Tag Archives: hips

Traveling Skates

10 Nov

Last week I was in Arizona and I did indeed take my skates with me. They had to go in my checked baggage and luckily they arrived safe and sound. However, I do hear that if you have a USFSA member card you can take them in your carry-on. I heard this from another adult skater but I have not tested the TSA…yet πŸ˜‰

While I was in Arizona, I, being the crazy adult skater that I am, mapped out all the rinks within a 15 minute radius. This is pretty much an automatic thing for me to do whenever I travel. It’s like taking a tour of the country but through the different ice rinks! Well, I found a nice coffee club session for adults with a 20 minute lesson included. I haven’t been to a coffee club session since I left Penn State! So, with much happiness I left my hotel room last week and found my skating rink, The Ice Den, in Scottsdale.

It was actually one of the largest rinks I’ve been to with a sunken rink on both sides of the building and from what I hear, another one in the works towards the back! Everyone was extremely friendly and reminded me so much of my old rink. I met a few people, one person in particular was performing her artistic program for an ice show. Her fingers lit up and she swung rope like lights in a rhythmic movement to the music that was playing. I found out she was planning to go to adult nationals in Chicago in 2012 (this year) so we exchanged emails. She also introduced me to the Skating Director later on who was also super friendly (they do say this part of the country is one of the friendliest!). I found out she had just come back from helping Dorothy Hamill as a coaching assistant with her adult skating camp in Nantucket! She said they had a full range of adult skaters from one who could barely do crossovers to others who were working on doubles. I thought that was so great to hear! However, the camp as we all know is extremely expensive so I said I would love to take part in that camp one day but I would have to save up some mucho moola before that would happen! As it turns out though, when I returned home my Monthly Skating Magazine was waiting for me and they had included an article on the Hamill camp and a photo which included the woman I had met at the Ice Den! It’s the small things in life….

As for the lesson, during the coffee club we worked on holding first a right outside edge and then switching to a left inside edge hold as we went around a circle. Then she added in a forward outside three turn, holding the free leg position. Then we worked on forward and backward cross rolls both of which are on the silver test. I can do the forward cross rolls better than the back but she had us thinking of pointing the toe of each foot towards either side of the rink when we performed the cross rolls. So, your foot should clearly point in a 90 degree angle to either side as you cross your foot in front. For the back crossrolls (I am stiffer on these) you should feel like your feet are meeting a backward T-position. She had us hold a T position which is where you should push off without feeling like you are stepping back. Using your knees helps and pointing your toe also helps. More to come on this in the coming weeks as I get back into private lessons.

All in all it was totally worth the $14 for a 20 minute lesson and at least an hour of ice time! Definitely visit the Ice Den if you are ever out there. In addition, if you have never been to Arizona it is absolutely stunning. The sunsets are amazing, as they almost look like a small fire burning in the distance. I don’t have a photo of those fantastic sunsets but I do have one of the landscape. So different from our grassy/tree landscape in the northeast.

Now onto my other lessons, I haven’t written lately because I had been out of town and in general getting used to a new schedule. I discontinued the group lessons and started sharing a private lesson with another adult skater who is working on her pre-bronze test. She is actually more like a bronze level skater but like most adults has put off testing.

We shared the first lesson with the coach who I actually took group lessons from when I first came to MD last year. He has a completely different style to some things and in some cases (especially in freestyle) it is totally different from what I’ve known as far as technique. I have been trying to get a feel for whether or not I wanted to do full-on private lessons with him or go back to my other coach so it was great to be able to share lessons.

So for our first lesson we worked on my nemesis, the backward inside three turns. I have many evil moves and jumps but I am happy to say these are no longer one of them! After working on holding the inside edges and tweaking the arm positions I can now turn the 3 on the back inside edge. YAY!
Now, to put it into an actual pattern down the full length of the ice!
The notes below are what made it click for me:

Back Inside Three Turns (Arms Unblocked Version)
1. I block myself with my shoulder so I have a hard time looking over my shoulder when turning the back inside three on both sides. You do need to look over your back shoulder before you turn the three. So, my coach had me open both my hands with my thumbs pointing up. Sounds stupid and probably looks weird but it works. It automatically opens my shoulder and I can freely look back. If it is a right back inside edge your right arm is back behind you with your left is crossed in front. No fists, palms open, thumbs up and voila! Open shoulder!

2. I usually feel like I am tripping forward on my toe especially on the right. I usually feel like I force the three and don’t wait for it to turn. How to fix it? My coach had me just hold that back inside edge on both sides until it started curving automatically in. You should have it curve in to feel this until you can’t curve anymore. It should curve into a tiny circle until it stops. When I go into the back inside three turn instead of thinking turn the three, I think I am just continuing the edge and if you put a little more pressure on the inside edge it will automatically turn that 3-turn. This was a huge revelation! I hardly ever trip over my toe pick now on the turn.

3. Apply pressure. This I am still working on but when you press the inside of your thighs together as your are turning the back inside three turn it will help stabilize the turn. Your free foot should always be in front when you are doing this.

Hope that helps! It did me!

Now onto this weeks lesson…. we are on shared private lesson #2
Forward power pulls and I have no secret to these yet, as they are still incredibly difficult to me. I’ve posted before on tips for these and they are still applicable but here are my newest coach instructions. (I’ll be working on these in practice this week)

1. Start SLOW and big. Think of this as an edge exercise on a red line.
Start at the red line, step onto a right inside edge, left arm in front, right behind. Free foot should be in front, make a half circle and just before you hit the red line you have to switch arms as you pull up to create that pull to switch onto the outside edge, again make a half circle and pull up before the red line.
This is basically a power pull, slower and longer. Forget what you see on tv or even what the kids do… this should be about holding both edges on each foot. I like to compare this to hell since it’s hell on my knees πŸ˜‰ as of right now I can’t hold that second outside edge without swinging my leg like crazy. Yeah, it’s embarrassing. Arms are swinging too..definitely not pretty.

2. If it helps, really lean your body into that half circle. Think of your ear leaning towards whichever edge side you are on. I think this idea kind of helps me right now. I’ll know more when I get on the ice to practice in the coming days.

3. Arms – they should switch as you change edges but hell if I know how to do them in tandem with the legs. When I figure it out I will post it with a HOLY COW I DID IT right next to it.

4. When I can do this exercise I can graduate to actual one foot power pulls by thinking of long edges and pulling up at the end of the edge. Meaning, your are down in the knees for the whole first part of the edge (half of a circle) then you rise up at the very end. No wiggly butts!

Moving on from this little piece of hell, to flip jumps. Originally we were supposed to do back spins afterwards but we ran out of time. Thank God. Out of the three I can’t tell you which I despise more because each one contains a little special piece of misery for me. Nice, right?

I’m not sure if I can comment on what I learned for the flip, I’ve seen his technique for this jump before and it is still TOTALLY different from any other way I’ve learned it. Not bad or wrong just different.

So, all I can say is that we spent a lot of time holding the entry into the three turn without my usual push into the three turn. So weird. Then I spent time holding my toe pick in the ice until I turned towards the front to actually jump. I went with it not even trying to really jump until I figured out the cadence. At the end I landed one in this way very slowly. I think this is worth trying. Even though I am landing them pretty consistently the way I usually do them, I know that technique wise they are not so good so I think I will just try walking through them. Although I did notice it kills the momentum I think starting without the push into the three turn might be a good idea. It’s like there isn’t an assist to rely on which may be throwing me off.

Oh, I almost forgot, I am supposed to keep my hip under when I pick. None of this hip opening up business. Heh.

Now, you can scratch your head in confusion on what I just wrote! I’m trying to get everything down so I don’t forget but as far as the flip is concerned I will have to have another lesson to really break it down step by step. For now, these will have to suffice.

Happy Skating…

A photo of me at the Ice Den….enjoying my time at coffee club!

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

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

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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!