Saturday, July 30, 2016

Nick Perna Edge Seminar

Last week, we had an adult skater Edge Seminar at my rink coached by Nick Perna of Fairfax Ice Arena and for some of the adult skaters the rink. There were 13 of us ranging from Basic 8 to Gold, ages 22 to 67.  I was the one to set up the seminar, so I asked him for an Edge class rather than a more traditional jumping class. (I also told him half the class was over 60!)

Nick Perna – PSA Master Rated National, International, and
World Coach teaching in Fairfax, VA, World-renown pole harness expert
There was two hours on ice and one hour off ice (covering what Nick calls the  Four Basic Edge Positions).

He started us with swizzles. Yes, swizzles. Forward and back--but with a twist. The goal with the swizzles was to do it with a crunch or rip of power. And then to do the swizzles in different patterns, for example, two long swizzles followed by three crisp ones. Or in the shape of double petaled flowers.  Let's just say, if you've taken swizzles for granted, and can't get a crunch on them, this was a great way to warm up. He then took us through using other techniques suitable for adoption as an on ice warmup--always with a focus to developing the 'crunch of power' where we needed it and when we wanted it.

The two hour class built up through various techniques to build power and edges. At one point he had us balancing on the blade of one foot then pulling into a back edge from a dead stop. And another using toepicks (easy), to walking on the heels of your blades (not so easy!) in order to get us able to use the entire blade, and not just the part we were used to using.

I do have an example of his crossover lesson he gave us (from a seminar  for coaches in Memphis). We also had to do forward and backwards crossovers with both feet on the ice (thank goodness I'd done this before!) And much, much more!

Everybody had a good time. But even an edge seminar is harder than you'd expect. There were people splatting all over (I went down 3 times!) And you know what they say: If you're not falling you're not working hard enough! AND WE WERE ALL WORKING HARD!

Anyway, if you want to see his coaching and coaching of other top level American coaches, please use my affiliate link to sign up over on!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blog Problems

The Ice Doesn't Care is getting hammered by Russian crackers. At some point Blogger will raise the issue of 'too much traffic' for a hobby blog.

If I have to shut it down, I'll try and transfer everything to another blog.

Maybe the Russians think this is Hilary Clinton's email server and are trying to follow Trump's suggestion to crack it.

I may look like her, but I'm not her.

My message to the Russians...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When Coach Calls Me Out


She says, as I'm packing up my boots

And then I gracefully exit the rink...

(I promise, as God is my witness, that I will someday stop bitching about my spins)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Coach Expressions

When She Watches Me Do My Spins

(outer face)

(inside face)

When Coach wants me to stop 'overthinking' things

(outer face)

(inside face)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Spin Surrender

I give up fixing my natural direction spins.

I've been trying to do my 1 foot spins in the 'right' direction for weeks.

I can rip off some darn good two foot spins in the 'good' direction, but can't lift the free foot.

Today I showed my coach where I was, then I did it the opposite direction (which I haven't done in months).

One foot spin right off.

Well centered.


Terrific exit.

Only 1 1/2 rotation.

My coach looked at it. And again and again as she had me repeat it.

So I am officially dropping that stupid natural side spin.....I've gone to the Dark Side of opposite jump and spin directions. I now spin for TeamEvil.

MEH, it's not like I'm going to compete at World's or anything. I surrender.

It's going to be a loooonnng time before that creepy feeling goes away though.

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Moment of Glory

After LTS practice ice, Dance Coach normally announces "Time to Get Off Ice!" But for group this week he was on vacation.

Someone had to announce in his stead, so one of the lady coaches told everyone to get off.

I didn't think people were moving fast enough, so I turned to the coach. "Hey, can I try?"

"Sure," she said, not expecting much.

I should explain that I learned how to do 'command voice' in the military.  It's a technique of projecting your voice across the parade ground to a. gain attention, b. clearly enunciate commands, c. stir people to action.

It's really, really loud.



I'm surprised some of the younger skaters didn't fall off their feet.

When I turned around all the skaters in adult freestyle were standing with their mouths open.

I still got it!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Have a Date With an Advil

We had a substitute group coach tonight. She's one of those tall, slender, beautiful, flexible, talented, well spoken, articulate, multi-lingual, thoughtful, kind, encouraging, well organized coaches with tons of skills to teach us.
Actually, not so much 'hate' as
From the first minute of class, she started us off some simple edge exercises,  that morphed into edge exercises with spread eagles, that further morphed into edge exercises followed by spread eagles followed by toe pickiness. This changed into alternating 3s, followed by 3s into spread eagles, followed by 3's into spread eagles followed by toe pickiness. Followed by back edges in to spread eagle step forwards with toe picking to a back edge followed by one foot hops in there someplace. Followed by scratch spins with arms over head. Followed by back crossovers leaning deep, really deep inside the circle then turning forward in a two rotation twizzle.
Shit, honey, that's figure skating for you
At one point she tried to teach me a toe loop. I'm elderly, carrying an extra 60 pounds, and on Medicare. I said 'no thank you' and pleaded my bursitis. But thanks for believing in me.

When I was leaning on the boards catching my breath, a coach I know looked over from her class and snickered. "She's really putting you guys through the wringer." No kidding. Even the gold skaters threw off their jackets and were gasping for air.

Stop whining honey, this is figure skating.
It goes with the territory
 The only one not affected was our male silver ice dancer who was gliding along, doing the exercises with more sprezzatura than I would have believed possible in a man born after the 18th century.

And of course we all loved it.

When group was over I got out of my boots and ran to the car to get one of those reddish brown lenticular pain destroyers and swallow it down.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Awkward Moments.1

When I'm on Freeskate and the
 Junior Sychro team has an informal practice

When the group coach is assigning something hard
 and looks away from me for a moment

The irrational problems I worry about when I practice spins

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Week of July 10

Yes, I'm shallow

It's like an infection or something. Jo over at JoSkates had it too! I've got it two days this week including one day when I have group. And another day week after next too.

Anyway, jury duty would be more fun if it was like figure skating judging.

Prosecutors in tight fitting costumes....yeah, that's an idea. ;-)

Anyway, I read the manual, and the federal guidelines, so if I get picked I am off to do my solemn duty to the best of my ability.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Marker(s) of Doom Disappear

Over the last couple of weeks I've witnessed coaches loan their precious markers OF DOOM to another coach. And as they hand it over, they say in a plaintive voice: "I want it back."

They know they'll never see it again. Inside they feel the immutable loss of their own personal Marker of Doom.

I never see a Marker of Doom being returned; it makes me wonder what happens to them

Friday, July 8, 2016

Pumps on the Straight

At group last night this session's coach is Dance Coach. "Okeey," he says, "Is anyone working on leevals?" Blank stares from us. He says, "Leevels. You know, Freesket leeval 1, Freesket leeval 2?"
Does this look like your group too?
So Dance Coach started us with pumps on the straight. Unlike pumps around a circle, where you only pump on one side, the pumps on the straight are alternating. You look straight ahead, get deep in the knees, pump right , pump left. The trick is, you hold your arms like this:
Without the weights, and with the hands meeting at the center
We did it forward and back. Easy-peasy. And I just want to mention all my lap skating has made me strong and powerful enough to keep up with the better, younger skaters. So *take that* old age and the prospect of death.

Then we do it forward and back with the pumping foot raised once it reaches the stable straight foot. At this point you slightly move your hands across your chest opposite of the free foot so the slight shift of your arms offsets the imbalance cause by the raised free foot.

At this point you have work your core muscles a tiny bit more, and focus on your balance because your arms aren't spread out to do all the work for you.

Next we get to the heart of the exercise, we do forward and backwards cross rolls with our arms in this constrained position. Now the timing and offset of the hands becomes more critical. (I *still* can't do back cross rolls because of the whole back-step-behind-going-backwards thing, so I just did the exercises on back edges.)

Overall, a great exercise to improve balance, edging, knee bend and focus. I can see why this exercise comes from an ice dancer, because you need to be able to do all your skating in hold, and this is a way to practice the skills for that.

Then Dance Coach makes all the other skaters work on their sit spins. He gives me the eye, "Do two foot sit spin."

Yeah, I can do a two foot sit spin.

I kind of don't want to know how low did I go, because I suspect it's not all that low. Oh, woe.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hitting the Wall...on Ice

I hit the wall tonight during group. Skating along doing my edge studies as part of the group, the BLAM! I hit the wall. And I was really zipping along across the rink, until suddenly there wasn't anymore rink!

I'm not sure how it happened. A toepick was involved, and then something else, and maybe this-that-or the other. Anyway, suddenly I'm lying flat on my back at the boards.

If you give me time, I'll just roll over dig that toepick in and push myself up.
But, noooooo. Suddenly Dance Coach is there and Lady Bun, and Miss Cheerleader all pulling me up from the ice. I felt like my 92 year old mother muttering "I can do it. Just give me a moment."

And then I realize..... It's nice to be pampered.

Go on grab my arms and haul me on up to my feet! I'll let you!

My coach, on the other hand, would just tell them to stop enabling my dependence. Of course, my coach is my age!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Oh....Dear....God.......on Ice

From the freestyle rules at a rink near me:

"Strollers, Snugli's, or child type carriers are not allowed on the ice or in the monitors box during any work session. They are allowed in the players bench area only."

Let's imagine we're at this rink, then someone brings a stroller onto freestyle. What's your reaction?



Skating Director

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Terror of Back Step Behinds

I'm trying to learn step behinds while going backwards. My coach, quite rightly, has an obsession with these in a pattern: Mohawk, step behind backwards (stroke), step-over backwards, turn forward. 

I've done these a few times successfully: But to do them, I have to hunch forward in terror, convinced that if I don't hunch I'm going to fall backward and kill myself.

What do back steps behind look like?
The Divine Maya Usova
Look at how she double knee bends for the back stroke; How she keeps her thighs together to keep her center of  gravity over the skates; Her incredible posture; The amazingness of her edges. This is what makes a World Champion different from you and me.

I on the other hand not only hunch, but I lean out of the circle which makes the whole thing worse.

 So tomorrow I'm doing my usual 'get over it!' training tricks: practice in chunks of five minutes, smile to reduce the tension in my neck and shoulders, bend my knees, start my working on my posture and edges first, then move onto the step behinds.

Maybe, just maybe I can get over the head games this element is doing to my skating. All I have to do is channel Maya Usova.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Things that Only Figure Skaters Understand.5

First try at twizzles

What it's like when you try to skate down the
long side with less than 6 strokes 
 to pass perimeter stroking 

When you're trying to stone your costume 
at the last minute 

When you land your first jump 'at speed'