Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, December 31, 2010

FO3s & Waltz-8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  It was pretty quiet today, just 6 skaters and 1 coach.

Today's lesson:
  • FO3s -- per our discussion last week I had wanted to work on 3s since I think they are a weak point in my skating -- so we spent about 20 minutes just working on FO3s on the semicircle by the hockey box.  Made some progress in holding the free hip back so it doesn't creep around and make me skid; and making the actual turn a bit more brisk.   I got a little more control of these and was able to place them at the top of the lobe.  Good stuff but still needs more work, of course!
  • Waltz-8 -- since we'd spent all that time on the FO3 it was natural to spend some time on the waltz-8, and so we did.    My steps-forward are improving but I still need to prepare the FO edge better so that it's a solid edge.  Right now it's often not a good edge and I have to fix it to get it to come around, it's too flat.
All in all a good lesson, my last for the year.  Also with this session my Chandler annual pass broke even!  So now all my coffee clubs and public sessions at Chandler from now to May 15 are free :-).

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Test Prep

My freestyle lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. session at Gilbert.  This ice (North Pole) was just rebuilt last week and looked really nice, although perhaps a little thin still.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- we continued working on the timing of the arms, starting from a T and then from BXOs.   On the positive side I am now holding the FO edge longer as JJ wants.  On the negative side I'm tending to jump when my arms are down at my sides, instead of raising them as I jump.  Geez.
  • salchow -- still working on remembering to slow down the 3.  I did a couple of good ones and a couple not so good.
  • 1-foot spin -- progress.... got some decent spins (and some not so decent).
  • 2-foot spin -- I had done a not-so-great one in my warmup, but the one I did in my lesson was awesome (I was pretty dizzy afterward).
  • XO pattern -- JJ wants me to make the circles REALLY big.  So I did. Eeep.  On the positive side it does make me more relaxed so that's good.
That was all we had time for.  I had done a lunge in my warmup.  JJ reminded me to stay down for at least 3 seconds in the lunge, but 5 would be preferable.

After my lesson I stayed and skated until 9.  I was tempted to not stay for the second session (8:15 - 9) but decided I really needed the time.  I'm glad I stayed, I got some good work in on my spins, salchow, and waltz jump.  I'm feeling better about the test, which is good since it is only 9 days away.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

I skated the Wednesday night public at Gilbert as usual, just for an hour.  I was hoping that, since the night was rainy and blustery, that it wouldn't be too crowded.  No such luck!  It's Christmas break and it was realllly crowded!

Still I did some work on spins, and waltz jumps.  I got some good spins and some not so good ones.  Grrr.  Still looking to gain some consistency.

That's Speed!

So near the end of yesterday's crazy FS session, their coach made the 2 pairs teams that were still there (the 3rd had left) do laps around the rink, first at speed and then not.  I timed them and it looked like they did red line to red line in about 6 secs.  If you do the math (I'm guessing red line to red line is about 180 feet) that's about 20 mph!!  Wow!

ZOMG!  Pairs X 3!

I skated the last hour of the 4:15 - 5:45 FS at Chandler today.  There's been a dearth of freestyle time lately since many rinks are having hockey tournaments right now.  So when I arrived at Chandler it was really crowded.  When I got on the ice I found that I was the 23rd person to sign in!  And there were, not one, not two, but THREE pairs teams practicing!  Two of them were definitely senior level, not sure about the 3rd.  There was also at least one senior-level competitor.  In short, it was the most crowded and hectic freestyle session I have ever been to!

I was tempted not to stay and just go home... but I am testing in 1.5 weeks!  And anyway I don't like to just give in to fear like that.  So... I stayed.  Being at a session that crowded (esp. with pairs) requires you to really keep your eyes open!  Constant vigilance... and quite an adrenalin rush!

Despite the conditions I did a fair amount of work on spins and waltz jumps and a couple of salchows.  I actually did several quite good spins!  It was gratifying.  Waltz jumps good also. Salchows just so-so.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I skated at Chandler coffee club to get some patch practice in.  It was verrry quiet!  Had a decent skate.  Worked on all my 8s and then some quality time just on FO3s.  Ugh.  I really need to get more control on these.  Fortunately I'm good at obsessively practicing so hopefully that will work to my advantage on these.

No skating until next week! :-(

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Same Ol' Same Ol'

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  Pretty quiet today and nice ice.  I had a good 20 minute warmup.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- the RBO is looking really awesome these days.  LBO not so much, but it is improving.  The 2nd time along I did a much better job of leaning into the edge on the second half of the LBO and it was much better.
  • BI8 -- These are coming along nicely. Circles are still quite small but control is improving.  Lynne reminded me of something we'd talked about last week, I think -- to keep the free foot close on the 2nd half of the circle instead of extending it back over the print too early.  This is a bit tricky but seemed to give much better control.
  • Waltz-8 -- Grrr.  These just need a lot of work still.  They have improved, but there's still a lot to do.  We spent some time specifically working on just the FO3s since they tend to be rather skidded.  Some small improvement maybe.  I suggested to Lynne that we could start spending some time just on 3s (maybe on 3s to center) to work on getting more control on these.
  • Serpentine -- the RFOI is a bit rough, mostly that (as I told Lynne) my L shoulder seems to want to eat my ear when I am coming back to center on the RFO -- really, it's just blocking me and I'm very square.  I did eventually manage to get it to stay back a bit, and the result was almost a full half-circle after the edge change.  Yay!  The LFOI was about the same but the shoulder issues were much better.
All in all an awesome lesson and I was pretty happy.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Test Prep

My freestyle lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I love how I forget that JJ is having me go through the PB test in order until we are almost done, and then the light bulb goes off in my head.  Haha!

Before the lesson I played my prospective new music for next year for JJ.  He liked it a lot.  I gave him a CD of it to listen to.  He asked me if people were using it and I said I hadn't heard anyone using it but I've not been watching much TV skating lately, just no time.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz jump -- Still working on improving the timing of the arms and the jump, and holding the FO edge.  When I do this right the jump feels much lighter and I get better height.
  • salchow --  mmph.  JJ reminded me to slow the 3 down and not rush it; also to look over my leading hand (and not down!) and of course to bend the knee before the 3.
  • spin -- I whined about my horrible skate yesterday and so of course the Coach Effect took over and they were not so bad.  JJ reminded me to ease up, let the 3 happen, and keep the free side/free hip up.  I did a 3 rev spin, yay me!
  • two-foot spin -- I did a really really nice 4-rev spin (wow, I was dizzy!) so we moved on!
  • XOs -- first time through was just okay; had to abort the pattern after the FXOs due to traffic.  So tried it again and they were much nicer.   JJ wants me to go ahead and have a big damn circle!  
  • Lunge -- for once JJ was happy with this, I had been working on them and I got it alllll the way down.   Yay!
And with that we were out of time.  

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Monday, December 20, 2010


I skated the 5:10 p.m. FS at Gilbert... now that Christmas shows are over it wasn't crowded at all, just 6 skaters and like 4 coaches.

I had a very, very frustrating skate.  My spins were totally not happening at all.  Not sure what is going on, it's like I am doing something very funky with my free side and I never start the spin.  The trace is very flat going in and coming out of the 3.  I did like 15 of them and they didn't get any better :-(.  Salchows were also really horrible. Geez.  I am testing in less than 3 weeks, I didn't need this!  Grrr.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I skated for an hour at the Sunday a.m. FS at Chandler.  Decent ice and only 2 or 3 skaters.  I had a pretty good skate, worked a bunch on holding the FO edge on the waltz jump (some success) and on fixing my toe loop (small progress).  A bunch of spins and a couple that were decent.   Salchow just okay.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

B8s, Waltz-8, Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  Only 7 skaters and two coaches, and pretty good ice although quite cold today!

Today's lesson:
  • BO8s -- the R side is really nice!  L side, still working on improving that rotated position.  We worked on it quite a bit... trying not to turn out of the circle too much, lean into the circle.  It really helped to think of holding the R shoulder up.
  • BI8s -- these are coming along nicely and I like them so much more than the BO8s! Circles are still too small but doing a reasonably good job of getting the free foot in front at the start.
  • Waltz-8 -- still struggling to get on a good edge after the step forward.  Once in a while it happens.  It's a general problem, not just on Waltz-8 so I'm not blaming the w-8 for it.
  • Serpentine -- these are improving!  I actually got around enough (well, with a helper push!) to have to worry about the LFIO transition. Eeep, that is hard. Much to be done here.
All in all a pretty good lesson :-).

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I skated the Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  My FO8s were really ukky!  But they improved somewhat.  FI8s were nice.  Waltz-8... okayish.  BO8s I'm still having issues with that LBO 2nd half position.  I spent some time working just that position. I think I tend to make it worse by turning too much so that I'm turned so far out of the circle that it's pulling me off the edge.  Hmm.  BI8s I got some good practice in -- circles are really small but they are improving.

More Test Prep

This morning's lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • Salchow -- I was experiencing an issue with my R hand -- I had it back after the 3 (good) but it wasn't coming with the rest of me (bad!) when I jumped and I was getting sort of twisted :-(.  We managed to fix that and also reaffirm progress from yesterday - more height! Yay.  Mind you not a lot of height yet, but more is better.
  • Waltz jump -- reinforcing last night again.  Holding that LFO edge is creeping me out!  When I manage it I get a nice, "light" jump but it's hard.
  • XOs -- the first time through this I only did 3 FXOs and my first BXO was a bit wonky.    The second time I had much nicer FXOs and my BXOs were really smooth!  I was happy with it.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Test Prep

I had a make-up lesson with JJ tonight at the 5:10 FS at Gilbert since I was sick last week and didn't get a lesson.  As usual, good ice (there's a Z-break right before this session) but pretty crowded, I counted something like 16 kids and 6 coaches.

Today's lesson:
  • Toe loop -- just a little time on these, I mentioned my epiphany on these to JJ (don't reach and pick, just pick) and he expounded on that and gave me a little practice routine for it.  He emphasized staying upright and not leaning.  The practice is just to make the "L" with the feet, turn and jump.  Scary!  Oh well.
  • Salchow -- I did a couple that JJ said were pretty good but he wanted more "jump."  I finally figured out I need to bend my knee *before* the 3 and keep it bent... and then I actually got a little height on this!  Woo hoo, that's the first time that's ever happened!
  • Waltz jump - JJ still wants me to hold the FO edge before the jump and I have a hard time with that.  So we broke it down to just skating from a T-position and holding the edge and then jumping.  I figured out if I use that time to think about bending my skating knee more (and, as JJ reminds me, hold the skating shoulder forward) then it distracts me and I actually did some okay jumps.  Good stuff.
  • Spins -- just a few of these.  After a few I actually got a couple where I had a good soft, bent knee going in and straightened up correctly.  JJ added to that to get the hands out in front (and keep them there) and to keep the free hip up when I bring the free leg in after I hook the spin.  Some improvement here.  Hmm.
  • Two-foot spin -- JJ still wants me to have more of a windup, which kinda throws me off.  I did some decent ones though.  JJ reminded me to keep the hands up, not drop them.
  • Lunge -- several of these.  JJ really wants me to have that skating leg parallel to the ice.  "all the way down!" eep.
That's all we had time for.  We have another lesson in the morning so presumably we will go over spins again and the XOs at least.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

TCC FS with the TFSC!

I was down in Tucson this morning for a rare luxury, TWO hours of freestyle at the TCC with the Tucson FSC!  Had a reasonable skate... worked a lot on spins but only got a couple decent ones. Worked on jumps but no real progress... bleah.   I was just glad to get some ice time in since I was sick late last week and hadn't skated since Wednesday night.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

I managed to zip over to the Gilbert public session for an hour's worth of skating.  Since I'd not skated in my freestyle blades in over a week (!) it was a good thing since I have a lesson in the a.m. with JJ.  Worked on mostly spins, with a few waltz jumps and a salchow and some toe loops as well.  Lots of social time with Megan, Trevor, Michelle, Billy, and also Blossom (yes that's really her name, lol!).

A revelation on the toe loop that I hope to explore tomorrow w/JJ -- I realized that when I practice on the wall I'm extending the free leg more or less straight behind me, but when I try to do it (toe-waltzy style :-() on the ice I'm reaaaaaching way back and picking in.  I tried to just have the free leg behind me and while it felt really weird (and I had a weird fall one time) I think that this might be the correction I need.  Yay!

F8, Waltz-8 and Serpentine

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Good ice as usual and Lynne gave me time for a good warmup today :-)

Today's lesson:
  • F8s -- I had warmed these up well, I just wanted Lynne to video them so that I could see what I look like (I'll post them below).   I'm a bit hunched over, but not as bad as I thought.  I still would like to have a little more speed on these but in general they are okay.   On the video the first RFO is pretty icky though :-(.
  • Waltz-8 -- these are definitely improved.  For one thing I pretty much always make it back to center, which didn't happen all that much in the past.  Second, on the L side I am actually turning my foot before pushing onto the LFO from the step forward, which didn't happen before.  True my circles are still rather egg-shaped but they are getting better.  Yay!
  • Serpentine -- we worked mostly on trying to keep the free shoulder firmly checked back while the free leg is forward (the cross-body stretch).  The change of edge is actually okay.   The biggest hurdle is that I don't have nearly enough speed to make it through the whole FI circle after the change of edge.  I'm going to have to push a lot harder for that.
All in all I'm pleased with my progress.  Slow and steady seems to be doing it for me.

Here's the video of my FI8:

And here's the FO8:

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sloggin' Along

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Pretty deserted today, just 4 or 5 skaters and 2 coaches.

Today's lesson:
  • F8s -- just a little review.  The good part is I have good flow and I'm tracing relatively well.  My form is very inconsistent though. After all this time!  Oh well.  Like I told Lynne, the good news is that when I really truly fix my posture issues it will fix a whole bunch of problems in my skating.  I WILL get there.
  • BO8s -- Not too bad.  Still having issues with the last half of the LBO8, I need to work on that position (BO edge, free leg and arm back) more so that I can lean into the circle more.  I'm still kind of impressed I can do these at all though :-).
  • Waltz-8 -- these actually are improving.  It wasn't that long ago I couldn't get back to center at all!  Now I usually do. My 3s are a bit skidded (esp. LFO3! What's up with that?) and I still need to hold the BO edge longer but the step forward has improved a lot.  Good stuff.
  • Serpentine -- we had not looked at these in quite some time.  Once I actually managed to get a good RFO (we worked on the RF serpentine first) the change of edge is pretty decent and I made it about 3/4 of the RFI circle.... an improvement!  LFO not nearly as good.  I need better flow and a stronger push for these.
All in all a good lesson. After my lesson I spent some time on BI8s and then I had to leave.

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