Skating Camp

6 Aug

The other week I participated in a 3 hour skating camp for adults. We learned warm-up drills off ice as well as on-ice and then practiced both edges and freestyle.

This was the first year they were running the camp and it was set up over a two day period on the weekend. I was only able to take Sunday’s camp from 9-12 but it was definitely worth it. Hopefully they will run it again next year!  They had two instructors who split the group into two sections. Those who wanted to do freestyle and those who wanted to work on moves and dance. There was about 16-18 adults I would estimate. A pretty good size to work with but we had the entire rink to play around on. I was actually able to finally figure out my camel spin. Which I was extremely happy about!

I’ve been doing the same slow camel for the last couple years and with only small amounts of improvement in the last year. Even though I know it is still not completely reliable or perfect, I was able to figure out what my entrance issue was and gain A LOT of speed going into the spin. I was ecstatic to say the least ; ) Now, every chance I get I’m on the ice trying out that camel. I still need to work out the kinks but getting on that outside edge immediately into the spin is a lot easier now to hit and now I know what it feels like to spin fast in a camel position without scraping the ice! Before I was going into the spin without angling my left foot towards the left. I was really just going straight and then trying to curve in which is why I was always scraping. Now, my best camel spins hit that outside edge immediately and my foot is clearly angled into that left outside edge. I also try and wait as long as possible in the entrance of this spin. When I rush it from the crossovers and try to force the entrance edge, the spin is rough and hard to control. However, when I take my time do hit the entrance edge perfectly, it’s like flying! I’ve been fixated on my arms, my knee bend and my head etc. for a while and really it’s all about the edge going into the spin. The rest will follow if you can hit that edge!

I love it, if you can’t tell. After many years of trying to get that spin, the end is in sight! That spin is so finally going to be mine! Oh, the trials and tribulations of an adult skater…

Enough on my camel fixation though, other things we covered in the camp are posted below. As usual, these are my notes and interpretation of the lesson’s I learned in the camp. Enjoy!

Camp Lessons:

Camel Spin: Entrance edge preparation,  skate a smaller half circle on the line for entrance before trying on crossovers. Start from a stand still, skate a half circle and then turn 3. Don’t drop your back, you must have your skating foot angled towards the direction you are going (clear outside edge). This is a must! Changes everything I was doing! It should not be pointed directly ahead as in a t position.
Then try from crossovers.

Backspin: Enter into the spin left arm in front on the inside for stability the entire time. Keep foot on the inside for stability as well, not behind you! Exit out of spin feet first, hands second. Same thing with entering.  Free leg opens to stop spin, then knee action, then hands/arms out. Left arm is to keep yourself on the inside of the edge and must stay towards the front. Also stay towards front of blade.

Loop Jump: Ride edge around circle on one foot with leg crossed in front, arms held in semi circle. Try to ride it into a back spin eventually. Lean into circle. Don’t let the right arm go too far back. Jump from forward stance. Also, make sure right arm is shoulder high, don’t let it drop.

Salchow Practice: Instead of landing on landing foot, jump and land on same foot for jump strength. Apparently, Gracie Gold’s coach recommends these to gain strength in her jumps.

3 turn practice: Alternate three turns with arm movement. Also alternate three turns and add hop to them on either foot (like a tiny waltz jump). Landing on same foot. Increasing strength of jumping leg.

Ina Bauer: Go into it from inside spread eagle. On both spread eagles and inside ina bauers tuck hip bones/pelvis under. Use thigh, hip and butt muscles. You should not feel yourself straining your knees.
Try doing spread eagles with a partner with crossed arms in a circle both ways… then try doing it into an ina bauer. With the ina bauer you can change directions as well.

Always look in the direction you are going and keep your head up.

Warmup exercises:


Back and forth movements from one leg to the other are key, sweeping the arms back from one side to the other while on one leg and then the other. A lot of switching weight from one leg to the other and kneeling or crouching as low as you can go and then getting back up in a sweeping motion with your arms. Swing your arms and shoulders to loosen things up.

Also, on ice start with wide stance going down ice and then come in and move your arms around in a circle. Do this as well with bending low (like in a squat) while moving down the ice and your arms swinging up and down in a wave like motion. You may let your head look down on this.

Forward Crossovers: Hold the underpush for a few seconds. Make sure you are bending the free leg to almost nestle inside the skating leg during the underpush. Good knee and ankle bend is key. Look outside the circle on these.

Back crossovers: Keep the arms soft, do not skate with locked out elbows/arms.Solid push under is important. Use your arms in a pretty circular motion on either side to test your stability as you skate.

Happy Skating!

2 Responses to “Skating Camp”

  1. Q at 2:23 pm #

    Lovely. Thanks for those tips. I would love to do an adult skating camp. But there really are not very many adult skaters in my area. There’s a dance camp in summer about 4 hours away. I missed it in June, but it’s something to look forward to for next summer.

  2. Christine in Nevada at 12:39 am #

    Wow! That is awesome that you got your Camel Spin nailed! I love the technical details of how you got it and what you were struggling with. I’ll be referring back to this post when I start to learn one! Happy skating!

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