Tag Archives: axel prep

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)


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!

Ice Show Practice

12 Apr

I haven’t really been on the skating scene lately. I’ve been working both my full-time job and my invitation business alot lately. I’ve also been practicing for the annual ice show here which takes up alot of my free evening time especially in the last 2 weeks. While I’ve been skating in the last 2 months it’s really just been mostly to keep my skills up and to practice the ice show. I didn’t watch Worlds this year. This was the first time in years that I didn’t watch it (I can’t even remember the last time I missed it!) but it was on Universal which I do not get and on the web during the day (I work) so no worlds for me! Sometime after the craziness of the ice show I will watch the youtube vid’s that are up. I did see the highlights of Asada, Kim, and Daisuke’s skates though. I loved seeing Asada skate so well, she just floats on the ice.

At any rate, this week is rehearsal week and while I get more ice time now then I do at any other time of the year it’s really spent mostly on practicing only specific elements. Which is just fine, I need all the time I can get.

I usually only participate in one number if I even do the ice show here but since this is going to be my last year (I’m thinking about moving) I decided to volunteer for two more. It’s a little crazy but I think it’s fun and it forces me to learn new things and get’s me out of my apartment socializing at the same time.

So, since I have actually been skating quite alot I decided to have a lesson today. I haven’t had a lesson since December! I think after the holiday ice show and the holidays I went into savings mode and I wasn’t skating enough to really benefit from having lessons. I didn’t realize how much I missed taking lesson’s until I was in it today. I just needed some focus and guidance, I also need someone to tell me what I am doing wrong and fixing it!

I had specific goals in mind for this lesson and we covered most of them.

1. 8 step mohawk sequence for Silver moves

I completely forgot how this went and I needed a refresher (you can see how dedicated I’ve been to testing in the last year 😉
Some pointers for the sequence:
– It should be a clear outside mohawk and I should step into my instep.
– on my bad side (clockwise) I should practice the underpush after the 2 chasse’s (well, they are like chasse’s right?)by practicing going backwards pushing with my left foot underneath. I seriously felt like I had no strength in that foot when I pushed. What have I been doing with that side?? uh, apparently nothing.
– I should focus on counting the steps and making them equal rather than doing certain things faster than others.
– Quickness and making the steps small should be a priority
-Every step counts so I should push on every step.

2. Back Outside 3 Turns

Oh god – these are in one of the ice show programs and to be honest I’ve been cheating on them for some time now. Now, I have to face the music. I think this is what happens when you dawdle on the ice and do your own thing for months, bad habits die hard.
I have a certain sequence I need to learn and I keep on rushing the pattern.
– I have to take my time
– I should start with left arm in front right arm back while going backwards (counterclockwise)
-as I bring my free foot in front of me it should cross over the right closely. The free hip should be up.
– Bring arms close by the sides and then right arm should be in front and I should twist outside the circle with the left arms extended outside.
– knee should still be bent
– turn the three while looking behind with free hip up
– do not rise all the way up after the three

I think the most important part of this was being able to switch my arms and opening my body to the outside of the circle. It feels weird apparently I don’t open that side of my body up much..

3. Axel Prep.
I was soooo excited!
Basic Exercises are:
Waltz from a stand still into almost a traveling back spin into a loop.
The waltz should go up and then down rather than over and down.
– Shoulders should be up and I should lead with the left and picture vase or something breakable 🙂 on my right shoulder in order to keep it from tilting.
– I should try and start rotating in the air before landing in the spin(this is optimal not necessarily what I can do right now 😉

Another exercise:
Alternating Edges
– I should practice these on the line, alternating outside edges keeping my chest and back up with my right leg bent behind me as if I am preparing to jump

I should practice coming almost to a skidding stop before I feel that pressure to jump into the waltz jump (think of jumping up into a tunnel)

Backspin hop
Do a small backspin keeping the h position and then doing a small loop (or hop in the jump. This can be tiny.

I have problems with my backspins so we worked on those as well.
They should be on the inside edge and more focused on the sweet spot.

I had a really fun time with the axel prep and learning some of the take off’s. Once or twice I felt that snap when I did the exercise correctly. Maybe I’ll land that axel in this lifetime after all!

Till later…