close after the turn.
  • Bunnyhops - As usual when we are going to work on the waltz jump, we started with bunnyhops. Again, I am tending to lean back sometimes going into these. The second set of 3 that I did was much better, except that I was going across the width of the rink so that when I finished the 3rd I was heading straight for the boards and was a little off-balance so I couldn't stop... so I turned off to the left and had a more-or-less graceful fall. It was pretty funny, actually. No harm, no foul as they say.
  • Waltz jump -- so with that it was on to the waltz jump. These are definitely improving, but Anna is still working on getting me to jump higher not farther. She also wanted a "quicker" jump and said I needed to work more on the first part of the jump (prep and jump) as opposed to the second part (turn and land). Still, it's coming.
  • Waltz jump entrance -- this is the part that made me go Whee! Anna had showed me the entrance a while ago but I'd not practiced it much. The sequence is: 1) CCW back crossovers to two-foot back glide, 2) rotate skinny & extend left foot behind while gliding on RBO on well-bent knee AND looking behind, 3) "collect" free foot and bring trailing hand forward, 4) step forward onto LFO while bringing arms back, 5) jump! Step #1 will eventually modulate to 2-foot glide with L foot behind and R foot ahead, but Anna said for now two-foot side-by-side back glide is fine. Anyway, we worked on this for maybe 10 minutes and after a few runthroughs to try to get the timing right (i.e. everything moving in the right sequence) she had me try it and Voila! I actually did an okay waltz jump from the entrance. I was pretty happy with that. Anna had me do one or two more and then we were out of time.
I was pretty stoked about getting this entrance in, and Anna was pleased that I'd picked it up so quickly.

At one point during the lesson Anna mentioned to me that for my next jump, she's going to skip the toe loop and salchow and go to the loop. I was rather surprised by that but Anna said she thinks it will be easier for me to learn. "Sure!" as I say :-).

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Coach Rita Strikes Again

I attended the evening public session today. It was a lot like a freestyle session, actually, since there were a zillion kids having lessons and working through their programs -- last minute prep for the weekend competition. I spent some time on my back edges, trying to cement the feedback I received yesterday. I was really pleased with the improvements in my BO edges. The BI edges, not so much. Trying to improve the rotation and body position is really throwing me. Still, I'm sure it will get better. I also spent some time working on my 3s and crossovers. I even spent some time working on my inside spread eagle, with a little bit of progress.

I was talking with Coach Rita (:-)) and she asked me what was new, so I showed her the Mohawk/cross step/step forward pattern that Anna had showed me yesterday; and we wound up both practicing it for several minutes. It actually improved a bit to where it was not nearly so awkward (though of course requires improvement). CR's was, of course, much better than mine.

For the last 15 minutes or so of the session, Coach Rita worked with me on the waltz jump some more. Anna was telling me to jump higher, not farther; and CR was basically saying something similar; so we spent some time at the boards working on it. After considerable time at the boards we worked it out on the center ice with some improvement. I don't think there's any real conflict between Anna and Coach Rita's approach so for now I'm enjoying getting additional feedback.

Coach Rita actually might have a future in coaching if she continues to skate. She's really quite patient and encouraging, and has good attention to detail. I told her when she's coaching Olympians she has to tell them I was her first student :-).

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

New Moves

Today's lesson was moved up from 5:30 to 5 p.m. at Anna's request -- one of her new skaters (that she inherited from the coach that left) desperately needed another lesson before this weekend's competition. I can understand how that goes so it was not a big deal to me. Today's lesson:
  • BO edges -- I had wanted to look at these anyway since it had been a while. Anna says they are looking good. Two important corrections -- 1) a reminder to be looking up the line the whole time, and 2) my RBO lobe was always smaller than the LBO lobe. Anna says that's because when I was striking onto the edge I was already on a diagonal instead of being perpendicular to the line. Once I started fixing this it made the RBO lobe much bigger (like the LBO) and also more comfortable and confident. Good stuff!
  • BI edges -- Anna liked the confidence I've developed on these; also I'm getting a nice draw-in of the free foot at the beginning of the lobe and good action with the free leg coming back to the line. However! She pointed out that my rotation at the top of the lobe is very lacking, which makes my BI edges a bit inconsistent. Unfortunately, to fix this I need to start really doing the correct (skinny) rotation. Anna predicted that fixing this would (temporarily) screw up the rest of the action on the BI edges, and she was right. Still, I've got 3 months (well, a little less) to fix these so now is the time!
  • Bauer/inside spread eagle -- Anna got that mischievous look in her eye that inevitably means she wants to teach me something new. "I'm sure you're bored!" she said, to which I in my usual gruff and grumpy tone :-) replied that with only 3 months to go before the test I am hardly bored. Anyway, off we went to learn how to do an inside spread eagle and a Bauer. Anna had me push off on an inside edge (we started with LFI but quickly realized RFI would be better) and just let the free leg trail. That's a weird feeling! Anna emphasized I need to get the weight firmly over the leading foot and then just let the back foot go. We played around with this for a bit without oodles of progress, but Anna said it's a start.
  • FI Mohawk/cross step/step forward -- We finished up by looking at this pattern. It's a bit similar to my "Mohawk pattern from hell," only abbreviated. Basically it's inside Mohawk, then a cross step and and BO Mohawk, theoretically all in one smooth sequence. When I first tried it I was trying to check in between the pieces, but Anna said that's not the idea; it's really just one big turn/curvy thing so that it all flows. She said this is an important/handy/common piece of footwork, and sure enough later on in the freestyle session I saw another skater do exactly that move, so she is right :-). Anyway, I somewhat managed them but of course they'll need more work.
We spent almost 20 of our 30 minutes on the back edges, which was a lot. The new moves are a lot of fun but I'm not feeling too confident about them. After my lesson I had a half hour to skate on the session, which was crowded with people prepping for this weekend's competition.

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Lacing Tips

I came across this article on the Golden Skate Forum -- When the Shoe Doesn't Fit. I've tried a variation on the first tip ("Heel Slippage") with some success but not entirely; I'll have to try this technique.