Saturday, May 11, 2019

When I Get A Compliment

A 9 year old in Freeskate 5 says:
"You're Very Graceful on the Ice"

Kids these days, they have much better manners than when I was a child. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Superfitting your Skates: Insoles

 I had a revelation at LTS tonight, So this works down to a point of useful information.

I've written previously, about how you can double your insoles to get a too wide skate to fit, or how I like to tweak Superfeet Yellow skating insoles to act as  homemade orthotics.

 I'm still a fan of superfeet insoles, but my needs have changed.

Due to the bunion-bone spur from hell, I now need more space in the toebox of my right foot, to get both my foot and my toes spacers in the boot at the same time. This means I need thinner insoles than my sturdy Superfeet.

Now you know why I.NEED.MORE.SPACE
So I opened my magic skate bag, secure in the knowledge that I would have some insoles, or pieces of insoles in there. And I did. I had 1 and a half pair leather insoles that had come out of my Harlicks or Jacksons, never worn.

 The Magic Skate Bag.

After I struggled getting the Superfeet out of my boots, I struggled to get the leather insoles in, and then my feet with the toe spacers.  THEN I GOT ON THE ICE!

With the new thin leather insoles I could finally feel my edges right down to the edge.
 I've heard of people who skated in bare feet (an experiment I'm not willing to try) and I finally  understand why that appeals to some. The sturdy Superfeet that I could make into orthotics, muted my sense of what was going on under my boots.

Will it make my skating better? Mmmm...I don't know. But as an interesting experience, it was revelatory. I look forward to a couple of more times on the ice to see what happens!! Maybe it will improve my skating

(I still have to pad a couple of spots in my boots, I have a thin lacebite pad I'm going to cut up. And my right foot needs a little tweaking in the counter, But I've had worse.)

Sunday, May 5, 2019


It's just not possible to get enough practice time where I live. I work, and the rinks are all far away, so the only way I can get enough practice time is to sign up for two LTS classes in two separate cities.

Coaches at one rink have put me in Freestyle 4, not because I'm qualified, but because I'm too good for Basic, and Freeskate 4 needs another skater in it to keep it open.
I'm Not Worthy
So, the other skaters (of about 13 y.o.) do their jumps, and the 3 of us do our footwork and spins together like a regular class. I've been skating at this rink for about 6 months, and they know what to expect when my body gets shoved onto their class roster.

However, I've been gone for so many months from LTS at my home rink (which is further away) that the coaches teaching adults have changes, and most don't know me. 
The LTS director--who knows me and was so happy to see me back--put me in Freeskate 3, with a coach who doesn't know me from anyone. And to my great sadness, I found all the adults who knew me from last year are now either coaching, or have an injury, or moved. So I'm now in a class with....'youts'
(Amusingly, the young adult skaters all know me. The coach, not at all)

So I work on my spins, and my alternating 3's, and my power threes, and my waltz 3's, and my waltz 8, and that's it.

The coach comes up to me and says, "Don't you want to jump?"

Man, I just shake my head, "Foot problems. I don't jump."

The coach looks at me seriously.
 "Then why did the skating director put you in Freestyle 3?"
Yeah, the only reason I can guess is she likes to mess with my mind!  This new coach will either get used to me, or I'll get moved around. It's not a problem, I'm just here for the ice time!


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Master a Skill. Then STOP!!

I entered a spin first minute of the lesson

Anyway, immediately afterwards as I exited the spin, very nicely thankyouverymuch, I got dizzy, so, meh,  'issues'.

And my coach did this!

 I've learned this. The first time you do a skill, and you know it isn't luck that you did it successfully, you know that you did it successfully because you.actually.have.the.skill....Stop doing it for that lesson. Let the skill sink in until the next day. The reason? You want all the neurons in your brain to save that memory as something as something you can replicate--and if for some reason it doesn't work? You'll have the memory to replicate rather than just flailing around.

I can now officially pass Pre-Free.

For Freeskate 1 all I've got left is that pecky back 3...oh, and beginner back spins.

And that packier inside 3, that bitch.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Perfection in the spin...both ways!!

Have I ever told you my theory of 'sometimes you just need to stop skating for a couple of weeks, and you'll improve"? I can't explain it. My theory is that after a period of struggle your brain needs a week or so to grow othe connections between brain cells and you'll get better. Note that I said 'after a period of struggle'. You have to have that struggle--then the pause--and then it improves.

So, what kept me out of group was a. a tornado, b. a car wreck that blocked the road c. work trip and d. I got sick after I made it to the rink. I don't give up my skating for just any reason.

Group coach was glad to see me. I'd had a sharpening, so I was testing the ice with a couple of tentative spins.Coach stood off to the side, watching as I spun to the right. "Oh that's right you spin to the right and jump  to the left."

"I don't jump at all, I spin both ways. It's my only trick" I spun to the left, without thinking much about it.

"That was really nice." Coach looked down at the ice. "Both are very nicely centered, you're perfectly balanced on your rocker in both directions, your posture and exits are  great."

I blinked.

I had entered the spins with head up, eyes forward, stomach tight, and picked up my foot next to my leg without actually being conscious of the little 'bits' I had to put together, and had been working on for so long. Two easy rotations both direction. My brain had been working while I was 'off ice'.

That was great to hear. I felt a rush.

Praise me! Praise me! I am a GODDESS !!

"You know,"Group Coach said, "If you opened your right shoulder some more, you might be able to get a third rotation on the right spin."

Man, that third spin. I need a vacation to get that thing....maybe a trip to Europe or something....


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Post...on Ice

Jesus Christ Superstar at 2013 Skate America


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Me and My "Spin Enthusiasm"

First Spin of the Day--2 rotations--the 'wrong' way

Coach: "Two well centered rotations in your weak direction..let's take a picture...You could get 3 rotations if you entered it with more enthusiasm...

Me: "What if I'm not willing to fake enthusiasm?"

Funny wants me to do FI3, it's torture... however, I can do solid beginner one foot  Inside  Rockers... (beginner meaning I have to rest my flat hand over my coach's arm--not gripping it--just a light resting).

It's inside and outside rockers, and inside and outside counters all over the center. "I haven't seen you look this enthusiastic in months," my coach says...I forebear to mention my spins....

Anyway, I haven't posted because of work, a lot of travel, and some family issues. I'm 67, and sadly your time is less and less your own as you get older, and your knees and joints take on a life of their own no matter what you want them to do. Still the blog isn't dead. It will pick up during the summer.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Cure for the Struggle of Back Threes

I've struggled with Back Threes forever.

I may struggle with them for some time to come.

What's my biggest problem? I bob forward when I make the turn and  that forces me to drop my free leg. Or maybe it's the other way around. Here's a picture.

Drinking Bird

I'm so ashamed I've spent years struggling with this.

On the other had for some reason,  this last lesson, the bobbing went away. I've still got to master the turn, but I've broken (I don't know how) the bobbing.

I'm going out to Celebrate!!


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Expressions My Coach Makes

------>(Items in parentheses are unspoken)<-------

(You did something wrong, I'm thinking of a way 
to be tactful about it)

Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.
( I don't care. ) Let's do it again anyway.

(Not bad. Not bad at all.)

That was good, let's add a mohawk in that pattern. 
I love a cute little mohawk.....
(Yes, I'm the coach, it IS all about me! )

Thursday, March 21, 2019

When Coaches Collaborate

I have two coaches: one is a group coach, the other is a private coach.

They Don't Know Each Other!

They work at rinks 90 miles apart, take students to the same competitions, go to the same LTS USA training sessions, same PSA meeting. Have never even heard each other's name.

Group Coach teaches the LTS USA curriculum
(anything between FREESKATE 1 and 4)
in group

Then Private Coach asks me what I learned in Group--
So she can go over them!

Those 2 kids, they're her other students that skate around me and get in my way.

 Though honestly, sometimes I just want to lie so I don't have to do Back Inside 3's....again.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Competition and Performance Makeup for the Male Skater

Now every woman skater knows that if her coach says "for this performance lay the makeup on thick," you should be prepared for more makeup than you normally wear.

Nice but this still needs darker lipstick
And for skaters with darker complexions
This is from a stage makeup tutorial
You going to be 20+ feet away from your audience, moving fast, rotating, jumping, not going to a cotillion to be presented to society. Don't be shy, Be bold. If you have no experience, find someone who can help.
But guys? IDEA!

The coach says, "If you don't wear any make up your face will just look like a blob  out there on the ice. The lights will be so bright your face will wash out."

Most guys may get some help from a friend or relative and come up with something like this as a first attempt...
 "Damn," he thinks, "I look good"

Then the coach takes him aside, "No, heavier!"

I should say, that in my last 'performance' I used dollar store makeup. I was on ice for about 60 seconds as a slutty bombshell. I lathered makeup on. Then I topped it off with some sparkly stuff someone loaned me from her make up kit. 

The rest of my makeup came off, but that sparkly stuff stayed on there for DAYS!!. I flew across country leaking sparkles on airplane upholstery. Men of my age openly stared at me. I eyeballed the cute one and said, "Stage make up. Won't come off. Ice Show." Okay ladies, if you're single and you don't want to be, this has to be on of the best "Hey there" lines ever. Oh, and if you want to meet some widowers of my age, go to the Social Security Office and get in line before the door opens. Dress up, and put on the sparkly make up. You've got the line there, just waiting for you.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

So you're in Group. Play Group Skills Lesson Bingo

Create a card for everyone in group.  The one below is an example. Check off what the coach has you do or what the coach says. If your coach has favorite sayings, throw those in too.

  Click here for the page to make more bingo cards.  You can make as many cards as you need for your group and even customize them for your level of skating. The card maker will mix up the order in columns and rows.

I think this can be fun for adult groups of maybe Basic 6 and above. Just don't tell the coach.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I Jump from Pre-Free to Freeskate 4---It's not a miracle

Remember how my groups have varied from just me to just two or three? Well, this time it was 6 kids. And they have yet to learn mohawks. So I murmur to the coach, "Okay, I'm better than them, at least for the next two weeks." Yeah, she laughs....Because , as we all know, kids will learn faster and get better and be working on their axels while I'm still struggling with a sit spin.

This may be my only sit spin

So, my advice is if you're in my situation, an advanced adult skating with a group of kids, get yourself way far away from the group to practice. It lets the coach give them more attention, and you can work on your own skills. The kids were learning 3 turns--I was doing alternating 3s. They were learning mohawks--I was doing chains of mohawks. They're learning spins. I'm spinning both ways. This coach knows me, and it gives her a chance to focus on the new learners.

Anyway, after group  was over the coach came up to me and said, "We'd like to move you to Freeskate 4."

Man, I knew it wasn't because I'm . just . that . good.

It's because they have a Freeskate 4 class with Just.One.Student.

Oh, that poor girl. She's working on her half loop and flip, and here I come--working on forward and backward spins, a butt load of footwork (okay, I can do that), back threes, and edge pulls--to catch up to her level.

But Semi-Private Lessons?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

There's a Story Behind This Sign--it could be any rink

I love the ALL CAPS line. 
Maybe that should have been the first one.

This sign was brought to you by a skater on, where this and many other many amusing and informative posts are brought to you every day. 

Want a place to ask questions and advice about skating?  How to leave a coach? What boots to buy? How to fit a boot? All those and many more. Skatingforums is a forum with moderators that allows you to post anonymously in a moderated posting environment.

Share your questions, research our decade of posts to find answers and solutions to your skating issues. All this in both public and private threads. Join us at today.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Chaos Today on Public Ice

 Today's rink

8 Birthday Parties

Two teams of Mites in full hockey gear

Unknown number of people skating because it's raining and the parents want the kids out of the house because they can't stand the screaming and the ice rink is the only place available where screaming is allowed

16 people who know how to skate

One rink guard

 At one point there were so many people on ice she just threw her hands in the air and devoted herself to defending the center. I've never seen any other rink guard do that.

Only one person got through--and that was an adult who skated past me--with a combined expression of terror and embarrassment while I was doing spins (because I gave him 'the look')--but not one other hockey mite, dimwitted ice tourist, or  kid who refused to look up from staring at the ice. My lesson was bliss....
 My rink has code names for staff--We've named her--
Wonder Woman

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Blinding Spins with Science

Let's just say, I'm taking my own 'direction' in improving my spins. 

My left hip bursitis can't stand much repetitive motion, and my right great toe has arthritis and can't stand repetitive practice either. I can't practice in one direction over and over, so I now alternate to take the load off.

Fortunately, when I practice spinning to the right, I've noticed that my spins to the left improve. This is based on some solid science: when you work on a skill or strength on one side it improves the weak skill and strength of the opposite side of the body. In my case, what's happening is the flaws in one side are improving due to the better skills on the other, so that my spins are averaging into mirror images of each other.

If I spin to the right: I get two rotations. Immediately, I spin to the left: I get two rotations, and my  free foot and leg position have improved. When I spin to the right, in the opposite direction, I already have good free foot position, but my skating leg position and strength improve. 

   The two sides of my body working together
But OMG are my spins sLoW....
 but I'm making progress and feel secure

Then Group coach wants me to do alternating inside outside spirals
She says I'm 'close' to a passing position 
I think she's just being nice.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

I'm a skating mentor!!!

So, a married couple I know approached me about helping them get ready to learn to skate.

I've already sent them a list of times of local LTS classes, with advice on schedules and publics for practice ice. It's their choice of course due to their location and personal schedules, but it's a good first start.

I'm trying to find a source of boots because my old tech has had a shop issue due to a lease problem. I'm still trying to get hold of him.

 I'm making a list of skating protection and head protection, encouraging them to get gel ankle sleeves, wrist guards and Katstrapz and the half dozen things you want to have in your bag.  Have them handy because you will.need.them. And the Mrs is going to get my old Ice Halo.

Oooh, and they'll need skate bags. But, I won't give advice on that. Bags are way too personal and I'm sure they already have sport bags and it's way too early for Zuca's.

But FINALLY I will have someone to unload all my extra gloves on!!

Let me go open the glove cabinet to get them out!


Monday, February 11, 2019

Passing footwork in LTS USA: I never have to do that again!

I told my coach that I had passed "Crossover, crossover, mowhawk,step behind, back cross, step forward into the circle" and "As GOD IS MY WITNESS..(you may remember this from last week)...

I never have to do that again!

My coach raised up one finger. I know that look in her eye. I KNOW THAT LOOK! She was going to tell me to demo it. I JUST KNEW!

I raised my hand up to stop her directions. "No," I said, "I'm not doing it . No, never ever. It is done, dead, gone behind me, passed away, raised up to heaven, lying checked on St Peter's checklist of stuff I have passed in LTS USA. Buried under the center circle not to be resurrected  until you and I are in lead coffins in Veteran's Cemetaries someplace. That kind of dead. Fini."

"But," my coach artfully paused, " I wasn't going to ask you to do that. No, no, not at all. What about crossover, crossover, mohawk, .... back three. ....
That's completely different. Isn't it?"


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Falling backwards

I was doing a forward edge pull--as a coach once told me it's 'the dangerous one'--and fell on my lower back and the back of my head.

Male Figure skaters came from all over the rink to check me out -- it's been a long time since I've been surrounded by that many men

Fortunately, I had my head protection on, my pad in the hat, and while the blow did sting, and I was just laying there thinking about how nice and relaxing it was resting on the ice, when all the men appeared (3 of them) . At that point, even though I was thinking I should get up, once there was all those men I had to then them help me up and fuss. I rattle off the president, the time, my name, my coaches name and how much my lesson cost. My retinas were also the same size. So I was good. 

The part about this I want to mention is that when a person hits the back of their head, there is a second blow. The hit at the back slams the brain forward in the skull to the inside of the skull in the front. This is called contrecoup

Source: Contrecoup
So, even though I had head protection, I decided to sit it out for a half hour just in case there was a contrecoup. My head didn't ring, and I wasn't going fast, so when my lesson  I got back on the ice. I didn't have any problems with it over the next few days. No headache, nothing. I got lucky.

However, I landed on my pelvic iliac crest and seem to have bruised the bone. That's been a pain in the butt for weeks! Physical therapy, pain killers, heat. What did I learn?

Sometimes, it's not the head, it's the Butt!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Adult Skaters in Kid's FreeSkate

How the adults see the kids

 How the kids see the adults


Monday, February 4, 2019

I Have a Glarey Little ice

As I was taking off my boots, I heard the dread clink of 
of my blade stepping on on something metal


Friday, February 1, 2019

Magical Boot Cleaning

How do you get black marks off your tan or white boots?  Or even if you have them, custom boots of custom colors?

Case Study
Black Marks on Boots

I don't know how you tackle this, but this is what I use.
A Magic Eraser!

Take a damp Magic Eraser and rub it over the black spots
It will take about a minute to get rid of them all over the boot  unless you have unusually heavy marks

 All gone!

And easy enough that you can do it every time you skate!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Almost Free of Pre-Free

I have passed all but one of the Pre-Free Skills.

Can you guess which one is left?

Oh, of course you can, it's the spin.

But as God is my witness, I will
never have to do that crossover, crossover, mohawk,
step behind, back cross, step forward into the circle
I admit only people over the age of 50
will recognize this picture and
remember the original quote.
So for a moment let's turn back to the spin. 

Me talking to my left spin

I'm not really getting anywhere on the left spin. I got issues. I tend to naturally put my weight on my right foot and while I can spin to the left, I'm stuck.  

So just messing around , I spin to the right. I'm better spinning to the right on one foot when I haven't  practiced it for more than five minutes in the last month, than I am after hours of practice spinning to the left in months.  The group coach gives me a couple of tips and it gets better.

My right spin talking to me
 So in order to pass Pre-Free, I'm going to have to switch sides.