Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pat Yourself on the Back...on Ice

Here's the deal. It often seems that there's 4389 things to learn in figure skating and I know 12.

That's the effect of only looking forward at the things I don't know and never look back at the things I do know.

I realized the other day, that as long as I only look forward, it seems I'll never get to the end. I'll always be disappointed with my skating because there will only be things that I need to learn.

What about things I know? Why don't they count?

This came to mind the other day when I realized that for weeks I had been doing progressives--good progressives--without thought. They were as natural as stroking.

And speaking of stroking, my double knee bend is just fine thank you very much.  

This time last year I couldn't spin to save my life. Now I'm doing it with ease and without hesitation.

I've got killer crossovers. My three turns are solid. I'm seriously working on skills that I wouldn't do 6 months ago.

I'm progressing.

I bet you are too.

Go For It!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

You're A Real Skater When...

You Ask Your Coach to Teach You Something You're Scared of and Rotten At And Have Been Avoiding For Years...
 ...Hello, back threes

I am no where near this...come back in a few weeks to see where I'm going with it

You're Working On Your Axel Free Leg Position When You Don't Expect to See An Axel in the Next Decade

How I'll Feel When I Get An Axel--Even Once--Even On A Harness

So Far No One's Said I'm Crazy!
(Except Possibly an Orthopedic Surgeon Who said, "You're, what? 57? Give it up Already." That was 7 years ago.)


Saturday, July 25, 2015

How To Stuff a Zuca

This little trick will save your skates, by changing the way you stuff your Zuca.

When I had my old suitcase, it was easy to curve the stuff around the skates as they laid flat in the suitcase. But now, the skates go upright in the Zuca, and I end up piling stuff on top of them.
How people Put Skates in the Zuca
 You'd think with all the pockets and mesh on the Zuca, I could stuff something somewhere else than the center area.

But I'm really organized. I've lost so much stuff over the years, I have a mesh bag with pockets and I zip my important stuff in there. Like a nurse in surgery,who checks the surgery sponge pockets to make sure no sponges get left in the patient; I look in the bag pockets to make sure nothing gets left on the bench. Sadly it's kind of bulky and doesn't fit in the Zuca small storage areas on the outside.
Real Simple Lingerie Bag
Wrist Guards in the center pocket, stockings and gel tube on one end, gloves and elastics in the other. If it's not in the bag, I search until I find it. You cannot believe how much money this has saved me.

With the skates sitting on blades method of Zuca stuffing, the bag has to go on top of the leather shafts of the skates. There's no place else to put it. And if you want to put your jacket in the Zuca, it will rest on the shafts tops too. What to do?

Step 1. Rotate the boots so they're on their backs
2. Stuff the boots into the open Zuca so they're resting on their backs, with the blades at the handle side of the opening.

 3. Rest your jacket, bag of stuff, or whatever on the skates, the stuff will be mostly on the eyelet part of the shaft of the boot, some of it on the toes. Nothing really heavy here.

4. Advantage? The open end of the boot shafts are not blocked,  so the skates can air out!

5. When you get to the car. put the Zuca in so it's resting on its back, and unzip the flap! Your skates will now air out faster since nothing is blocking the inside of the skate!

6. When you get home, zip up the Zuca flap and take it in the house. Lay the Zuca on its back, open the flap and let the skates continue to air out.

Friday, July 24, 2015

When I'm In Over My Head--On Ice

I missed the first two sessions of LTS where the skating director (for some insane reason) has put me in Freestyle 2. Anyway, I showed up this week and introduced myself to the freestyle coach. So the rink rotates coaches through Freestyle LTS, and this session it's the technical jump coach. 

I don't jump. I barely spin....but I'll try anything where there's at least one foot on the ice.  The coach said, "Don't worry, I teach all levels."

She has  us working on our axel snap and turn (at the boards--THANK GOD) and then we transition to doing the snap and turn with the freeleg in the 'h' position,  on a three turn. It takes a few tries, but I can do it. It's not pretty,  but all my leg bits are in the general area of correctness.

Then the coach takes out a squeaker--you know, the kind they put inside dog toys--and sticks it to the inner front of her thigh. If you do your legs cross correctly in the jump (she demonstrates), the back of the crosing thigh will press on the squeaker and you'll know you're in the right position. 

Then the coach says, "But, to get that crossed leg position, you need to point your toes together or the cross won't be correct." She demonstrates a two foot spin with pigeon toes. The other skaters laugh and a couple demonstrate their foot position problems for the spin.

The coach turns to me and asks, "Can you spin?"

I don't even think about it, I rip off a perfect two foot three rotation spin, with the toes correctly pigeoned in.

The other skaters, who have put up with my spin learning process in the previous session,  burst into spontaneous applause.

WTF the coach was thinking about this, no idea.

And if I've got any of the technical bits wrong...sorry, I'm in over my head!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How I Feel .....

When I'm in Basic Skills Group Along with the Coach

 When I'm In Freestyle


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Do You Have Fans? I Do. Tiny Fans.

So I'm doing some backward stroking and a little boy of all of 8 sort of stumble skates up to me on rentals and says:
"You're so good."
Then 10 minutes later, another little boy of the same age stumble skates up to me while I'm working edge pulls. and says:
"You're so good."

First off, why can't any of my male fans be at least in their late 50's?

I tell this to my coach, Miss Bianca, and she related the time she was practicing a program that was not going well, and when she got off the ice a woman said to her, "Oh, that was so beautiful."

If you've done any skating at all you've probably had moments like this. If you're like me, inside you may feel like this:

But, really, at my age, I take my compliments where I finds them! So be nice and say "Thank You!" Don't go into how you messed up or anything. Just enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ready for a Challenge?

These boots are the ultimate in skating bling. The fact that they are black boots for a woman ice dancer make them even more amazing. Breaking traditions for the sake of art. Really. Amazing. Boots.

And they look beautiful from any angle. ANY ANGLE.

Are you ready for the challenge? Can you top these boots?

I can imagine you at home going:

You sure?


Here goes!

Did I not say they were AMAZING FROM ANY ANGLE!

Are you ordering a gross of crystals and super strong glue yet? Because I think these are fantastic!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Things No One Tells You About Ice Dance

Trying to Get into Spanx so you Fit Into Your Test Dress

What It's Like to Practice a Dance Pattern On Public

The First Time Your Coach Approaches and Puts You in Waltz Hold

That Moment Your Coach says You Have Enough Power, Edges, and Consistency to Test

How You Feel About the Dance The Day After Your Test

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Breaking the 3 Rotation Spin Barrier

I've noticed over at that a lot of beginner skaters like myself are woe-is-me about getting more than 3 rotations in a spin. I just finally got my first 4 rotation spin, and I thought I'd continue posting about my exploration of my spin development.

A week ago I wrote about slowing down my spins so I could get a better sense  of what was impeding my spins. In my first experiments I discovered two things:
  1. I need to enter the spin with a definite inside edge
  2. I needed to make an in boot adjustment.
So that got me consistent 3 rotation spins.

I mean, I know people who do much, much better than that, so what am I doing wrong?

I have a patented method of dealing with things like this. When I try, and try and nothing gets better...

So, what's the opposite of the inside edge? The outside edge!

I started working on entering the 3 turn into the spin with a deeper outside edge. I've got lazy foot, so my outside edges are more like outside flats. Once I started focusing consciously on deepening the outside edge my transition to the inside edge got better. Three tries in and I hit my first four rotation spin!

Form may not be all that great, and four rotations make me dizzy, but I finally broke the four rotation wall!

Yeah, whatever. Still have four rotations.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Figure Skating is a No Treat Zone

This weekend Miss Bianca turns to me and says, "I want you to show me your pre-bronze moves forward and backwards crossovers."

This exercise has the skater do forward crossovers in a figure 8 pattern, followed by a swing mohawk into a figure 8 pattern in back crossovers.

The skater has to do it with flow and power, and Miss Bianca likes to see smoothness with consistent rhythm.

So this is what I do.
1. Forward crossovers with a really nice underpush--including the part where the free leg slides right up against the skating leg.
2. Double swing change edge mohawk 
3. Smooth, consistent back crosses with extended freeleg on the underpush

"Well, do it again," Miss Bianca says, "Those counter-clockwise back crossovers need work."

No word about the double swing change edge mohawk, or the really nice forward crossovers. I feel like...Lisa Simpson.

But that's not the figure skating way. If you do it right, the coach just moves on and fixes what is wrong.

In figure skating the response to doing it right is silence.

And if you do it right. You don't even get a cookie! 

So here's the thing, no matter how well you do something, in figure skating there's only 'Let's move on...' to something harder!

Hi five! Now let's work on your balancing on your front legs!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

How I feel when.....

Some kid grabs my blade guards and walks off with them

I'm practicing an off-ice  layback

I'm trying to manage my iphone with my gloves on

I try to get into the rink at 530 am for freestyle

Happy 4th of July! At The Rink

Thursday, July 2, 2015

You Know You Skate Too Much #5

When You Sneak Out Early on the Day before July 4

And It's not to Do This!