Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Serpentines, BI8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We started a bit later than usual so I had plenty of time to warm up with edges, scribe circles, and do FO8, FI8, and waltz-8.  Then I went on to serpentines, which is where we started the lesson.

Today's lesson:
  • serpentines -- these are getting better.  We spent some quality time on the FIO change; the LFIO (harder side) is getting better -- I have to just really lean into the edge to make it stick.  Unfortunately when I do that I know I am losing a bit of flow, I can hear/feel it, but Lynne says I need to make the change work and then I can make it flow better later.
  • BI8-- These are slowly getting better.  Lynne suggested I rotate the upper body a little earlier than I had been, at the halfway mark.  Also we worked on getting a better/harder/quicker push.  That needs a lot of work.  L side is still rather weak.
  • 3s to center -- ugh.  The RFO3s were pretty stinky, very forced.  LFO3s much better.  Working on getting better BI edge coming out; even when I think I'm checking 'cause the arm is extended, the shoulder is still coming around and defeating me.  Urgh.

Labels: ,


My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert, as usual.

Today's lesson was all jumps, mostly toe loop.  We worked on getting the upper body to rotate in the takeoff of the jump, and to keep the arms at a 90-degree angle to each other.   JJ said that even when I don't actually jump and land backward, he wants me to do an RFI3 right after to get used to getting my balance right afterward.  It's a little weird, but he IS the coach :-).

For the last few minutes we worked on waltz jump, then waltz into the toe loop.  Eeep.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today, just 45 minutes due to work stuff.  I had an okay skate -- warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, FO8, FI8, then waltz-8.  Spent the rest of my time working on the step forward on the circle.  Ugh.  Not really any progress.

Monday, January 28, 2013


My back-3 lesson with Lynne on the 8:15 FS at Chandler, as usual.  Had the ice to myself (Mondays are usually quite slow).  I just had 10 minutes or so to warm up.

Same drill as usual, 2-foot turns on the circle, BO3s on the wall, back out to the circle.  RBO3 continues to improve slowly, but I'm still not getting much flow out after the turn. LBO3 I still had to have Lynne hold my hand but the turn itself is starting to happen. So I'd say some progress.

After my lesson I had almost 30 minutes, so I worked on my free skate program.  I ran it with music twice.  Not too bad.  I really need to work on my stamina though, I was pretty tired.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 25, 2013


I skated the Chandler coffee club for freestyle practice today.  I only had 45 min to skate.  I worked on program chunks, esp. salchow (still giving me problems!), then ran the program with music.  With the change to the opening pivot I am more or less on time through the first half (I need to skate just a smidge faster); ended late mostly due to weirdness with the waltz-toe (which is now more like a waltz-step.  I assume that's better than doing a toe-waltz but I'm still concerned).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waltz-8, BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We were on the South Pole ice today and the ice was a little bumpy.  Warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, and did FO8 and FI8 as Lynne came on the ice.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- as usual we spent a fair amount of time on these.  Ugh.  Same old problems.  I took some video (I'll try to post it later) to study.  Grr.  I am very frustrated on these.  I need to fix them, they are on the test!
  • BO8 -- ha!  Not so great.  We decided that I really need to fix my body position on the RBO to be more correct (free leg close, stand straight up).  Grrr.  It is so hard!  We did finally make some progress but it was really difficult.  Once I fixed the free leg I had a heck of a time trying to stop the upper body from rotating.  Eeep.  
After my lesson I worked a little on serpentines, esp. the FIO change.  I managed a good LFIO for once, so that made me happy.

Labels: ,

Jumps, Spins, Program

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  I'd not skated freestyle since last Wednesday! Geez.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- we worked these in the places they are in the program.  Mmph.  Got one that was really nice, but the first couple were really bad.   The one at the end is tough since I seem to have issues checking the RFI3s.
  • salchow -- I was really glad to have a chance to work on these.  JJ suggested that part of my problem was that I was trying to push onto the LFO edge (for the 3) in a very different direction than I'm traveling beforehand, instead of just (DUH!) letting the LFO take me where I want to go.  So that really helped a lot.
  • waltz-toe -- just once I think, it was okay.  The toe is not really happening but the entrance is there and that's still mostly what JJ is after.
  • program -- ran this with music.  Eeep!  I am still behind at the beginning, and finished a bit late overall.  Spins were just okay at best, sal was okay, something weird happened on the waltz-toe and it just didn't happen.  Uckk.   We talked about the beginning and I think the conclusion was to shorten the BI pivot to just 3/4 of a rev and not 1 3/4 previously.  That should save me enough time to be okay, I think.
Immediately after I finished the program JJ made me take 2 laps.  Ugh!

Labels: ,

Friday, January 18, 2013

Coffee Club Zoo

I skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice -- bad move!  Apparently the Peoria coffee club was cancelled due to a hockey tournament so besides our usual gang we had about 7 more people (I counted 15 total) including a dance team.  Yikes! 

I only stayed for half an hour; ran through the Preliminary test and then spent the rest of the time on waltz-8.  Bleah.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waltz-8 & Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I warmed up with edges, scribed my circles and then did the FO8 and FI8 when Lynne came on the ice.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- as usual we spent a fair amount of time on these.  I shudder to think how much it has cost me in $ and time to get them even as good as they are now! :-(  We spent a good chunk of time just working on the BO edge and step forward (carryover from yesterday).  Managed a very amusing fall well I went over forward and managed to fall & turn over and slide out for about 8 feet! It made me laugh.  No harm done.
  • serpentines -- ugh.  Not as good as they have been, the issue was mostly lack of quality on my entry edge and not pushing hard enough.  We spent a little time at the end working specifically the FIO change of edge -- the L one is really hard :-(.  R is not so bad.
After my lesson I had a few minutes to work on BI8.  Yech, they were not great.

Labels: ,

Salchows & Spins

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • salchow -- we spent most of the lesson working on these, working on getting me to keep my weight over the left side (skating side) all during the entry and beginning of the jump.  JJ had me try doing the salchow from a mohawk entrance just to mix things up a bit, and also to land on two feet.  The light bulb came on about checking harder after the 3, to make the position similar to the toe loop entrance.  That helped a bit.
  • spins -- just a few minutes on these.  I did several that were not bad.  I was doing a better job of holding the free leg back at the entrance and also I'm doing better at getting the arms out in front of me and not being twisted.
We didn't get a chance to run the program (either one) so I am going to have to spend some serious time on them this next week.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  It was bitterly cold in the rink (pretty cold outside too) which was offputting, but oh well!

Ran through the Preliminary test, then spent a good long time working on the step forward. I think I made a little progress; we'll see tomorrow in my lesson!  Spent the last 10 minutes or so working on serpentines, specifically the FIO change since I've been struggling with that.  Ugh.  It's tough.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I had my back-3 lesson with Lynne on the 8:15 FS at Chandler as usual.  I had the ice to myself! Warmed up with some moves, then when Lynne came on the ice we did our usual forward and back 2-foot turns on the circle, then BO3s at the boards, then back out to the big hockey circle.

We worked on RBO3s.  I did a much better job of turning my darn head today, but the knee action on the turn still needs more work.  We worked on the LBO3s with Lynne holding my hand again; I actually managed a couple that were almost right.  We tried without the hand holding and I still couldn't make myself get my weight back on the blade.  Grrr.

After my lesson I worked on my free skate program elements.  I'm still struggling with the salchow.  Grr.   In general the first part of the program seems pretty okay but the second half (with the salchow and waltz-toe) is challenging.

I'm going to need to start working on the dramatic program soon also!

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Skating W/TFSC

I was down in Tucson this morning to skate with my club for the 11:15 FS.  I had an okay skate; I was kind of tired and it was quite cold (AZ and the whole West coast are having a cold snap right now) so it took me a while to warm up.

Worked a little on moves, then jumps and some program sections.  Still struggling with that darn salchow entrance in the program context.  I need to figure out why it feels so different and awkward.

Finished up with some review of back-3s since I have a lesson in the a.m.  They are about the same.  I'm really struggling to consistently turn my darn head!  Gaaah.  It's not rocket science.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Waltz-8, Serpentines, BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I had not skated in patch skates since my last lesson!  Bad, bad Gordon!  I warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, then did FO8, FI8 and one waltz-8 before we started.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- about the same.  I need to find a way to convince myself to stand up straighter (esp. on the BO edge) and lean into the circle more.  Really, my problems with this figure are mostly related to those factors, I think.  I want to practice just the step forward more and get myself to do those things.  Repetitive, I know, but that seems to be what I need.
  • serpentines -- I'm making progress on these, but now I really need to work on the FIO, especially the L one, as I'm just not getting the weight shifted all the way over.
  • BO8 -- just a couple of minutes on these.  The first ones were a little rough, but all in all not bad.
After my lesson I had about 10 minutes so I spent it on BI8.  Yikes.  They were rough, but got better.  I need a lot of work on these.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Toe Loop, Spins, Free Skate

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • toe loop -- lots of work on this, including a bunch of work just on the RFI3 (geez!). Finished up trying the waltz-toe.  I'm not doing the actual toe loop here, just going through the entry and step-through.
  • spins -- just a couple.  Ugh.  
  • free skate -- just got to run this once.   On the positive side I ran through it without stopping and didn't fall.  I was behind, though, from the beginning by several seconds.  And of course I didn't really do the toe loop in the toe-waltz.  
All in all not too bad but I am going to have to work on speed on the program, and of course the toe loop needs much more work.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


I skated Chandler coffee club again today for freestyle.  Worked on moves for about 20 minutes, then more time on toe loop and salchow.  I ran the free skate without music, with the new beginning.  I think that is the first time I've run it since August!  It was okay.  I'm curious if I would be behind or ahead, since I think the pivot takes more time than the spin did.

I was talking with Ken (adult skater & coach) after I finished my runthrough and he made a good point.  He said (paraphrased), "The minute you take the focus off of you and put it on something else is the minute you become interesting."  We also talked about projecting confidence.  I really feel like I need to work harder at this, though I also think I've made some definite strides in the last year.

Monday, January 07, 2013


I skated the Chandler coffee club today for freestyle practice.  Spent a bunch of time on toe loop entry, then spent some time working out how to change the begin of my free skate from a spin to a pivot (new rules are only 2 spins for APB free skates, and I had 3).  That took a while to figure out but it's okay (I'm using a back pivot).

Finally, I spent some time working on the salchow in the context of the program.  Ugh.  For some reason it's really difficult for me to do the jump in that context.  I am on an RFI edge and I push to an LFO and do the job, but I just don't feel like I'm in a good position for some reason.  I'm not sure what it is; I know I am going a bit faster than I'm used to but I don't think that's it.  It feels like I'm not on a good edge.  I probably need to be patient and get a better edge set up and then jump... but that would require me to be patient and that's not one of my strengths, lol!  Oh well.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Waltz-8, 3s, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test and scribed my circles, then we started.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- I had some improvement on this, mostly by SLOWING DOWN.  Unfortunately I've noticed that after the first one I keep picking up speed which makes it hard to slow down.  But, slowing down helped me to get a much better step forward.
  • 3s to center -- I'm really glad I looked at these yesterday!  I did a couple of nice ones on the L foot, not so much on the R.  Still not holding a good BI after the turn... that will take some time!
  • serpentines -- ugh.  Not as good as yesterday.  As I told Lynne, 70% of my problems with figures are, I think, because I don't have (consistently) good edges yet.  Geez.  When I can get everything set up, and if I can just push harder, I think I'll be okay on these.
A little bit frustrating today.  I feel like I know what the problems are but it's so difficult to get me to fix them! Grrr.

Labels: ,

Spins & Jumps

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  A couple more people than usual since it's the holidays, but still good conditions.

Today's lesson:
  • toe loop -- JJ is focused right now on getting me very comfortable and confident with the entry so we spent a lot of time on that.  He emphasized having the R foot come off the ice without turning it forward (direction of travel) and that I need to bend the picking leg and then, having compressed the spring, to push off it.
  • waltz-toe combination -- we just spent a couple of minutes reminding me that to set up the combo correctly (it's in the program) I'll need to strongly check the landing of the waltz jump.
  • salchow -- worked on these setting them up like in the program (pushing from the RFI edge onto the LFO into the jump).  Not so great, I still struggle to get the timing on this and not rush.
  • spins -- not much progress, still fighting to keep the free leg back and not rush the entrance.

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Whew!  I'd not skated since Monday and no patch since last week.  Yuck.

I ran through the Prelim. test, spent some more time on waltz-8, then worked on 3s to center and serpentines.  Bleah.  Very frustrated right now.