Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Just to make a note, I am going to do some housekeeping on the sidebar. I'm going to roll up all the lesson links into a master post for each coach that will have all the links there. It's a bit too long right now with some 300 lessons listed :-).

Trial Lesson With JJ

I had my trial lesson with JJ this morning on the 6:45 FS (lesson at 7) at Gilbert.

The morning didn't start off too auspiciously -- I didn't sleep well (why is it that when you have to be up at 6 and are sleepless, you start to feel really sleepy at 5:30? Grrr), drove to the rink, got there at 6:25... and there was no one there! It wasn't open and the lights were off. To say I was perturbed would be putting it mildly. All I could think was how at Sherwood the place would be buzzin' at that time of day. I went ahead and warmed up and stretched and put my boots on sitting on the bench in front of the rink. Finally at 6:45 someone (the skating director I think) showed up and opened the door.

I have to say I was more than a little surprised there were not more people there -- SWP Regionals is this coming weekend and I expected there would be lots of competitors there getting all the ice time they can before the competition. Maybe it's too close and they don't want to tire themselves out?

I got on the ice and warmed up (by this time there was another skater, a high level girl who had a lot of power -- nice). The clock was not working either but JJ came and we started our lesson:

  • stroking -- yep, every coach starts with this. Just one lap; I cleverly did it CCW and he didn't ask me for CW. I thought I did pretty well and he was happy with it.
  • BXOs -- I don't quite remember how we got into to this. JJ asked me for alternating BXOs and I did the Bronze move for him, but he really just wanted alternating BXOs so I did those for him, then in the APB move, and then we continued working just the BXOs to unscratch them. He had me work them at the boards and out on the ice to do a number of things -- feel the thighs pressing together, flex the foot before lifting it off the ice.
  • waltz jump -- I wanted to move on so JJ suggested we look at my jumps. I did a nice waltz jump (I was pretty pleased) and he liked it so we moved on.
  • half flip -- the first one I did, didn't have much *jump* to it so I did a second that was much better, more jump and a nice landing position ("Buns of Steel"). JJ suggested that if I trust the toe more I will be able to do this jump with more speed.
  • toe loop -- some good time on this. We worked a lot on the wall with the BO pivot position, JJ had me work the BO pivot and turning it into FI pivot (i.e. turning the moving foot on the ice from BO to FI). The idea being to get comfortable with that motion because it's the same as the jump, only you pick the foot up before the foot turns forward. The other point he made was to think of turning in the air with the L foot winding up in front. It doesn't look that different from what I've been doing but is correct and will result in more jump. I had some small success with this.

And with that we were out of time (we actually ran long by 7 minutes or so). I was quite pleased with this lesson, although I have to say it's a bit different having a male coach. I told JJ I wanted to schedule some more trial lessons (well, at least one more) and I would let him know. Besides freestyle I am also looking for a figures coach.

I spent a little time reviewing the trial lessons I'd had when I was looking for a coach last time. Wow, it seems so long ago! I spent so much time with Sonya and she was such an amazing coach -- it's really hard to start over :-(.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coffee Club

I skated coffee club at Chandler today. The member price is only $6, so a good deal, and it only took me 20 minutes from leaving work to stepping on the ice so that's awesome! There were only 5 skaters and one coach, so not crowded at all. The ice was freshly surfaced when the session started, although I have to say I have never seen a Zamboni driven that fast! Seriously, I didn't think he would be able to make the turns he was going so fast on the straightaway. Scary. So the ice was fresh but still pretty bumpy; but still the best I'd seen at Chandler.

I had a pretty good skate, worked on Bronze moves and jumps and some spins. I got one 2.5 rev spin, it seems like I am getting a little better about not bailing out though I am still having trouble finding and keeping the sweet spot. Grr.

Got to meet about half the skaters and the coach. I'm going to try to skate this session every week if I can, it's mostly a question of getting out of work for it.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I skated the 8:15 FS at Chandler this a.m. -- skate buddies Jose and Tracy were there and it was nice to be among friends, as always. As usual, not-so-great ice. The session was a bit crowded to start with but cleared out to around 7 skaters and 3 coaches half-way through.

As usual these days I spent the first half working on moves, then FS. I worked on slowing down the toe loop a bit and did several toe loop entrances into back pivot. Not sure that helped much but it's getting easier at least. A few spins that were ukky, and some nice waltz jumps and half flips.

On moves, I spent a fair amount of time just working on FO3s, holding the entrance longer and trying to improve them. I did make some progress with this so I'll try to work this again next time. Power-3s slightly less stinky due to this. 5-step mohawk not too great. Other moves are about the same as before.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lunch With JJ

This was supposed to be "Trial Lesson With JJ" but Polar Ice messed me up again. I had called yesterday to confirm that they had coffee club today, but when I got there -- no coffee club, they are having some kind of hockey camp. Grrr.

Anyway, I got to meet a potential coach, JJ. We wound up going out for lunch and talking since we didn't get to have a lesson. We discussed my goals in skating and my background, and he gave me some information on his skating background etc. He's a pretty interesting fellow -- skated as a child, took a break, came back to skating and passed all the way up to Senior level. Pretty impressive! He's big on focus, discipline and prioritization.

We have scheduled a trial lesson for next Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. Why I am volunteering myself for early morning lessons, I'm not sure -- it's probably because I am desperate to skate on ice that doesn't stink! Oh well.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I skated the 5 p.m. FS at Chandler.... wow, what crappy ice. I gathered from looking at the schedule that it had been zamm'd last at 2 p.m. at best and it was just yucky. The session was not too crowded though, about 8 people and 2 or 3 coaches most of the time. I worked on moves for a half hour and then jumps/spins for a half hour. Nothing really exciting although I did have a couple of spins where I managed to stay in position longer, so that's a plus. And it's pretty cool to get to the rink in 10 minutes instead of the 45 it took me to get to Sherwood... but I'd rather have Sherwood's low prices and pristine ice, definitely. Oh well!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Back On The Ice

I skated the 8:15 FS this morning at Polar Ice Chandler. This rink is 4 miles from my house! The session was not crowded (6 skaters and 3 coaches), and my longtime skating buddy Jose skates this session so it was nice to have a friendly face there. Ice quality not so great -- they had not cut the ice since 5:15 and it showed. Oh well!

I spent a half hour on Moves and a half hour on freestyle. Forward perim XOs are looking good as far as pattern is concerned but there's still lots of room for improvement re: power and extension. Back XOs not too bad. Back XOs to landing position I still need to work on keeping the axis. And power-3s and 5-step... uck!

Waltz jumps are doing well, half flip actually pretty well also. Toe loop -- I managed to unskid the 3 by thinking of doing more of a curve into the 3 and not so straight. Still cheated though :-(. Spins -- I did one that was 2.5 rev and another that was 1.5 rev but nicely centered -- the rest were all pretty stinky.

Next week more skating and start looking for a coach!