Tag Archives: jump tips

Lesson Recap #2 & #3

2 Feb

I’ve decided to condense the last two group lesson sessions into one. They do repeat on skills with a definite emphasis on the back spin (shudder).

Adult Class

Two foot back spin exercises (back to basics)

  1. Start from right foot pivot
  2. Do one full pivot (long circle) and be careful to keep right hip open.
  3. Arms should be open
  4. Then do the pivot on your left side to feel the difference in rotation.
  5. Switch back to right foot pivot and do one long circle to two foot back spin.
  6. Keep arms out for balance and then bring arms in after practicing a few times.
  7. Note on Arm Position: Make fists with both hands and bring in with right hand over left.

TIP: Note on Feet Position: Make sure your LEFT skate is in front of the RIGHT skate when doing the two foot spin (I always catch myself cheating and spinning with my right foot in front) 

Moving on from the pivot to two foot back spin

  1. Start with skates hips width apart and scissor your feet back and forth on the ice to feel where you are on the blades. Do this a few times.
  2. With skates hips width apart and knees bent start to do your two-foot spin.
  3. Spin first with arms down and then scooping up and in.
  4.  As you pull feet in to spin also pull arms from down to up (this increases the speed)

TIP: Work on this for 5 minutes, just feeling where you are in the spin, keeping that left foot in front of right and bring your arms from down to up

  1. Then pull feet in during the spin with arms out and then pulling tightly in (fists with right hand over left)
  2.  Finally, lift one foot up and spin using arms from out to in and then also from out to in and then up.

TIP: When you pull your arms in and up like in a fast scratch spin, place your right thumb in your right hand and tightly pull into your chest and then continue up over your face almost brushing your nose and above your head. Arms should be on either side of your head squeezing. This can be practiced on any spin. Maintain a lot of tension!

Back Spin Entrance from Inside Edge

  1. Start on line and push onto right foot into a deep inside edge.
  2. BEND right knee fully and push your hips forward
  3. Imagine a circle in front of you and that is what you should follow as you deepen the right inside edge.
  4. Do not lean back onto your heel (this makes it much harder to spin) Lean forward into the spin.
  5. As you can turn into the back spin from the right inside edge (do not rush the edge) keep your left leg out for at least the first 2 revolutions and keep your arms out.
  6. Then bring everything into spin faster (including your arms)

TIP: I found that if I do not stay on the imaginary circle in front of me when I enter the spin then I usually am off balance. I also find that I need to bend my right knee a lot when I get into the spin and when I do this I normally have an easier time staying over my right side. This also goes with leaning forward a little in the spin as well. All the failed spins I was on my heel or leaning out of the spin. So knee bend is key. Also I am always fearful of falling backwards on this spin and since I’m upright and tall I’m also fearful of how far I have to fall down to the ice. By bending my knee in the spin a little it makes me feel like I am closer to the ice. I don’t think it’s that noticeable but it feels like it!

JUMP Session

Warm – up

  1. Forward side lunges alternating down a straight line then crossovers and start again down another line. You should lunge out to the side and then stand up fully before going back down to do another side lunge.
  2. Back side lunges (these are harder) down the line alternating same as the forward side lunge exercise. Stand up after pulling in from the lunge.

Jump prep with forward scratch spin from three turn entrance

  1. Stroke forward (two strokes) then crossover to the left (2x)
  2. Perform a left forward inside edge into a right inside edge with a flick of your foot (just your leg bent slight in during the turn, helps with the speed of the spin)
  3. Then left outside edge into a scratch spin with right leg held straight to the side, arms out and open.
  4. Perform spin 2 rotations up and then 2 rotations down (just a little bend in knee, not a sit spin) then repeat again. Try 3x up and then 3 x down.
  5. Keep thighs open and away from each other when spinning (I have a tendency to    bring my free leg close to the skating leg and then forward when I go down a little. It should not be like a sit spin position.

TIP: Pull shoulder blades down and back to keep arms open while spinning, this should help with keeping legs and arms open

  1. Repeat this exercise, note that you will get speed into this spin coming from this entrance. I have to maintain slower crossovers so I am not going into it too fast.
  2. Then, add a hop on left leg while in forward upright spin. Jump up in spin on the   down part. Rotate 2x up and then 2x down, 2 x up and 2 x down then HOP. I haven’t been able to do this yet, work in progress.

This exercise leads into a beginning flying spin position.

  1. Add a hop on the left leg while you are spinning  onto the right foot. This hop brings you into your back spin.  Use the 2x up and 2x down rhythm to do this exercise. The 9 year old was the only one who tried this as of yet. Maybe next time I’m on ice I’ll try this… we will see.

Salchow Control Prep and Toe Loop Combo

  1. He had us doing the Sal from alternating three turns to really feel that edge. I found the alternating 3 turns more challenging then the sal. which is probably the easiest jump for me but it really makes you take your time and sit over that edge into the sal. 
  2. So, it was left outside 3 turn (take your time), right outside 3, left outside 3 and really hold that inside edge into the salchow.

TIP: Keep same arm in front through the alternating 3 turns (steady) do not change arms as you switch from right to left.

Salchow Jump Pattern

  1. Left back crossovers (2 -3)
  2. Left forward inside Mohawk to back landing edge position hold (refer to lesson #1 for landing edge hold exercise)
  3. Left outside 3 turn into Salchow / Toe Loop Combo (refer back to lesson #1 for toe loop exercises)

TIP: This exercise also helps you maintain control over that edge into the salchow. I don’t have the swingy three turn issue (like an unchecked three turn) that I see a lot of adult and kid skaters have when they first learn to do this jump but if I did, this would be a great way to stop that. 

That’s all for now! I hope it helps! As for me… I’ll be doing the back spin over and over and over again… Oy veh. And maybe if I feel up to it, I’ll the flying spin exercise.

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!

What Happens at the Ice Show, Stays at the Ice Show… Unless Ryan Bradley Shows Up!

18 Apr

Flickriver: Most interesting photos tagged with patinage

The ice show ended last night and after long evenings of rehearsals and the general hectic schedule I am exhausted and happy to resume normal life. That’s not to say I didn’t have tons of fun, lots of lovely ice time and get to know alot of happy club figure skaters.

It was a great bonding experience, spending so much time with people who share your passion for a sport that reaches across all ages. Skaters at all levels (kids, collegiate, coaches, adults) seemed to bond together throughout the 2 days of the show for their love of skating.

It’s also the one time of year where all the skaters in the club gather at one time and you can meet new skaters that joined. This weekend though was special because there was only one person that EVERYONE wanted to get to know.

Every year we have a guest skater and we usually find out who it is about 2 months before the show. The guest skater skates two numbers (each night) and also does an hour seminar the afternoon before the last show. This year’s skater created quite a buzz. When we were told that Ryan Bradley was coming it produced so many wide eyed looks, sighs and overall high pitched squeals of excitement that I am surprised he made it through the front door of the ice rink un-molested. (sigh… I did squeal a little!)

Later, I heard a collegiate skater say she saw a little girl run up to him and just hug him on the legs. She said, “That little girl is so lucky, you can do anything when you are that young and it’s ok, no one says anything! I would so love to run up to Ryan and hug him.” Her friend then remarked, “Yeah, but then you would never let him go!” We all laughed but I think most of the women in the rink felt the same way every time they saw him but most of us were to afraid to do much other than say hello let alone run up and hug him! We were all a little star struck by his presence.

When he arrived at the rink he practiced for about 25 minutes on ice. He mostly jumped, triples and then he did a few backflips. He explained later when we asked about his warmup’s that maybe he is not the best example for on ice warmup’s since he goes right into jumps. He did say he has an extensive off ice warmup and that he typically does moves later on in the session. I found out later that he is a very aggressive skater (admittedly so) and will try things on his own until he succeeds at it.

After his practice session he was at the front of the rink and I had a chance to personally meet him. I thought he was one of the most approachable skaters I’ve ever met. He seemed very friendly, maybe just a little nervous and very down to earth. I asked him if he still got nervous for exhibitions and he said he did. I thought that was really cute. Ok, so I thought everything he did or said was cute, so I’m biased! Keep that in mind as you read this! I was totally one of his avid female skater stalkers at the rink and I am not ashamed to admit it, I really couldn’t hide it anyway!

Most of the time he was wearing either jeans or sweatpants and some type of interesting t-shirt. A friend of mine gave him an Ice show t-shirt from our club to remember us by. She said how she noticed he wore a different and interesting t-shirt every time he practiced at competitions so she wanted to give him another to wear. He said, yes he does like to wear t-shirts and in the past he has actually gotten in trouble from the judges for doing so in the practices! That’s crazy! I didn’t realize figure skating was still that rigid!

At any rate, I did attend the hour skating seminar yesterday and he was very talkative and relaxed, inserting his actual experiences on ice with good skating tips. We made up a group of 16 and we ran through two warm-up sequences, back and forward perimeter power crossover stroking. We then ran through most of the jumps in groups while he watched and made general instructional comments. I found it very nerve wracking to have 12 others watching me plus Ryan Bradley while I jumped. However, he was very reassuring about that too and tried to relax everyone by telling them how hard it is to just jump after standing around for some time. Such a nice guy!

So from that on-ice seminar session here are some Ryan Bradley skating tips:
(please note that this is my interpretation of what he said and while I tried to listen carefully if something seems wrong its probably my interpretation and not Ryan’s instruction)

1. Landings are very important and almost more important than the jump itself: Jumps happen very quickly (of course he is talking about triples, but I supposed this applies to any level) and you want the last thing the judges to see is a good, steady, well presented landing. No matter what the jump looked like make the landing look like it was the best jump you did. You can imagine how much we all paid particular attention to holding our landing position no matter how funky our jumps were after he said that!

2. Shoulders should be level when you jump. We were talking about the salchow when he said this. I think because our three turns get swingy we were dropping shoulders right and left. He had us do basic inside three turns and noted that we should do the sal’s more like we do our regular three turns rather than let our free leg get away from us because we think we need to swing it up to get into the jump. Also, no rushing of the three turn should happen. (Oh so guilty!) He also said he could live without doing salchows and that it is his least favorite jump, but he could do triple toes everyday and be perfectly happy. Sniff… sal’s are one of my favorite jumps so I was a little disappointed by that.

3. Basic position for most jumps is to have your legs and hips squarely under you. While he is not advocating that you are going to have two feet straight under you for the jumps, in essence you should feel that your legs and feet are in-line with your hips. You should not feel that you are off in any way before a jump. I know that seems pretty basic to say but if you think about it, how many times do we force ourselves to complete a jump even if we feel that our body alignment is so off kilter that we feel unsteady before taking off? I feel that way in every lutz and flip take off. He said kids don’t think about the jumps as much as adults. Adults tend to think of too many things, we should narrow it down to one or two things and just be aggressive with the jump.

4. We talked about Lutz’s and Flips and he said that years ago he used to do an outside edge flip. This is something that people have not been talking about as much as they do the Flutz (an inside edge lutz). He had to relearn the correct edge take off for the flip. So we talked about the inside edge take off vs the outside edge take off the lutz. I have a horrendous lutz, and I lose all my momentum when I pick in. He commented that we should feel like we are winding up and should not release our arms (my interpretation here is iffy) until we are ready to pick because if you release your arms before this all that energy will dissipate. (I do this, I think this was after my little lutz attempt which is actually like a pick/loop)

5. When it comes to any skating move, jump etc. we should always be pushing ourselves to do better. We should try and get just a little faster or stronger each time and really think about that when we are skating so that we can reach a different level. He really stressed this on the warmup as well. You should use all of your push rather than going halfway with the stroke or push.

He said a few other wise words about practicing and competing and how judges rank skaters on practice ice before the competition and then adjust that ranking according to how they skate in competition. He talked about an aggressive strength training routine for off-ice workouts and he commented on all of his injuries. It sounded extremely painful especially the knee injuries. I imagine most Senior level skaters must be in a lot of pain especially as they get older. I know I have pain and I don’t even do half as much as he does! Who would’ve guessed that adult skaters and senior level skaters have something in common! We all have a nice supply of ibuprofen with us for those aches and pains!

In the ice show his exhibition was to the song “Kung fu Fighting” (an immediate hit with the crowd) and he did an abbreviated version of his long program for the second act. I would be lying if I said I didn’t love those brown pants he wears, oh, and of course the skating in that program was amazing too 😉

His one foot flips are crazy! I breathed a sigh of relief every time he landed one – although the first night he landed one a little too close to the boards and slammed into it. He played it off so well though that most people thought it was part of his program! I heard that he taught himself how to do back flips on the ice. That’s an amazing testament to how aggressive he is on the ice! Although no quads I did see a few triple toes and triple axels.

All in all, Ryan was candid, genuine and just a really great role model on and off the ice for the skaters. We really enjoyed having him at the rink. He was gracious enough to let us take group photos with him and sign many autographs for all of us.

Sigh…I believe he officially replaced my Brian Joubert obsession from a few years ago. Till next year….