Monday, January 30, 2017

Spin Me Like a Top

So my forward spin is solid. I take a recreational skater's pride that I can do it both ways. Although one side is not pretty, it's still both ways. It boosts my ego that coaches and skaters I know are all out there stroking my ego. "Oh, you've really improved!" they cry in joy.

Then as usually happens in figure skating my coach doesn't let me bask in my moment of glory, she decides to press ahead into new and unfamiliar territory where I will spend the next few months  flapping around trying to find my way out of the swamp of despair. 

"Your spin is okay, but we need to increase the rotations, and for that you need more speed. Set up your spin."

So I set up my spin, and as I enter it my coach takes my forward hand and spins me like a top!

I could feel various parts of my body tense up at the speed and they went, "Shit! She's serious about this, we better get working!"  So, on its own the stomach sucked itself in, the shoulders rolled down, the arms tensed up, and the ankle worked its little muscles and bones to keep me on the sweet spot. 

Result? Yes, I can do a fast spin... Under duress!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Things only Figure Skaters Understand #14

What your coach's praise is like after you just complete your program at an amazing level of power, grace, and skill

How the skater physically feels from the effort

Then the Coach says...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Moments in Figure Skating History #1

My private coach said today at the end of my lesson, "Show me your Spin."

So, I entered my spin from a two foot entry, raised the free foot, nailed the spot on the blade just below the big toe that is the sweet spot, did a couple of rotations, exited smoothly with head up.

And her reaction?

For a minute there, I thought she was going to cry. 

And it wasn't a lucky accident either, I can do this 90% of the time.....just not on the first spin of the day, sadly.

 You may now come worship with me at the shrine of persistence.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

When the student is ready, the coach starts making sense

I have a notion that I'm confusing the hell out of Learn to Skate USA. I'm signed up for Freestyle in my home rink, and Basic 6 in another rink. "The Ice Doesn't Care" ruthlessly screwing up LTS USA databases willy-nilly.

I can do everything in Pre-Free and everything in Basic 6 except----drum roll---FI3. That's the reason I picked this class at another rink, I need to nail that FI3.

Anyway, I needed the midweek ice time, so I'm now in a strange rink,  facing a male ice dancer in hockey boots, in a class where I'm the only student. 

Internally:"Private lesson! Private lesson!

"I can do everything in Basic 6," I say after the introductions, "Except FI3."

"Okay," he says, "Let's do that then. Show me where you are."


I have early back edge termination issues......but by God I can do that turn--and do it in the middle. "Well," he says, "That's better than I thought it would be."

So he teaches me this technique where I enter the three with a bent knee, then as I slowly rise to a straightish leg for the turn, I pull my free leg into a T-position til it touches the heel...then turn!

Suddenly, I have an explosion of knowledge. He has taught me this technique, that brings together all the techniques that every other coach has taught me. Finally, the student's legs are strong enough, the student brings experience from practice, the student is ready to understand

Of course the coach isn't happy with my arm position, and I lean back too much (that's new), and I have free hip issues, but for a moment there....I thought I had conquered FI3....

Friday, January 13, 2017

Tale of the Edgeless Horseman

Pictures from my new skate sharpener of SOMEONE ELSE'S SKATES.

Before Sharpening

After Sharpening

I mean how can you not feel something like that? Those blades had no inside edge at all! I don't know if the skater just rode her inside edges a lot, or had a bad sharpening.

You can test your blades at home with a straightedge or a quarter (although that takes a bit of an eye).  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Who ARE These People?

Last night was first night for the adult group classes for 2017. Hooray!

Twenty new adults signed up for Basic Skills.

The skating director set up three adult Basic 1 classes.

But, there were so many people in Basic Skills she forget to reserve a space on the ice for the Freeskate Class. 

I mean, the coaches squared it away, but for a minute we were ice-less.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Things That only Figure Skaters Understand #12

How you look when handing your boots over
 to a new sharpener for the very first time

How you feel when you think about
all the things that he can do 
wrong to your blades

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Why is It Called That? Brackets

 A bracket turn is much like a three turn with its point turned outward.

Like three turns, choctaws, and mohawks, brackets gets its name because it looks like something. In fact it looks like a typography bracket.
But there's an interesting etymology where  the word 'bracket' came from. The first recorded instance was in a dictionary written by Captain John Smith of Pocohantas fame. The dictionary was titled, An Accidence, or the Pathway to Experience Necessary for all Young Seamen, written in 1626. (Sadly, it is not only no longer in print, and I can't find it scanned into Google Books.)

In his book he used the term 'bracket' to describe the  supports in the interior of a ship.
 If two 'brackets' were placed tip to tip inside the ship--a 'double bracket'--these would indeed present an outline that we know today as a 'curly bracket'.

However, where did the the word 'bracket' come from? It is an anglicization of the French word 'Braguette'.  Braguette is a French word for a piece of armor that was thought by the English to resemble the Bracket.  In French, the 'braguette' is the opening  in the front of the armor  (the fly) where the plates part to give the knight flexibility of the hips as he fights. However the English used the work 'braguette' to name the metal cover that protects the anatomy of the person wearing the armor.

Yes, a 'braguette' is a codpiece.

I do not make this stuff up.  Let's be frank, to get from a codpiece to a ship's bracket based on the shape, indicates to me that men in the 16th century either had waaay too much time on their hands, or there is some piece of information missing.

The French being terribly sensible, do not use the term 'braguette' in skating. They use the term 'accolade' from architecture.
        Voila! Le accolade!
 So, when you get accolades for your brackets,  just try to not snicker when the English etymology pops into your mind. 

I appreciate the information I got from 'The Inky Fool," by Mark Forsyth regarding codpieces.  His books are available on Amazon. "Etymologicon" and  "The Elements of Eloquence." I have both.