Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spins & Jumps

My freestyle lesson with JJ this morning on the 6:45 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  JJ had texted me last night asking if we could move my lesson up from 7:30 to 7 so there we were.  I was actually awake and doing fine so yay me! Before my lesson we spent a little time reviewing my updated skating plan -- this is a document I update about every 6 months that outlines my weekly training schedule and my goals for the coming months -- tests, competitions, etc.  Right now those goals are:
  • Pre-Bronze FS test -- November?
  • New boots -- December?
  • Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals -- Feb.
  • Bronze Moves test -- May?
  • Preliminary Figures test -- June?
Obviously there's a lot of work to do to make all this happen!

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- still working on these and they are just really bad right now.  I just need to relax and not rush, open up the L side.  Seriously I need some kind of chill pill or something! Grr.
  • salchow -- just a little bit on these.  I'm still doing them from a waltz jump-like entrance (BXO & step forward into the LFO3).  This really gives me a nice rhythm.  JJ had me work on getting better kneebend on the step forward (gee, I need to do this in the waltz jump too! :-)) so I can more height.  It helped... but there's still precious little "jump" in this jump right now.
  • plyometrics -- we took a moment for JJ to mention that he wants me working on some plyometrics (jumping exercises).  I was doing these as part of my workout but haven't in a while.  He specifically wants10 reps each of:
    • jumping up to the left side
    • jumping up to the right side
    • jumping backward (eeek!)
    • jumping up astride to feet together
    • jumping up astride to R foot
  • toe loop -- we worked on fixing my toe loop some more.  I am starting to understand what I need to do (so that's progress).  It's all about opening up the L hip and leading with it so that the R foot is on the ice until it's even w/the L foot that's in the ice.  The difficulty right now is that when I do that all my weight is still on the R foot, so I can't jump off the toepick.  Yet.
  • BXOs -- we finished with a couple of minutes on these, working on descratching them (it had me flashing back to endless time with Sonya working on these).
All in all a pretty good lesson.  I never cease to be amazed at how much you can do in 30 minutes when you really are focused!

After my lesson I skated another 45 minutes and worked on some of these things but also a lot of time on Bronze moves.  My R-side power-3s are really, really bad!  Eeep!  And I spent some quality time just doing the L side of the 5-step mohawk around the big circle.  My BO edge is not so great there.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

I skated the Wednesday night public at Gilbert, the first time in a while due to travel and other issues.  I had a decent skate.  The main point was that I'd not skated in my FS boot for almost 2 weeks!  Geez.  So it was a little rough at first and my feet weren't happy.  It got better.  I did a few decent spins at first but the later ones were pretty bad :-(.  Jumps were decent though.

Same Ol' Same Ol'

My figures lesson with Lynne on Chandler coffee club as usual.... a bit busy today about 10 skaters and 2 coaches.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- Just a little time on this.  RFO8 is generally good, LFO8 still lacking.  I still need to improve my body position on the LFO8 and get the free leg in more promptly after the push.
  • Waltz-8 -- the majority of our time today.  My turns were a bit wonky/scratchy/uncontrolled.  I did manage to fix some issues with my step forward on the R side -- being more decisive ("committed" was the word of the day) and being sure not to helicopter the arms really helped.  The L side improved a bit too but is not as good.
  • BI8 -- these are coming along nicely.  The L side is still a lot weaker and the position for the first half of the circle is not as strong.
  • BO8 -- I'm really pleased with my progress on these. Biggest issue right now is I need more push on the L side and need to lean into the edge more to get back to center.
All in all, just sloggin' along but it is slowly improving.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back In The Saddle

It's been a particularly crazy time at work and the result was that I hadn't skated since last Wednesday!  Geez.  For me that is a long time.  So, I was pretty excited to get to Chandler for coffee club today for patch practice.

I had a really good skate!  I spent about 25 minutes on FO8s, 5 minutes on FI8s, and 10 minutes each on waltz-8, BO8, and BI8.  FO8s are finally starting to improve.  RFO8 is actually pretty good, and LFO8 is occasionally pretty good.  BI8s -- the push is improving a lot for RBI8 but circle is small; LBI8 is coming along but not making it around.  BO8 -- RBO8 still not bad and LBO8 still lacking.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waltz-8, B8s

Today's figures lesson on the Chandler coffee club.  Due to insane work schedule etc.  I had not skated since last Thursday!  eep :-(.  Fortunately Lynne gave me a good half hour to warm up and get my legs back under me. In the warmup my RFO8s were looking really good!  LFO8 much better also :-).

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we spent almost half the lesson on these   My key learning (sorry, an Intel-ism) is that I really when I do the step forward I really need to actually turn the soon-to-be-not-skating foot, just like I would to push onto any kind of edge (e.g. starting an FO8).  Hmm.  These are improving, and I am actually able to come back to center about 30% of the time; but the circle is pretty egg-shaped due to the FO edge going out too far.
  • BO8 -- these are coming along.  The RBO8 is not too bad, I get around the circle pretty much every time and usually the circle size and centering are not bad.  LBO8 is a lot rougher, I'm still having troubles coming back to center.
  • BI8 -- these are slowly improving also.  The push is still lacking though, it's not quite enough to get me around.  We worked esp. on the 2nd half of the RBI8.  I am tending to open my hip up here and Lynne thinks I should keep it more closed in order to not bring the circle in too much.  It's a bit tricky to do this and still extend the free leg.
All in all I'm pretty pleased with my progress.   I need to get back into my practice routine though!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010


I had a meeting canceled at work, so I managed to skate for about 45 minutes at Chandler coffee club.  I was feeling a bit off, though, so not the most productive skate.  Worked on toe loop, spins, and some moves.  Bleah.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FO8, Waltz-8, BI8

Today's figures lesson on Chandler coffee club as usual.  It was pretty deserted today, only 4 or 5 of us.  Ice was pretty good.  I got a good 15 minutes or so of warmup which was just as well since I'd not been in my patch blades since last Wednesday.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- the RFO8 is really coming along (usually!).  Much more control and body position is much better.  LFO8 is improving but still lacking quite a bit.
  • Waltz-8 -- improvement here too.  I actually managed the step forward with some control on the R side once.  The rest of the time -- not so much.  But they are coming along.  I think the limiting factor is, in part, my FO edges that are still lacking.  I'm hopeful though.
  • BI8 -- still working on these, I'm not quite getting around on the RBI8.  I need to push a bit more and also to get down in the knee a bit more on the push.  The second half of the circle is still a bit small though.
All in all I really am making progress, it's just slow.  I'm trying to figure out my timeline for testing Preliminary Figures -- maybe sometime in the spring.  As I remarked to Lynn, even after I have some control on the waltz-8 I still need to be able to actually trace these things and that's a ways off.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Spins & Toe Loop

My lesson with JJ this week was moved to the 5 p.m. FS at Gilbert due to a work trip and some other issues.  I'd not skated this session before (I'd skated the 5:10 they had in the summer).  Not such great ice but not too crowded so it was okay.

I had brought my new iPod Touch that I got last week and JJ used it several times to video me and show me what I was doing.  I think it's a helpful tool although we probably over-used it a bit :-)

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- still working on these.  I'm "raising the curtain" usually and have better control over the entry, but I'm still working on opening up the L side.   I'm still generally in the 2 rev range and they are not very centered, usually, so there's a long way to go on these.
  • toe loop -- we are working on fixing these.  We worked them on the wall for a while and then out on the ice.  The main thing I've not focused on that I need to do is to open the hip.  I tend to be closed-hipped which makes it really hard to jump even if I could manage to bring the R foot around more.  We did make some progress on these so that's encouraging.
No lesson next week but I have a lot to work on so I'm not concerned.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Birthday Skate

I didn't get to skate Thursday or Friday as work has been really frantic... but today is my birthday so I was off to Polar Ice Peoria to skate with skate buddy Amber who was down from NAU for the day.  Also the inimitable Katlynn McNab was there (along with her folks) so that was a treat!  I skated the 8:30 a.m. FS on the Olympic-size rink.

I had a pretty good skate.  It was pretty crowded (I think I counted 17 skaters and like 6 coaches) but workable.  It's weird to skate on an Olympic-size rink... it's so freakin' wide!  I was doing back perimeter XOs and coming nowhere near the middle.  I worked mostly on my spins and toe loops.  No big breakthroughs but a good skate.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wednesday Night Zoo

I skated the evening public at Gilbert.  I have gotten to know several of the skaters at this session so it's more fun.  I only skated 45 min, but got some good work in on spins and also some work on fixing my toe loop.  I tried slowing waaaaay down and really reaching with the toe pick and drawing... I think I did one that was not cheated, but I couldn't really tell as the ice was too bad.  Grrr.

FO8, Waltz-8, B8

Today's figures lesson with Lynne on Chandler coffee club.  It was reallly quiet today, I think there were 4 of us and a lot of the usual suspects were absent..

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- just a little time on these, they tend to be a black hole time-wise.  I'm really trying to find some metaphor for body position on this and what I've most recently come up with is "slipping through the door" -- like you are trying to slip through a door that's just a little open so you have your whole body turned sideways.  My R side I am doing okay on this, L side not so much, but every so often I will just get it right.  Geez.
  • waltz-8 -- these are slowly improving.  I think the biggest issue now is to step forward without widestepping, and to have a good FO edge when I do (see above, lol).
  • BO8 -- R side is pretty decent, L side is starting to improve.  I'm actually getting a pretty decent body position for the first half of the circle, but when I rotate for the second half I tend to not look over my shoulder, or if I do I tend to drop the hip a bit.  Hmmph.
  • BI8 -- these are also improving.  I actually have a pretty awesome position for the first part on the RBI8 but I'm falling into the circle a bit on the second half.  It's coming along though.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Moves & Spins

I had my freestyle lesson for the week on the 2:30 FS at Gilbert since they had ice and JJ and I both had time.  It was a little crowded (like 8 skaters and 4 coaches) but not too bad.

Today's lesson:
  • back perimeter XOs -- I had wanted to work on moves just a little bit.  Started into these and I was not watching as well as I need to and had a small collision with another skater.  JJ yelled at me right before so I was in the process of stopping, so it was more like a bump and nobody fell or was hurt.  Geez.  Anyway after that we worked on these.  The R side is pretty good but on the L side I'm not getting a good lean into the edge, and I need to look where I'm going on that side especially.  
  • spins -- more work on "raising the curtain" (JJ's metaphor) with the free arm on the step forward, and bringing the skating arm around after the 3 and also turning the head into the spin at the same time.  I did this exactly once and wow did I get a faster spin!  These are still erratic though :-(.  Grr.
  • backspin intro -- JJ wanted to spend a couple of moments on this, just getting the feel for the crossed-foot position and the entry.  Geez.  Scary stuff but I guess I will get there eventually.
All in all a good lesson.  Our lesson time for next week is Tuesday but exact time is TBD still.

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Field Trip

No Pilates today, and no coffee club at Chandler, so I headed over to Gilbert for coffee club and a chance to skate with skate buddy Melissa and get some patch practice in since I wound up working Friday and didn't get to go.

I was a bit rusty at first and my FO8s were horrible.  I worked on waltz-8 (okay), BO8 (coming along) and BI8 (very rough).  Came back for more FO8 at the end and the RFO8 wasn't bad.  LFO8... not so much.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Cactus Classic 2010

I just finally had a chance to look at my pictures from Cactus Classic.  Here's the best of the bunch:

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Spins & Jumps

Today's lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  It was somewhat crowded the session before, but the 7:30 only had 4 or so of us.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- these are really all that is keeping me from testing.  JJ reminded me that I need to (duh) hold the free leg/side back until I hook the spin.  He also told me I should try to keep the free arm high and back on the step forward (I think it's a curtain metaphor).  This does actually help since, for one thing, it tends to help me keep the free leg back.  I'm still only getting 2 revs generally speaking.
  • waltz jump -- we worked mostly on de-scraping the BO edge before the jump.  I reminded myself it's just like the Bronze move -- I can certainly hold a BO edge at speed without scraping!  JJ wanted me to hold the forward edge longer before the jump.  It seemed kinda weird to me.  Grrr.
  • salchow -- working on the waltz jump and holding the FO edge I had inadvertently done a 3-turn as if I were doing a salchow -- so JJ had me try doing a salchow with the same entrance as a waltz jump (BO edge, step forward).  Wow!  Really easy and natural.  I'll have to play with this more.
  • toe loop -- we spent some time working on de-cheating the toe loop.  Mostly against the wall, feeling the draw-through of the RBO edge and pivoting on the toepick.  This will definitely need more work.
All in all a good lesson.  I couldn't stay for the next session due to work, unfortunately.   There will be some weirdnesses in our lesson schedule -- we're doing Monday at 3:30 (Labor Day) and the week after will be back to Tuesday I think.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

FO8, BO8, Waltz-8

<Today's figures lesson on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  We were over on the South Pole rink today -- harder, hockey ice.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- sometimes it amazes me that I have had to spend soooo much time on these and they still aren't quite right.  Oh well.  They do seem to be slowly improving -- they're just very inconsistent.  Grrr.
  • BO8 -- The RBO8 is really quite good.  The LBO8 is coming along, I mostly have issues returning to center.  We also spent some time working on the subsequent (not initial) push since the transition is a little tricky.  It's coming along well.
  • Waltz-8 -- the step forward is getting better slowly.  The biggest issue seems to be to step close and keep the free leg close (really, that's always an issue for me) and to really trust that edge.  
After my lesson I had about 15 - 20 minutes. I spent some quality time on the BI8; it's actually improving somewhat so my circles are not so small. I'm still not getting back to center though.  At some point we are gonig to start throwing turns into the mix on these moves and then it's going to be a whole new ballgame.

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