Tag Archives: new coach

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!

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!