Saturday, September 27, 2014

When I'm Skating For the First Time in a Month

The new Harlicks went back for an adjustment, so I'm now skating in a 5 year old pair of boots that don't quite fit (my feet have changed). It's a daunting experience.

Let's add everything up....metaphorically.

This is How I Want my boots to feel
But I haven't skated in a month.
I can't
find my edges.

And my feet hurt from not skating.

Add on top of that, I'm in boots stiff enough
"for doubles"
And I've got some fit fixes going on.
So my foot position is a little different


I'm doing this with my boots.
Then Coach says:

"Let's work on your Forward Inside 3s."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When You've Just Had Your Blades Sharpened

First Thirty Minutes on the Ice

Second Thirty Minutes

Beginning of the Second Hour

Second Half of the Second Hour

 Third Hour
Fortieth Hour


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sometimes I Should Just Keep My Mouth Shut

Saturday I had a lesson with Miss Bianca for the first time in over a month.  I caught her up on what I'd learned at Lake Placid.

When I told my Home Coach that Paul Wylie said
My Left Mohawk was "Very Good"

"Now, what about the *right* one?"

When I told my Home Coach that Natalia Dubova said
My Forward Crossovers were "Very Nice"

"Well, what about the *back* ones!"

When I Showed My Home Coach my Bunny Hops that I could now do in my new Boots That I couldn't Do BEFORE

"OH,  you have a bunny hop."

Then she made a few remarks about Jillian Michaels' style of coaching, and we got down to serious business.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

When Superfitting Boots Isn't the Long Term Answer

I loved my new full custom Harlicks. Things I had trouble with for years, these boots allowed me to learn in minutes. Sadly, the right boot was too wide in the forefoot and heel.

However, although I was able to superfit the right boot so it  fit, after a week at Lake Placid I knew that once I broke it in, there would be no where to go once the leather broke in. So sadly, I went back to my fitter, he remeasured my feet and sent the boots back to Harlick's so they can replace (not just rebuild) the right boot.

You're wondering what I had to do to get the right boot to fit. Here it is.

This is how I layered my insoles from
top to bottom.
The foam compressed so it wasn't as deep as it appears.
The foam was good for keeping the boot comfortable, and
it was easy to cut.
Plus a gel tube.
I know this looks daunting, but it made THE BOOT FIT! And it was amazing to skate in. But as we all know, as the skates broke in, I would have had no way to make it fit, so back to Harlick's it went (along with the perfect left boot because that's what Harlick requires).

So, what am I skating in now? An old pair of Harlicks that I had lying around. They were too stiff for me when I bought them and now are too narrow. I'll superfit them by cutting the forefoot open, and doing some other things to the toebox make room for the big toe on my left foot.  I handled the stiffness by skipping the eyelet at the ankle, so it's just like having a flex notch.

I skated in the old Harlicks today and lasted 45 minutes...yeah, way too narrow, but I was doing bunny hops and spins. It's just that my feet hurt so much I couldn't stay on the ice, but I could skate just fine.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Figure Skating Test Face

(I can't believe I never posted this back when I was still testing!)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Language of Skating

A  non-skating friend asks you "So what'd you do yesterday?"

You say:
"I was in program on freestyle when this kid kept getting in my way. I was wearing the belt and everything, and my music was playing! She wasn't even looking but would just stop in front of me to practice a backspin during my jump approaches.  It happened 3 times during my program until my coach went to her coach to get her to stop and the music monitor gave me a do over. I'm also flutzing so bad my coach is thinking of dropping that from my program."

What your friend hears...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bunny Hops

I have a Bunny Hop!

I'm taking a poll.

When I tell you that I finally have learned how to Bunny Hop, which image do you want to see that represents your feelings to that:

a. Bored Man Yawning "I can do that"

B. Adorable Fluffy Bunny Yawning "I can do that"

C. OMG!!!! You can do a Bunny Hop! Those things are scary as crap!

Anyway, with the new boots I finally had enough support from the extra wide tongue to do things I never could before.  It took a coach about ten minutes to teach me, then I did bunny hops around the rink.

The next day I had bunny butt. All those hops can really make a girl sore!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Coach: New Crossovers

One of the super-frustrado things about skating is that every time adults work with a new coach the new coach wants to fix some basic skill.

For some skaters it's a three turn or a swing roll or a choctaw. Every time I work with a new coach they want  to fix my crossovers.
When coaches see my crossovers

Anyway, I stepped off the ice on the first day at Lake Placid, in the first hour and there was this neat, dark haired woman about my age, standing in the hockey box. "Natalia Dubova!" I squealed like total fan girl. "I have your videos. I'm working my way through them!"
Natalia Dubova

Naturally, I signed up for her group skating classes. Her approach to skating is what I would call 'studied'. Careful and deliberate practice, building on a strong basics. There's a lot of crossover work in her group classes. It almost seems to be a foundational skill from which she builds all the other skills.

She looked at us crossovering in a big circle and passed tips on to each one. Some were particularly critical. Then she looked at me and said:

"Very nice."


Okay, TAKE THAT! every other coach I've ever skated with who tried to 'fix' my crossovers! TAKE THAT!

Natalia Dubova said my crossovers were "Very nice." 

(Okay, 'Very good,' would have been better, but I'M HAPPY WITH "VERY NICE"!)

Of course a couple of hours later another coach saw my crossovers and tried to 'fix' them.  I just can't win.....

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jeremy Abbott--Mensch

In skating when we fall, we get up.

In competition, when we fall, we get up, and then we keep competing.

youTube contributor Mintaka Alnilam has done a split screen comparison of Jeremy Abbott's SP at National and at the Olympics where he had that horrific fall.

It's instructive that when he decided to keep on skating he swung into his program to give his best performance for the audience and the judges.

There's only a couple of places where he's even close to the choreography that was planned for the program. He was improvising throughout, and he.kept.competing. In Yiddish that would be a 'mensch', that is, a person of integrity and honor as well as possessing strength of character.

Here then is the comparison of the two programs split screen.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Snapback Sunday: What you think depends on where you stand

How Freestyle skaters view Ice Dancers

How Ice Dancers believe  Freestylers think

How everyone else sees synchro

How Coaches View the Lot of Them
How kid skaters view adult ice dancers
My view of kid skaters

What Rink Management Thinks About the Skaters

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Toe to Toe Mohawks--the Tomahawk

So you all have heard of mohawks, and most of you have heard of choctaws--as turns. I know you've wondered "Why are these turns names after Native American tribes?"  According to The History of Figure Skating, there were Mohawk and Choctaw tribal demonstrations (including tribal dance) in London, UK one year (probably the late 1700's). The steps of the dancers were considered to resemble certain figure skating turns. Since the intersection of the theater going community and the skating community in London was probably only a few hundred well off people, the names for the terms must have passed word of mouth within a couple of years until they are the accepted terms.

Let's look at the inside mohawk: Stroke onto the inside edge, bring the heel to the center of the skating foot, switch feet, and you're going backwards.
Note that the mohawk is done on a single circle
But what if you do a turn so that you do a toe-mohawk. That is, a turn where you stroke onto the inside edge, then bring the free foot TOE FIRST and do the turn.

Take a minute to get your head around that idea.
 Coach Amazing taught me these. I think hockey players may use them. Coach Amazing calls these "Tomahawks". Toe to toe mohawks, get it? After a few minutes of practice I'm doing what I'll call 'mohawk circles'--inside tomahawk into a back inside mohawk (inside step forward), repeat. It's a nice little exercise. 

I don't know if the tomahawk could be used in a footwork sequence, but it's a fun thing to learn and to do in order to work on your skills.

Coach Amazing also taught me 'the Iroquois', which is a counter-like Tomahawk. 
Is this how you feel?
(I don't remember why Coach Amazing picked the term Iroquois. I looked it up in Wikipedia and both the Mohawk sand the Iroquois were members of the Six Nations  so it may be that.)

 This is really deep-skating, even though these may seem inconsequential steps. This is working towards exploring every entry edge and exit, not just the 'traditional ones'. I suppose she'll teach me all of them eventually!