Tag Archives: camel spin

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!

Back in Black!

23 Nov

I’m back and indeed, I did wear an all black skating outfit to practice today. I’m running out of options for practice wear that fits! That means two things: I’ve been working too much and not skating enough!

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been on here. There has been a lot of changes since then too! I’ve moved to a different state, I quit my job, moved in with my boyfriend, and went full-time with my own business. Big changes and I’ve been adjusting slowly. This life seems to be moving faster and faster everyday…

Of course, the first thing I did was scope out different rinks. To my delight, there are at least 4 rinks within 15-30 minutes of me! However, after doing a bit of stalking, I realized that one good rink is really all I need for a home rink since it is dedicated to figure skating over hockey whereas the other rinks are more hockey oriented. Also, there are at least 5-8 sessions a day! I thought I had died and gone to skating heaven!

I moved in September but it took me about 2 months to find good insurance since I was working for myself. So, I reluctantly backed off skating for those months to focus on my work. Note to all! Do not skate without health insurance! That is a very, very, very bad idea for an adult skater. I learned my lesson the hard way in grad school when I did not have insurance and broke my leg. You never know what is going to happen on that ice and you need health insurance before you put even one little toepick on that ice!

OK. I’m officially done with that rant 😉 Just a little friendly advice.

So, now here I am, working from home with a flexible schedule and great health insurance…and for the first time since grad school I can skate whenever I want! Well, within reason, but really I can make my own schedule for skating. How amazing is that? AMAZING. I’m psyched, was psyched and am now plotting full speed to turn myself into the next Michelle Kwan – adult skater, that is!

Don’t laugh! It can happen..in my dreams 😉

Since I don’t see people at work anymore working from home as I do, I have thrown myself into skating the adult sessions in the morning and being an official pain in the butt stalker to all. Meaning, I pretty much talk to whoever has skates on. Yes, it sounds like a desperate attempt to make friends and guess what? It is!
I’ve been meeting quite a few people here and there. I signed up for group lessons to get a better feel for the coaches, meet more people, and also to get myself back in the swing of things. I’ve become pretty out of shape and when I skate it’s like I am aimlessly going through jumps and spins. I need structure so I signed up for the advanced freestyle at night. It’s all adults on a tiny studio rink. I think sometimes its hard to stay out of people’s way but it allows me to concentrate on the little things. The coach is wonderful, he’s pretty easygoing, male and taller than me! Hallelujah! When is the last time I could really say that my coach was much taller than me? I can see jumps clearer when he does them.

Meanwhile, I’ve been stalking other coaches, asking questions of other adult skaters to see which coaches they liked best to find a private coach. Before I even moved to my new place, a skating friend of mine and group lesson coach from a couple years back recommended her old coach. Now, in the past I’ve gone from coach to coach depending on the rink and where I was at. Finding and sticking with a coach is a decision not to be made lightly because once you start lessons with one it usually means you have to stick with them for some time before graciously moving onto another without causing issues. This can be a very good thing if you find the perfect coach.

Well, in this case I finally decided to go with my friends recommendation and I had my first lesson this morning. I was a little nervous. I had been sick earlier and had not been on the ice for a few days, when I got there it was 10 minutes to the lesson and while I was putting on my skates my laces broke!
When is the last time that happened?? I immediately thought of Tonya Harding..ha ha
Luckily I had a spare skate lace in the bag so I laced the skate back up and got on the ice.

All went well in the end. I LOVE my new coach. It was an awesome lesson, a good fit. I don’t think I looked too good as far as what I was showing her but that can only improve right? My new coach is probably more intimidating to me than any of the other coaches I’ve had. She’s taught a few amazing skaters on the national scene so while that gives me confidence in her skills it also makes me a little scared but I’ll get over it!
Fear is good anyway, maybe I’ll actually get my butt in the air and do that axel!

So, in this return to my blog I will be sharing my lessons so that I can remember them later on as usual.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

and..Ta Ta till next Thursday.

P.S my lesson recap is below


Lesson Recap 11/23/10

1. Hips must be in alignment, under me when skating. They should not be leaning outwards but tucked under and straight ahead. I have to remember to think about tilting the opposite hip just a little bit up in order to achieve that solid stance. Try with back outside edge, being at the knee of the landing leg keeping the hip squarely underneath me, change sides. It should not be bowed out and my head should be leaning slightly to that side as well.

2. Waltz Jump (OH Yes.. here we go again, I will never be done with this jump, NEVER!)
When jumping you should rock to your toe pick quickly and then land on the toe pick to rock back on the blade. Part of my problem is not hitting my toe pick in the take off quick enough when moving faster.
It should start on the full blade and then rock to the toe pick on a 1-2 count, then spring (burst) up in the air, and then landing with that hip underneath.

I think the 1-2 count will help much. It’s already helped with the security of the takeoff when moving faster.

3. Toe Loop
Work on three turn and keeping the hip underneath me

4. Sit Spin
Lean in when going into it. Lean way in to the circle on the left outside edge both on wind up and when holding the edge into the spin (turning the three). Much more secure spin.

5. Camel Spin.
Work on left spiral with hip up, do not let hip sag under. The spiral must have tension radiating from all 4 points of your body. You should feel in control of the spiral rather than letting it control you. So the more tension and openness the better. The hip should be open and angled up (this is how it felt to me at least)
Straighten everything and you will feel a difference.

This can be applied to the camel spin where tension is very important.

Exercise: Start from a standstill and at a kneebend follow a half circle around on left leg (skate leg) with right leg behind on outside edge. Turn into the curve, spin with two feet still at half knee bend with arm and nose, face, head, over left side. There should be a line that can be drawn from the middle of your face to your left skate. THis should Keep you over your left side. Then continue to do this but at the two foot spin open up your arms to be slightly behind you still rotating with your head/middle of face/nose over left side matching up with left skate. Then do this outside edge into a sprial that curves around into the camel. Do this by applying tension, staying down in the knee, and opening the left arm.

This is going to take a lot of work but I wanted to get all of this down so I could remember!

The most important part of all this was the tension but also the fact that the left skate should be slightly to the inside of your right skate when turning the three into the camel. Hope this makes sense!