Archive | October, 2009

The Camel Spin Monologue

28 Oct

– Sarah Hughes in a camel spin

The camel spin baffles me.

I’ve put time and effort and my fair share of practice into this spin and still it eludes me. Sometimes I hit it and I spin effortlessly (this happens rarely) and other times I skid on the entry, fight with my inside edge and eke out a mere 4-5 rev’s at the speed of a turtle.

Much like Dorothy Hamill, I think if they were to name a camel after my variation of the spin – it would be called “Brokeback” camel. Why? Well, my head is either hanging down or way up and my free leg is usually bent at an odd angle, and typically I end with a bob.

I’ve spoken to a few other adults on this disturbing camel spin topic as well.
It usually starts with “Hmm, well I have one but I lose it routinely” or “yeah, it could be better somehow it’s always different.”

I think this all goes back to technique and entry. Seems like we all tend to mess our technique up just a bit when it comes to this spin and in my estimation, unlike other spins, if you botch the entry on this one you’re not going to be able to fix it. (unless you’re a pro of course ;)Like wise, if you have terrible technique you are not going to be able to pull it off like you might in another spin.

What makes this spin so annoying though is the sheer number of things you have to think about! I try to think back to when I was learning my sit spin and I suppose I felt the same way but I swear it was easier! I’ll give you a little taste of what I think about when I go into my camel spin and then you can bunny hop yourself away from the computer in horror:

1. Go in on a deep knee
2. Make sure you are on a deep outside edge
3. Make sure you are over your left side
4. Don’t forget your left arm – no dropping or opening of that arm until you turn at least 180 degrees!
5. Keep your free leg straight and don’t let it swing forward.
6. Mantain a bent knee for one revolution before rising into a straight leg.
7. Don’t look down.
8. Look to the left but your body should be open to the right.
9. Point the toe!
10. Keep your chest up.

Yes – its a crazy skating mind I have but somebody has to listen to it! Usually it’s just me but now you too can get a taste of crazy skating thoughts! A coach once told me that the mind can only hold a max of three things to focus on while skating. Hmmph obviously that’s part of my problem!

So to finally get to the point of my blog entry, I wanted to post some ideas and videos on the camel spin for all camel challenged people like myself. No longer will adult skaters have to wrestle the camel spin beast by themselves! Luckily they will now find camaraderie in others who are equally camel distressed or deficient. (I prefer distressed)

Sounds kind of ridiculous but trust me there are alot of “us” out there waiting to jump out of the closet! Yeah – shake your head all you want – but I know you’re out there. Oh, and if you are a closet layback challenged skater, just wait! That’s next on my list! For now, we’ll start with deconstructing the camel.

Let’s start with a basic practice (really devised to torture skaters):

I call it the glove test.

Place a glove in your left hand (not on it)if you spin to the right place the glove in your right hand. Perform your camel spin entry and as you go into this entry ensuring a deep knee bend (on the skating leg) you will place the glove in the crease between the hip and leg. As you rise into your camel this glove should not only stay in place but should be locked, securely nestled between your hip and leg joint area. This will ensure a properly executed and level spin.

Now, doesn’t that sound impossible? You can do this all day long like a dog chasing after a bone and you still may not be able to get it to stay in place although you will likely be grabbing for the glove every time as it falls out of place.

However – please be reassured I have once or twice been able to keep the glove in place. Miracles do happen. Not often, but they do. Practice this alot and at least you’ll learn how to amuse your friends during public session with a glove routine, if not stun them with your perfectly balanced camel. (I was daydreaming there)

Here’s a video of nicely executed camel spin from another adult, watch her second spin:

Also, check out this Camel Spin tutorial from Jo Ann Schneider Farris
It’s pretty helpful.

Please feel free to comment if you yourself have any camel tips. Till next time …

A Silver Pattern and Adult Figure Skating Videos

4 Oct

Today’s lesson was better. I decided my new skates just were not working out. They were making my bone spurs hurt and they felt ungodly heavy! I made an executive decision.

In with the old, out with the new. Within a half an hour on the ice I had warmed up and re-aquainted myself with my old skates. I felt more spring in my jumps and my spins were way faster! I’ll be selling the new ones and will look for other skates to replace the old ones for next year.
If anyone is interested, they are Reidell, Silver Star’s (7.5), used 3 months and are in good shape.

Onto the lesson recap.
We worked on the adult silver moves pattern, backward outside three’s. It was much better this week then it was the other week when I slammed my head off the ice. I was actually able to complete the pattern although my coach said I was retrogressing (sp?). Well, I have serious problems making my pattern even and turning the three at the tops of the lobes. That is something I will have to work on along with keeping my free leg up and turned in. I have a major turnout and its probably from dance/ballet, it just feels better to turn my hip out. This is probably not optimal for figure skating so it’s something that I will have to be conscious of.

After we went through the pattern we started to work on my program. We added twizzles and another flip jump. Joy of joys, my favorite jump will be in my program twice. Between the flips and the lutz, I’ll be in a constant state of terror throughout the program. After the flip we placed a sit change sit to end the program. Since the sit spin is so easy for me we decided to place it at the end rather than in the middle. We placed my camel in the middle right after the first flip. The camel is also iffy. I really am going to have to start practicing more and more if I am ever going to be able to perform this program well consistently!

I would like to see more adult skating programs so I can compare the level of difficulty. That would really help. I’ve seen a few on youtube and they are so great to watch!

I think I am going to start gathering a collection of them on my channel so that they are all in one place. I’ll start posting one or two here as well.

I love posting my favorite amateur and pro skaters here but I think since this is an adult skating journal I should cover the adults more often.

So, in the spirit of things I am posting my first adult figure skating video of the week here – An Adult Silver Skater, Youtube Name: Bublmidget

The Program Hog

4 Oct

Ever been at a session where one person plays his/her program over and over again? Hogging the entire practice session for his/her own private little skate? Ever want to just pull the plug on the stereo system so you can actually practice yourself without the worry of that self-same person running through their program right through your moves/spins/etc?

Today was one of those sessions. Its the same one, she has at least 3 programs and she plays them over and over and over. Honestly, I don’t even know how she has the energy to run through her programs that many times, I can barely do two run throughs of my one!

Its great that she’s so focused and working on all those programs but what about everyone else?
Do we have to listen to the same music for an hour? Do we have to stop what we are doing every time another program comes on? Its ok to run through the programs once or twice, but to continuously replay them drives me nuts!

I call this person the “Program Hog.” It happens at every session she is at and I now try to avoid those sessions. We have a small rink so its actually not that hard to know her schedule and avoid her. I also know I am not the only person that feels that way. I suppose we are all way too polite to say anything to her so we will just grin and bear until her coach or mother says something. Hmph. Or until I can’t stand it anymore!