Sunday, July 27, 2014

When Rink Managers Approach...It's Bad News for Someone

Every Saturday when I go to skate public, there's the same woman in the same corner, doing the same things over and over. Yesterday, she was in the same corner doing the same things over and over, again.

As I stepped off the ice the Rink Manager came up to me and asked, "Do you know who 'that girl' is?"

I didn't have to even look. I know the regulars and their terrain, as well as I know my house. "You mean the girl who camps out in the Lutz corner and does crossovers and bad spins every Saturday? No idea who she is."

"Well, she didn't pay."

At this point the Rink Manager, myself, and my coach who joined us in the discussion, turn and look  at the miscreant.

"Kick her off the ice." I say. Not that I have a dog in the fight, but I'm willing to express my opinion.

The Rink Manager goes out on the ice in her sneakers and confronts the girl while my coach and I trade notes on my skating. A few minutes later the Rink Manager comes back to us and fills us in.

The girl hadn't paid for A YEAR. She says that since she's in LTS, she gets passes and doesn't have to pay. She failed to read the instructions. Or is lying. Or couldn't figure out why she gets only 4 passes.

You're either a crook or stupid, little skater.
So the Rink manager told her: You only get four passes and you have to turn them in to skate, and when they're gone, you have to pay.

Then the Rink Manager tells us that there are Freestyle skaters who get on freestyle and pay their coach and not the monitor, and mysteriously, the freestyle fees don't seem to always get accounted for.

It's the single most expensive freestyle in the area, and now I know why! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blade Placement Tips From Gustave Lussi

If you're not 'of a certain age', you may have never heard of Gustave Lussi. He coached Dick Button, Tenley Albright, Maria Jelinek / Otto Jelinek, Donald Jackson, Alena Vrzáňová, Ronald Robertson, Ronald Ludington, Barbara Ann Scott, David Jenkins, Hayes Jenkins, Emmerich Danzer, Dorothy Hamill, John Misha Petkevich, Scott Hamilton, Paul Wylie, and John Curry. Co-inventor of the flip jump, developer of modern jumping technique, he also developed modern program conventions, and designed the Pattern 99 blade. There's more, but do you really need more? Here's some more: the only reason triples and quads exist today is because he developed the cross-legged jump technique.

He was one of those seminal coaches who completely changed the sport, and is almost unknown today to modern skaters. But he still has good advice.

I happened to pick up his book Championship Figure Skating (C) 1951. Much of it has to do with compulsory figures, but at the beginning there's this section:
[Imagine a pair of skates] on which the blades are set to the inside of the centerline of the boot from toe toe heel. Setting the blades in this way brings the entire foot  under the body while standing on the skates, thereby strengthening and straightening the ankles....This method is logical and will not fail...Set in blades cause no harm to the foot; actually the skater will perform better with them than without because the additional support they provide will give him more self confidence. [He used this with all his students.]
I was having my old MK Pros transferred to my new boots, so I told my tech to move the blade 'in' just a smidgen.

A couple of days later I was lap skating in my boots; My new blocks of concrete boots. Don't they all feel like that the first half hour? Then I started doing 3 turns, spins, mohawks.

I have to say, I felt much more stable on the turns, and I swear stroking was easier and with more power. It was amazing.

So, for me that little experiment, and the $10 for the book was worth it!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Breaking in New Figure Skating Boots

I know what you're thinking; "She's going to post about breaking in her boots.It's going to be like  a puppy wearing socks!"

Good news, my first break in skate was actually much, much better!

I don't know how other people break in their boots, but I just strap the suckers on and lap skate. When breaking in new boots my usual experience is that I have to put in a few hours before I start doing 3 turns and mohawks. With these boots I was doing them in 30 minutes. I also did a couple of two foot spins. So, at least NOT ANY WORSE than my old boots. In most respects the boots were a perfect fit.

When I get new boots the most critical objective for the first couple of skates is trying different kinds of lace tying to get my heels deep in the counters (part 7). Right now the right boot is all the way to the top with no problems.

The boots aren't perfect. The toe boxes (part 13) press on my big toenails from above. I've had this issue with Harlicks before; I must have enormous toes. 

When  Real Skaters (TM applied for) have a boot problem, they fix it on their own. I"me planning a trip to the hardware store to find something I can stuff in the toe of the boot to push from the inside while I use my hair dryer to heat the toe up. If that doesn't work, I'm just going to take a Dremel tool and cut a hole in the boot where it presses on my toenail, and slap some Skate Tape over it.

I am so past 'pristine boots'. Ice princesses can obsess with that. I'm here to skate!

The next post will cover my blade adjustments: I take advice from the late, great Gustave Lussi and it works out fabulously! More power, more stability. Can't ask for more!