Archive | January, 2018

10 Things Adult Figure Skaters Never Say

25 Jan

I see the kids coming up with these lists all the time! This one is for the adults. My top ten things adult figure skaters never say!

10. Nothing hurts, I feel awesome. Very limber. Just like Sasha Cohen.

9. I love skating in a crowded freestyle session with kids whizzing by me.

8. Forget the axel. I want to practice the waltz jump and my basic stroking until I die.

7. I don’t spend enough money on figure skating. Ice time and coaches are so cheap!

6. My spins are always centered. Always.

5.  My family and friends think I’m completely normal for getting up at 5am to skate.

4. My skates are so comfy, just like slippers. I don’t need to tighten or loosen them…

3. I don’t need to bend my knees more. My coach says I bend them enough.

2. Knee pads, elbow pads, hip pads? What are those? I don’t need any of ’em!

and finally . . .

1. Falling? Who’s afraid to fall? Not me. I never get injured  ; )

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I, Tonya? I Love!

20 Jan

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So, I finally saw I, Tonya this weekend! WOOHOO! and I wasn’t completely disappointed. Finally, there is a skating movie that actually appeals to people over 16 in mainstream America that does not include Sasha Cohen waving around men’s underwear. (Hello…Blades of Glory) Plus, the skating wasn’t half bad either.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a Tonya hater. I was much more focused on Oksana Baiul at that age then I was on either Tonya or Nancy.  I remember the scandal but the closest I can get to disliking either of them is to say that I was never a fan of Nancy Kerrigan’s skating. That’s mainly because I was an Oksana fan and I was less than enthralled by Nancy’s skating. I was also around the same age as Oksana and I remember being in awe of someone that age winning a gold medal. I also really loved her balletic skating. When Nancy made those comments about Oksana crying when she won her gold I think that’s when I made up my mind that maybe she wasn’t all that nicey nice. For years I thought she was a poor sport and maybe, that’s why I’ve never been a Tonya hater. At any rate, as I grew up and started skating myself I actually started admiring Tonya’s skating so I went into this movie more than just a little curious.

It’s safe to say that this movie did live up to the hype. At least for me, it did. I thought the movie was hilarious with some great skating bits (gotta love the skating!) but it was also strangely sad. Sad that Tonya’s life seemed to be nothing but a lot of abuse whether it was her mother or her husband doing the abusing or even herself. It was like a never-ending vicious circle that she couldn’t get out of.  The movie does make you feel for Tonya and maybe for the first time question whether her involvement warranted her being removed forever from US figure skating. After all, we have men in the NFL being accused of much worse crimes and for the most part they are given a slap on the wrist because they play football. But figure skating is figure skating and I think this movie delves into the nastier side of the skating world, the elitist side. And dare I say it? The biased judging that we still see going on at competitions.

Case in point: the judges dropping Ashley Wagner like a hot potato at this year’s nationals with component marks that were almost the same as a newbie skater like Bradie. Whaaaat the heck was that?  That’s a complete 360 from the USFS’s usual scoring and a total bunch of BS. Hate or love Ashley Wagner I don’t think anyone thinks Bradie’s artistry is anywhere near Ashley’s nor should it be! Those component scores were ridiculous. It was obvious the judges wanted to put certain skaters at the top. Most skaters would have shut their mouths about it but not Ashley and I think it’s good for the sport to have skaters speak up. You work so hard for something your entire life, why not? I think that part has to change about skating and I think this movie might open up more of a dialogue on that part of the sport. It might actually bring in more fans if skaters were seen to have a little more personality off ice. Hence the whole explosion of fans when Tonya came on the scene. Not to say people should go whacking kneecaps but a little bit of healthy dialogue would do a lot to open up skating to the regular people of the world who still can’t seem to figure out what skating is all about these days.

But I digress….I think the movie obviously opens up a can of worms about the whole Nancy and Tonya scandal since most people just blamed Tonya for the whole thing. We may never know the truth but I thought the movie was refreshing and at the very least sheds a new perspective on the whole thing. Although I’m by no means thinking Tonya was blameless in this whole debacle, the movie does make you see her in a kinder light. You can’t help but feel bad for her. Margot Robbie made her seem a lot more vulnerable and I think that’s what made her seem so much more likable. I could be just a softy though but maybe not everything is as cut and dry as it seems. Tonya’s evil, Nancy’s not etc. Even if you could care less about skating, Allison Janney as Tonya’s mother was priceless and for her part alone I would see this movie. So. Freaking. Hilarious. Seriously, the best parts of the movie are her lines alone. If you are looking for good skating though then stay till the credits and you’ll see Tonya’s famous triple axel and her winning nationals program.

Have any of you seen the movie? And if you have what were your thoughts? I’m curious… and do you believe her side of the tale? Or do you still think she knew the entire time? I would love to know!

 

 

Lesson Recap #1

13 Jan

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While I’ve been breaking in my boots I’ve been taking group lessons at a rink about 30 minutes from me. I’m not really ready to commit to private lessons or the cost yet again. I am skating consistently (thanks to the group lessons) and while it’s not an exact substitute for private lessons this advanced adult class has given me enough to work on throughout the week. I feel like I’m almost there where I would feel comfortable to go one on one again with a coach but for now, the group lessons are giving me a good base to work from again.

This time I am taking two group lessons on the same day, advanced adult lessons (this is basic Freestyle 1-6) and a jump class. Both classes are small, the first with four adults at varying levels and the latter with three. There is me and another adult plus a 9-year-old in the jump class. I think it’s great to skate with one other kid because sometimes as adults we start to get too comfy watching and mimicking other adult skaters. This can sometimes be bad. Children I think have a natural rhythm and timing to their skating (plus a fearlessness) that I think adults can really benefit from. While some adults do have this as well I find that when I am skating with kids I limit myself less in what I “think” I can do and I just do.

Both classes are taught by the same instructor this year (usually they are different). This works so very well. He’s Russian so while I have had many coaches with different backgrounds, I have never been exposed to the Russian style of skating. I’m really enjoying some of the basic warm-ups that he is having us do as well as the basic edges and I’m looking forward to sharing them here!

Lesson Recap #1 Adult Group Class

  1. Change Spin – Forward scratch to back scratch: I really dislike any type of back spins (as this blog details) so this is still, alas, a challenge for me. Right now holding my left free leg out longer on the back spin is a challenge so I need to count the revolutions and not rush bringing the free leg in. The forward scratch is fine. Hands need to remain out until I bring the leg in closer. I tend to immediately bring my free leg in tight and then I start spinning faster and out of control. This also makes it a lot harder to get more revolutions in as well. TIPS: 1. Slow down the free leg coming in and 2. Count the revolutions 3. Don’t think of the free leg as much as just getting over the right side.
  2.  Basic Forward and Backward Swizzles with Arms (jump warm up) and Hop: Do forward swizzles with arms bent at elbow going back and then coming forward just as you would in a waltz jump. Same thing for backward swizzles. Bring the arms forward and up when you bring the legs in and the arms back and out when you push out. TIPS: 1. Bend 2. Keep your core tight. Once you’ve warmed up these then add a hop to the backward swizzle.  Side note: I kid you not,  we all thought we were going to kill ourselves on these but they turned out to be so much fun. I also saw one of the adults who has not really learned to jump yet do her first tiny hop doing these. Very cool. KEY TO HOPPING IN THE SWIZZLE: Hop when your feet come together and arms come forward and finally, make sure your hips are pushed forward. Feel that your core is tight. Once I felt my hips pushed forward just like on my jump take off’s these got a lot easier and lighter. That is the key. Use your arms as I mentioned in the exercise above.
  3. Backward Outside Edges: Keep your free leg above the tracing on the ice, no arching of the back (my thing, oops) and open your shoulders and keep arms stretched out against that edge. Really lean into that outside edge but as I said before, no arching and keep your back up. You should not have your free leg way out. These are pretty easy but these are some good tweaks.
  4.  Inside Spirals (does anyone like these?): He said to keep the same arm in front. One of the other adults had been taught opposite arm and leg. I think you can do it either way but for sure having the same arm definitely puts you on the inside edge if you are struggling with that part.
  5. Sit Spin: Need to go lower. He said to fall if I need too otherwise it’s a good spin.

 

Lesson Recap #1 Jump Class: All pre-jump exercises

  1. Basic Back Cross Overs (both sides): Keep back arm headed out in the direction you are going. Really keep the shoulders open on the bad side where I tend to drop it. Skating knee needs to be turned fully out (mine is sometimes a little in which can make it less of an outside edge.)
  2. Crossovers with Landing Edge and Hold (BOTH SIDES muhahaa): Cross over and then hold landing edge. TIPS: On landing edge arms should be in peripheral vision, head up, body square. From Crossovers to landing edge you should 1. be down in the knee at first 2. Toe turned out 3. Then rise up on landing edge. 4. Do not turn head in (common error on bad side.) This is all done on a circle. TIP: If you have trouble holding the arms in the correct landing position hold your arms in landing edge position with palms up. This will keep you from opening up. Side note: This was nerve-racking at first on the non-landing side but I found it got easier the more I got used to doing it. It’s really great for working both sides. 
  3. Add Arms to the Crossover Landing Edge and Hold Pattern: Basically, do what I mentioned above but add arms moving forward as in the swizzles. Then hold your landing edge.
  4. Outside 3 Turn, Crossovers, Landing Edge, Repeated on the Circle: This was challenging at first but then it had a nice cadence to it. 1. Outside 3 turn, cross overs, hold landing edge (down and then up), then 3 turn, cross overs etc. Repeat over and over again. Do this on both sides! Should I insert evil laugh here? TIP: Really concentrate on keeping your hips square on your bad side.
  5. Add 1, 2 and 3 hops on the landing edge from the previous move: So outside 3 turn, crossover, down in knee on landing edge, and then hop on toe pick, rise up on landing edge, turn to do three turn and repeat but with two hops on landing edge, and then repeat with three hops. Side note: This was scary at first and I could only do 2 hops but with practice I can now do 3 but they are tiny. BIG TIP: PUSH HIPS FORWARD WHEN YOU HOP. Just like you should feel on your waltz jumps.
  6. Back spins: These were very, very bad. TIP: Don’t rush, hold the edges into the back spin. We only had a few minutes to work on these. I want to say thank goodness because I really dislike them but I’m finally committing myself to making this spin better. Hopefully, before I kill myself on them. : )

All in all, a lot to work on! Holding those landing edges have been helping immensely. I hope this has been helpful. It’s a lot to take in.

Till next week!