Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, June 30, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I managed to get to the evening public session at Valley tonight. It was pretty quite, about 5 people including a couple of girls (I'd guess pre-juv or juv) who stayed for about an hour or so. One of them had a pretty nice double-toe.

I worked on a bunch of stuff, but felt a bit aimless. I did make some progress on my waltz-8, especially in discovering that my real problem with the left foot one is that when I do the step forward and try to rotate my arms to help me come in to center, I tend to be blocking myself. If I can unblock and rotate skinny, I can make it back to the center pretty nicely, otherwise as usual I have a huuuuge 3rd step.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Trial Lesson With Stacy

I had my trial lesson with Stacy at the afternoon public session at Valley today:
  • stroking -- I guess every trial lesson I'll ever have will start with stroking. She suggested that I needed to get down in my knees a little more to get more power, and to work on my extension and posture. Still she said in general it's pretty good.
  • FXOs -- we worked for some time on these. Stacy critiqued my underpush (or lack thereof) and we worked on that. I think this is the most time I've ever spent working just on the underpush and it was very helpful. As usual, the amount of power I can generate on these when I work at it surprises (and scares) me.
  • FO3s -- we actually spent quite a bit of time on these, trying to improve my check and keep the upper body quiet; made some good progress.
I really liked Stacy's attention to detail. She didn't just fluff over some of the common problems in my skating (like, no underpush on FXOs or weak check on 3s) and was willing to spend real time on them. She's also very positive and encouraging, and she worried that she pushed me too much (I reassured her she didn't). I did have a little trouble at times understanding her but not enough to be a concern.

I was concerned about her availability for lesson on morning freestyle, but she seemed to indicate that we might be able to work something out on that. I told her I have several other coaches to work with before I make up my mind, and I'll get back to her.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Coach Search, Again

So I'm looking for a coach, again. I've set up a trial lesson with the new coach at Valley, Stacy, for this Saturday (during a public, ugh). She sounds promising except that her availability looks like it may be an issue. I don't know why I can't get time with a coach at a morning freestyle!

I've also set up a trial lesson with a coach at Shiny Rink, Krissy, who was recommended to me. Due to scheduling issues (mine and hers), this lesson isn't until 7/11 at Shiny Rink's Tuesday evening freestyle. Krissy says once school starts again morning times will be more available, but the Tuesday FS (it's 5:45 - 6:30) should suit me well anyway.

There's one more coach at Shiny Rink that I want to try, hopefully I can set that up for next week or the week after.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Spalding Ice Classic

I helped out yesterday at the Carousel FSC's competition, the Spalding Ice Classic. I worked registration for about 4 hours and spent a few more just watching the skating, from pre-pre up to junior. It was a good chance to get to know people a little bit; I've not really made too many skating friends since I got here. Unfortunately, Mary who I met last week or so had to withdraw at the last minute so I didn't get to see her skate.

There were only 3 adult competitors listed in the program, all female. Indeed there were precious few males at all, of any age. Same old story! I did get to watch the short program for the "local boy", Dan Dang, who is skating at novice level. He was a real joy to watch -- not only is he talented but he's obviously had good coaching; his basic skating skills are quite good. It's nice to see.

I'm in the process of looking for a new coach, and I'd settled on a couple I wanted to have lessons with at Shiny Rink. I noticed there is apparently a new coach at Valley, though, who looks quite good. Her name is Stacy and apparently she's some kind of former Chinese national champion (not sure what level). So I dropped her an email and I'll try to get a lesson with her too. It would be nice to have a coach at Valley since it's so much closer and it will probably be where I do most of my skating.

It's almost time to renew my USFSA membership. I'm not sure what to do. The local club (Carousel) is $110/yr. My old club, Tucson FSC, is only $70. I also considered joining the Sherwood FSC if I wind up having lessons out there, but I've not been able to get any info on the club out there yet. I know it would probably be best to join the local club but I don't know what I'd really be getting for my extra $40 at this point, and money's a little tight. I'll have to figure this out soon, though.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Canasta Tango

As usual, today's lesson was at the 9:30 public at Valley. Unfortunately halfway through the resurfacing the Zamboni had problems and left the ice, leaving it half-done so that the sides were good and there was a lane down the middle that was good, but there were two stripes of bad ice on either side of the center. It was very annoying. We couldn't get the sound system to play CDs either.

Today's lesson:
  • Dutch Waltz -- a quick review. For some reason I tend to do strange things with the second progressive. Lucy reminded me that I need to concentrate more on keeping the beat and not worry too much about where I am on the ice.
  • Canasta Tango -- we spent most of the lesson learning the Canasta Tango. It seems pretty fun. The main problem I seem to have is that I keep trying to make it more complicated than it really is, like trying to stick another progressive in the middle. Like the DW, it's really not that complicated, it's just getting used to the pattern. Lucy also showed me the Kilian and reverse Kilian holds.
This was my last lesson with Lucy. I gave her a card to say thanks, and she gave me some See's candy -- a very pleasant surprise. I'll miss her; I've really enjoyed my lessons with her.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I skated the evening session at Valley tonight. Lately it seems like the only sessions I can reliably make are this one and the Sunday morning session when I have my lesson. It's very frustrating.

I worked on a lot of stuff -- 3s, waltz-8, edges, XOs, etc. I worked on the timing of my waltz-8, trying to even out the length of each step. I should take 3Turn's advice and get a marker! I made some progress on them, though. My BI edges are really stinky, though; it's very frustrating. The BOs are looking good, but I still can't keep the darn free foot in front. I spent some time just skating a BO edge around the circle and trying to hold the free foot in front. Maybe a little bit of progress, but not much.

I made a new acquaintance today -- an adult skater named Mary. Mary is going to be in the upcoming competition at our rink, skating at Bronze level. I like watching her skate, she always smiles and looks like she's having a great time. She and her husband both work where I do, and she's been skating for 8 years or so. It's nice to get to know more folks.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ice Dance 101

After talking with Lucy, we decided a quick intro to ice dance would be fun for our last couple of lessons. Today's lesson:
  • back edges -- I had wanted a quick review of these since I've been working on them assiduously. The BO are improving, but I'm still double-pushing the first edge and I still can't get the free foot in front. BI edges are improving too; my key insight is that I need to stay down in the knee; I tend to rise up too much and it makes it harder to stay in control. Still, the lobes are getting better-shaped and more even from L foot to R foot.
  • swing rolls, progressives, chassé -- Next Lucy reviewed some basic ice dance elements with me. I'd learned how to do swing rolls and chassé from Anna. We reviewed those and Lucy also showed me how to do a progressive; it's not so hard. I'm sure there's a lot of refinement that I could use on each of these elements but for now we basically wanted to be sure I had the elements I needed to use for dancing and I can work them with my next coach if I want.
  • Dutch Waltz -- I grabbed my rulebook and Lucy and I reviewed the steps for the Dutch Waltz. It's really pretty simple, so she took me through it. My biggest problem right now is that it's hard for me to string the different steps together promptly. And of course, I'm too slow and too hesitant. We ran through it several times and then we were out of time.
Today's lesson was a lot of fun! I blame it all on Nerd for her dance evangelism! I can see how dance could really do wonders for my edging, since taking those swing rolls at what counts as "speed" for me was pretty darn terrifying...

Next week, hopefully, we can try it with music!

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