Tag Archives: adult figure skating

Flip! or Hello Kitty?

10 Oct

For anyone who has read any part of my blog you will know that I have had a love hate relationship with the flip jump. Actually, it’s more like just a lot of hate. I’m not going to mince words here. There is absolutely no love in my body for the flip. However, I have been practicing it regularly lately to test silver freestyle. I know I need to do it and I need to stop being afraid of it so I’ve been working on it. I hate this jump so much that I’ve renamed it something else to take the stigma away from it.

Meet……Hello Kitty

aka Flip Jump

Unfortunately, now I’m hating on hello kitty and that’s just wrong ; ) Sorry, Hello Kitty.

I also bet if you took all the notes I’ve written over the years for doing a solid single flip jump that I would have a small novel.Too many instructions to count but here we go again and hopefully this time it sticks!

Despite the hate, I do think my jump has improved over the years so I’ve included a much earlier video from 2007 (sorry, quality is pretty bad but you can kind of get the gist) of my flip and this mornings (10/10/14)  flip attempt for comparison. Maybe I’m just obsessed.

Flip from 2007

Current Flip 2014

And the notes from my last lesson on the flip is below….

Flip Jump Tips from 10/10/14 

1. Push strongly into the jump with the right free leg so there is an opposite reaction when you turn the 3 turn, reach and pick.

note: in the current video I start with the right free leg way too high to push and don’t push enough although there is definitely more of a push then there was before.

2. Reach all the way back with the right leg to pick in and don’t hesitate.

note: I still hesitate a bit, this is very noticeable in the earlier videos. My timing is still a bit off currently although not as much as before.

3. Bring the arms in, especially the right arm. Don’t let it drop, take it with you when you pick in.

note: I drop my right arm and it pulls me off balance. It’s a bad habit letting that shoulder and arm go. It needs to come up and into the middle of my chest. Once I pull that right arm up the jump does it feel better. This applies to all the jumps. This is my dirty little secret…. dropping that right arm. Don’t do it!

And that’s about it. Till next time!

Happy Skating!

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New Silver Program!

11 Sep

So, it’s been about 7 years since I’ve had an actual program and I am so excited!  I’m fiddling with the crazy idea of taking my silver free test with my silver moves test. The only issue is that I must pass the moves in order to take the free and I have to say I’m getting a bit of cold feet about this. I have no problem taking the free test even if the program is only 25 seconds at the moment, I think it is much easier to stand up on the jumps and spins, the problem is… the moves. UGH.

Now, you would think after working on these for ohh… let’s be generous and say…9 months consistently that these would be a piece of cake. You would be wrong. Dead wrong. I’ve got a back outside 3 turn problem that’s as big as the hoover dam. That’s pretty big. Maybe bigger, like the size of Texas big. Yeah, you get the point. Damn those 3 turns and damn my free leg. Eh.

Anyway, while I’m pondering my silver moves death star test I’ll show you the first few seconds of my brand spanking new silver free program. We just started on this about two weeks ago and I think the waltz in the beginning is going to get changed out but for now…sigh.. I am happy just to have something! Just to be skating to music instead of the dead space I call public session music is lovely.

I had a friend take the video for me during a public session last week and the music was pretty much in my head. Ok, all in my head but I dubbed in the music to make the video. I think it worked pretty well.  I do think my coach thinks otherwise at the moment but I’m going to go with the whole “I’m actually connecting the moves in some way that resembles something like a program” point of view. There is a lot of work to be done for sure like the camel spin, ina bauer connection etc but I’m moving that butt of mine down the ice and that’s better than nothing right now.

So without further ado, after 7 years program-less here is the first 25 seconds…. TA DAAA!

(don’t forget the popcorn!)

 

Let’s Skate!

26 Feb

It’s been a long hiatus from skating and my blog! I haven’t had a private lesson in a year and so I haven’t had any new lessons to share. For the first time in a very long time though I’ve skated at least once a week for the past month and a half. So, I have been working on getting some of my moves back and thinking about updating my blog.

First, the knee is not healed. Nope, no miracle there BUT it’s getting to be manageable. So, what have I been doing for the past year? Well, I’ve been going to a chiropractor for my alignment issues and that has seemed to help with my hip and lower back although maybe not so much directly for the knee. Most recently I have been seeing a massage therapist and that has really helped loosen my IT band a bit which has helped the knee. Finally, I have been doing bikram yoga again. That seems to be the absolute key to maintaining my knees.

In my last post a year ago I wrote that I would be doing bikram in an effort to help with my knee pain for skating. I can honestly say it helps tremendously with the knee issue but I will admit to having avoided it till this past November. If you have ever tried bikram you’ll know that it can be somewhat painful to lay or bend in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes.  I tried running and swimming and generally everything but bikram in an effort to get into shape this past year without dealing with the knee pain/skating issue. So while I successfully avoided having any knee pain with those activities, any time I did any exercise with skating the knee pain would flare again so I avoided skating all together. Exercise while moderately enjoyable (I do like running) was pretty much just plain exercise without skating. I realized skating was just too much fun as a sport and too much a part of my life to just not do it anymore so I’m back with the bikram.  I’m doing it once a week with skating 2x a week now to see if it keeps the knee pain in check. I admit I’ve been stubborn, I should have done this last year but I thought I could avoid the bikram heat and somehow find my way back to skating another way. Dropping the weight with running last summer certainly helped but nothing gave my knees the relief that bikram yoga does. I do have to admit that bikram is not all that bad. I get an amazing stretch and I always feel so much more energized afterwards.

At any rate, I’m back skating for now with the bikram and I have been working on my camel spin all by my lonesome. I’ve also been working on getting my sit spin back to what it was in a lower position and I’ve been working a little bit on my 8 step mohawk sequence and spirals.

At any rate, I was at the outdoor rink near me a few weeks ago and I had my oh so patient boyfriend record my camel attempts. I’ve posted one below.

It’s one of my rare good attempts and I’m keeping this one to show myself that I will eventually be able to do a decent camel spin. I just need to hold that outside edge and learn to stay down in the knee before popping into it. We also recorded my loop jumps but I’ll save those for another day 😉 I’ll be looking into private lessons soon if the knee continues to stay in check.

In other related skating news… I just received a MAC eyeshadow called “Let’s Skate” from a friend of mine. It’s a pale pink and shimmery, very skaterish if I do say so myself but not overly gaudy. Now, I’m not a MAC person and I typically do not skate around with makeup on but I have to say I was pretty excited by this little pot of shimmery goodness. I took a photo for those of you obsessed with anything skating related even a pot of eyeshadow! 

"Let's Skate" MAC eyeshadow
“Let’s Skate” MAC eyeshadow

Gotta share the skate love!

Till next time!

A Return to Fundamentals and the Ice

12 Aug

The ice went down in May, for a month, as it always does here. I used the time to do the physical therapy for my knee that I had been putting off for 2 years. The aches and pains that I had been getting throughout winter and spring were worse than normal and I was finally pushed to go see my orthopedist. I found out nothing serious was wrong. Well, just that I pronate in and that I needed to really strengthen my leg muscles in order to strengthen and stabilize my knee. These exercises seem to help although I am sure that I will still have some knee pain here and there as long as I am skating.

Usually I would start skating as soon as the ice came back up – and I did. Except, the first day back I took a hard fall on my right knee. Extremely bad ice with large bumps covered the surface. I knew I had to be careful since I had elected not to wear knee pads that day. That was really stupid.

Towards the end of the session I was skating a little faster and not as mindful of the rough patches and as I was going into a flip jump I tripped over one the bumps and slammed my knee into the ice. Nothing was broken, but I did feel a LOT of pain as the session wore down. I tried to keep skating a little just to feel ok but I knew at the end of the session that I would have a nasty bruise and would need to be off the ice for a little bit more to let it heal. So with disappointment, I took a small 3 week hiatus from the rink only to run into wedding season head on.

I run a small, custom wedding invitation business online and the summer is my peak season so as I healed I also became inundated with order after order. I could barely get 6 hours of sleep let alone find time to skate! And thus…up until 2 weeks ago I had probably skated only 4-5 times this summer. I’ve done nothing but work full-time at my regular job and then come home to work more on my biz. For the first time in years, skating took a backseat.

Nothing has really changed, I’m still trying to keep up with both jobs but after gaining 10lbs and being a nasty, grumpy person for the last 3 months I realized that skating needed to be made part of my life again, if only so I could feel some stress relief!

Since I started skating regularly again, my mood and energy level has risen and I feel almost like my old self again! Well, almost:) Maybe soon I will lose that extra 10lbs so I’m not sweating like a maniac on the ice and breathing hard after a basic warm-up.

I think this blog will take the direction of recording my skating lessons once again. Last year, I wrote a lot about professional skating and I feel I got away from the main purpose of this blog which is to record my lessons for future remembrance and provide a real perspective from the adult skater viewpoint to other adult skaters.

So, true to my renewed skating interest, I have changed coaches for a different perspective. I loved my last coach but it was time for another change. Right now, we are working on various freestyle elements.

Today’s lessons were a rehash of my scratch spin entry, layback and camel positions, as well as backspin technique and at the end of the session we went over an axel exercise.
Three weeks ago at my initial first lesson we started going over jumps and axel prep since that is my focus for now.

Some of the tips below from today’s lesson are things that I may have learned years ago but had forgotten and others are things that I had never heard before, so all are good skating pointers for future use.

Scratch Spin Entry:
I am traveling (sad sad words). I need to hold my left edge into the spin and then really dig deep into the ice for that hook. And, no, that left arm should not swing crazily open to initiate the spin. It is all in the knee bend and the deep hook. So I must be more patient and not turn the three to soon, I must also hold my free leg back before I initiate the turn and I should also stay down in my knee for at least a revolution or two before popping up into a lovely scratch spin that will be as fast and centered as can be. (I hope)

Layback

Michelle Kwan’s Oh So Centered and Freeform Layback

Same issue with the entry (see scratch spin above).
Once in the spin my hips should be square. I tend to open my right side and drop my right shoulder. This is not correct. Standing at the boards, I leaned my hips flat against the boards while simultaneously bringing my right leg to the side and back.
Shoulders should drop back when in the spin and if they don’t you can actually push your left shoulder with your right hand as you start to lean back to correct yourself. This was so much fun. I was spinning and trying to push my should back into alignment with the other so everything stayed straight. It was scary at first but I think this will help keep me from leaning to the side and achieving that c-curve. I have many, many sit-ups to do to get back some of my core strength, I just can’t hold that position correctly!
(Here is a great explanation of how to do a layback: http://coachclaire.com/spins/layback.htm)

Camel Spin
Same entry issue as above.
Except, this entry must be even more focused on keeping the leg back until hooking the spin. We did the toturous glove test once again. You can find an explanation of this glove exercise under camel posts. Once again, no arm initiation until I am already in the spin. This went pretty well. I had one awesome camel with the glove test. Maybe the glove exercise is working? Tension played a big part in keeping the spin going once I was in it. Apparently now, I do not bend my knee like I used too. Its nice to know that there are improvements from year to year even if it feels like I am still stuck with the same problems with this spin!

Back Spin
Oh dear back spin, how I hate your ugly inner edge guts! Yes, these are still in the works. Instead of working on this spin from a standstill into a forward right inside edge entry, I now will skate forward on my left foot and then push onto my right into the back spin entry (deep right inside edge). Then I will need to keep right arm with me at all times. YES, I just said that. My right arm kind of travels behind me when its frightened so from now on it needs to be in eye shot along with mr. left arm. Both of them should be in a medium hug position. My core should be solid but I should be slightly rounded when in the spin. Also, my left free leg should stay out longer just as in the scratch spin to begin the spin. This actually helped, holding the entry and keeping my arms with me at all times 😉

Axel Prep
This started with small waltz from a standstill (off toe pick) into a back spin. The goal is to land already spinning as well as to initiate that weight transfer from left to right. Sometimes this happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Its hit or miss. I must keep my arms down when I go into this jump or they get too high. I should also be going into it as I would the axel with my arms already back at take off and then lifting as I jump. Lifting the arms high or starting the arms beforehand will throw off the jump. This is a work in progress. Some days this is very, very good! And other days I just fall and fall and I am just doing a prepping exercise!

Another exercise that I will be doing to building more spring is off ice. Stand in a squat like position with both arms back (as you would in take off) then spring up, moving arms with you. Then I guess you could add a ¼ turn and a ½ turn and then a full turn.

That’s it for today! Today’s skating words of wisdom are: If it doesn’t hurt, then it’s probably not right!

Till next week!

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!

Adult Skating: An Addiction to Pain

25 Aug

As an adult skater we assume we know the risks associated with skating. We assume that we are going to fall and we assume that we will accept those injuries, heal them, and then get right back on that ice and skate again. Sometimes as an adult we are riddled with skating injuries over and over again and yet, we still skate. Our legs ache, our ankles burn, our side hurts and we still skate. Yes, it is very much like a professional skater or any athlete except we’re older and there really aren’t any medals or fans. I’m not singing a sad song, its just the nature of the adult skating beast.

If you started skating after the age of 18 you are an adult skater and you know what I am talking about. You know and hear the stories around the rink. This one broke her leg, he broke his wrist, she sprained her ankle, she broke her arm and they go on and on. As adults we live very busy lives but yet still strive to skate and train like any of the kids. We still strive for that single or double jump (and yes, I said single jump). We are obsessed and we are riddled with the scars of trying to twist our bodies into strange and unknown positions for the sake of our obsession. Seems kinda silly, doesn’t it? Why would we do this to ourselves for a sport that is extremely unfriendly to adult bodies?
For that matter, young ones as well but I would say particularly adults as they are not nearly as quick to recover.

In my own experience I have had my share of falls, a broken leg, two fractured feet, a sprained ankle, etc. Now, I have a new injury to add to the collection: a lovely tiny bone spur which will result in arthritis eventually – a direct result of skating and undeniably, yes, the token of my obsession. Its a bone spur formed from a previous fracture on my foot from skating. Apparently skating makes it worse. Surprise, surprise!

This news was a little depressing given that I was just getting back into the swing of things, progressing in my program, and moving towards more advanced spins and jumps. Now, there will be no more skating until I feel better. Maybe 2 weeks, 3? I don’t know. I do know, that I can’t explain why I am so obsessed with a sport that is so obviously destructive to my body. Why not take up swimming? I think running is out of the question, as is dance from the ankle injuries. Why not bicycling? Why not something else less straining? As an intelligent adult my mind is practically screaming over the past 9 years: Hello? why do you do this to yourself? All this for a lutz or an axel or a perfect camel? It’s totally not worth it, so stop now before you break something else!

Then I think, but I love figure skating, I love committing to the challenge of perfecting that spin, of being able to express myself on the ice and yes, the element of risk just adds to the allure. Its addicting, its thrilling, and yes, skating just might be a drug that the sane adult in us should quit. But I just can’t quit and even though right now I can barely walk more then a 1/4 of mile without a pulsating pain in my right foot, I will be out there skating again in a few weeks or months (however, long it takes for the pain to dissipate) because I love it. That’s it. Plain and simple. Stupid, but there it is.

I love the feeling of skating on smooth ice, the feeling of accomplishment, and the feeling of comradeship on the ice. I love the hard work it takes, I love the smell of the rink, I love the feeling of belonging to a sport that is as beautiful as it is tough. Because there is no doubt about it, you got to be tough if you skate. Its not apparent how tough skaters are because when it is done right skating looks effortless but each and every skater has withstood all types of injuries, the likes of which any football star or basketball phenom would shudder in horror at.

I admit, I could be a little crazy, after all I am only 30. I have many more years in which to enjoy the fruits of my falls and breaks (which I am sure will not be pleasant) but in the end I know I will still say it was all worth it with or without that damn double.

I’m not saying all adults feel like this, but I would bet more then half would nod their head and agree. Its the adult obsession and determination that keeps us all out there on the ice. We keep spinning, gliding, and jumping despite our injuries and despite our hectic lives.
Why else would we do it? No medals, no accolades just a burning need to get out there and practice just as hard as anyone else for nothing more then our own enjoyment, self-gratification, and maybe just a little self-torture too.

Crazed Adult Skater below “Bring it on!”