Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Sandbag Adult LTS

I feel sorry for LTS instructors, they never know what they're going to see.

I do a public session for an hour, then I have a 40 minute wait before Cruella's edge class starts. At my age 40 minutes means my legs stiffen up like a length of rebar. So I signed up for Adult LTS to keep my legs warm. After some consideration, I picked Adult 3 (so I could 'graduate' to Adult 4). Yes since I've passed Basic 8, technically this is sandbagging. I didn't see another choice since Freestyle is all jumps and spins. I will say I seriously considered taking a Learn To Play class at that time to keep the legs warm--Learn to Play in white boots with toepicks, I'm such a rebel.

There's two of us in the class Adult 3 class (the other skater is a true beginner). The coach asks for forward crossovers. I lay them down big and fast. Then the coach asks for back crossovers. I lay down some Big Girl back crosses. The coach gives me the hairy eyeball.

"Can you do mohawks?"

I do them both ways.

She then sticks the class curriculum under my nose. "Is there anything here that you can't do?"

I hang my head, "Two foot spins." Yes, it's true, I can't do a spin that most people learn in 5 minutes.
This is what my feet feel like in spins:
Heavy, frozen and totally worthless
I confess to her the reason I'm in the class and she takes it well. She alternates between getting me to do 2 foot spins and working with the other student. I'm making it harder on her to manage the class (sorry, dear, if you're reading this!) but at my age I'm willing to break the rules to move ahead.

At the end of the class I can do 2 rotations, but then I start to precess around the vertical axis and a cascading series of events ensue where I exceed the limits of the rotation and enter a failure mode--i.e. I fall. On the other hand, she's got me up to 2 rotations which is more than any other coach has, so good on ya!

So still working on 2 foot spins. Suggestions welcome.


  1. 1) Most people don't learn 2 foot spins in 5 minutes. Even a lot of kids have problems with them. You'll get there.

    2)I think it is perfectly acceptable to 'sandbag' (ha) learn to skate classes. You can always work on the skills the class is doing if it is large, and if it is small, the instructor can set your own skills (like she did). We had kids doing double jumps in our Freeskate 1-4 class! But really, when the instructor says do salchows, who cares if it is a single or a double? Everyone gets some feedback, and we all get a great deal on ice time (the cost of freestyle ice that you get as a practice session is just a little less than the cost of the the classes are close to free. Almost every freestyle skater also does LTS- now they have an 'axel' plus class, because the LTS sandbagging was getting insane.)

  2. I've been in Adult 4 for about a year and half now. It doesn't seem to bother the rink folks, means I skate at close to the same time as my daughter (Basic 5) and it's much less expensive than going private. The only time it's caused issues is when a new coach comes and doesn't realize that really I just talk to the coach and they assign me something to work on. Today was half-flip, spirals, one foot spin and half-lutz. I'm not sure those are in the adult curriculum.

    1. For USFSA Adult 4, here's the skills. So yes you're way beyond these:
      A. Forward three turns, outside and inside – R and L
      B. Perimeter stroking with crossover end patterns
      C. Forward outside to inside change of edge sequence
      D. Alternate backward crossovers with two-foot transition
      E. Footwork sequence – 3-5 forward crossovers to an inside Mohawk; 3-5 backward crossovers; step
      forward inside the circle and repeat
      F. Power three-turns – one direction only
      G. Backward chasses on a circle

  3. I'm an adult skater (age 52) and have been skating 2.5 years. I'm just now getting comfortable with 2-foot spins and getting 4 rotations consistently. I'm just now learning a 1-foot spin! Don't despair. :)

  4. I signed up for the Christmas show thinking it was a good (cheap) way to consolidate skills and possibly learn new ones. They want me to do a 2 foot spin with my arms in the air. Hmmm

    Now I'm paying for private lessons so that I can do the spin for the Christmas show. Hmmmm!

    1. I think a 2 foot spin with arms overhead can be very pretty. I wanted to do it with Death's Scythe when I was Death in a fall show, but couldn't. Maybe next year.

  5. My spins are a disaster -- and I'm technically in FS 4 (i.e. I ought to be able to do the rudiments of ALL the spins by now, as I'm heading into learning my fifth jump). I have a new coach, and she's finally got my balance sorted out by having me start from a standstill with both hands on my left hip, so that my shoulders are pre-rotated and my back is slightly arched. Because there are no arms involved in the spin at all, I can just focus on the LO edge entrance and the press into the LI edge for the spin (basically, it's the first 2/3 of a 3-turn, with a bit of a snap to get you into the spin, instead of gliding out of the 3-turn). Since my arms aren't flailing all over the place trying to "help" me keep my balance, my balance is actually better. I made huge progress in just a week that way. And, yes, she made me start over with a two-foot spin and throw everything else out, so that I could learn how to center a spin. I highly recommend trying this "no arms" method. I am almost to the point where I can do a reasonable two-fit spin now. After nearly 18 months of trying.

  6. There's multiple ways to enter a two foot spin. The way I was first taught (in the late '70s) doesn't seem too common today, but I think it's a nice way to do it at the very beginning. I'll explain it best I can, below.

    1) Find the spin spot on your blades
    Stand on two feet. Bend your knees some. Shift your weight a little bit forward and try wiggling your feet back and forth (rotating them CW and CWW, back and forth). Play around with shifting your weight forward and back until you find the "sweet spot" where it is very easy to rotate the blade back and forth. That is the spot on the blades where you want to be on your spins.

    2) Try a CCW spin
    Put your left arm and hand out in front of your body, with the elbow slightly bent, so that hand ends up in front of your chest, about 20" inches in front of your chest. (Distance will vary based on your arm length.) Put your right arm straight out to the side, at shoulder height. Check again that you are on the spin spot of your blades. Bring your right hand and arm over STRONGLY and quickly to have your two hands together. (I do fingers overlapping.) Elbows should be slightly bent on both arms. First timers typically get 1/4 to 1/2 way around the first time they try it. Try it a few more times - each time you'll probably get a bit farther around.

    3) Try a CW spin
    Same as #2, but with the arms reversed - right arm in front, left arm out to the side, bring the left arm and hand in front to initiate the spin. Give it a few tries.

    Most people will find that one direction feels much better than the other.

    Other methods for starting a two foot spin will give you more momentum to work with (and hence a faster spin), but this is gentle way to start out that keeps the body in a stable position.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Your description #2 is exactly how I do my CCW 2-foot spins. :)

  7. Thanks to everyone for the tips and techniques. I'll give them a try the next time I'm on ice and report back in a new post!