Tag Archives: salchow

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.

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!

Starting the Season with a Bang!

13 Sep

Today was the official start of the season for our rink. Its the beginning of junior and senior subscription ice. Normally I just do the adult ice on Monday’s but since my coach is only teaching on Sunday’s during the regular club subscription ice (geared more for the Jr. club but due to lagging membership it was opened to all) it was necessary that I skate today.

I haven’t had a lesson in probably a month and my lessons in general have been sporadic all summer so today I was somewhat looking forward to the lesson. However, the other half of me was a bit in fear because I had only skated once this week (yesterday) and knew I wasn’t feeling all that solid on the ice.

Once on the ice, I had a nice chat with my coach and then we started on my silver moves. She chose the back outside 3 turn pattern to start with which ordinarily I like but was having a hard time remembering the exact pattern. She showed me the beginning of the pattern and I promptly followed behind her. As I turned the first back outside three on the fresh, clean ice I felt my heel slip from underneath me and went down hard on my back and slammed my head off the ice. I literally felt it bounce.

To say I was a bit stunned is an understatement. I do normally bounce right back up after falling, just not on my head! After laying there in pain for 5 seconds or so, I did stand up, albeit slowly. I felt fine after a few minutes although I took it slow afterwards. My coach was really worried since she thought it looked like a nasty fall.

I have to say, the last time I really slammed my head that hard off the ice was back in 2003 learning a scratch spin. I am wondering now, things usually come in three’s so maybe this was my last injury for some time? One can hope, anyway, first the ankle burn, then the bone spur and thirdly slamming my head off the ice today. I think I hit a nice range of injuries! Maybe now I will be injury free for the next few months? At any rate, I did start our season off with a bang! I’m going to take it easy after this one – back in 03′ at the ripe old age of 23 I didn’t give the head slam another thought (scary, aren’t I?) now I pay more attention to those things!

Oh well, again, time will tell. Hopefully it will not be anything very serious and I will be fine sans headache or issues tomorrow. It’s always those moves that are dangerous though! Never have I hurt myself badly on a jump and yet we all spend alot of time obsessing over those!

This is going to be a long post since I want to record what we did in the lesson today. I usually do that, but you know just in case tomorrow I forget what I did later – it will all be right here waiting for me! Uh, yep, you know you are obsessed with skating when you slam your head off the ice and immediately go home and record your lesson in a skating blog so you don’t lose the information! (or money for that matter!)

1. Back Outside Three’s
A return to basics
– make sure free leg hip is up
– start with inside right three turn, right arm up
– follow with right outside three, switch arms, make sure free foot is crossed in front above the ice.
– switch arms, face outside the circle, left arm leads, rock back on heel and then turn.

Repeat on both sides – conscious of free hip being up.

2. Salchow’s (This is my best jump, and I am trying to start exercises for the double)
– Take your time with the entrance
– Hold the inside three turn and do not drop the hip
– make sure free leg is behind you when turning the three then let it do the work when springing into the jump.
– keep free leg straight behind and point toes when jumping.
– it should be a very controlled entrance without scraping

3. Sal/Loop
– make sure free hip is closed
– immediately push into the loop after the sal
– keep left arm firmly in front of chest and right arm back.
– point toes when jumping up.
– Arms should scoop
– possibly practice this as sal/loop/backspin

4. Flip (possibly my most hated jump)
– working on holding the free leg behind me straight once I turn that three.
– keep the free hip up, up , up!
– focus on something at eye level to keep head up and make jump bigger.
– Work on these from both a stand still and in the program with a straight leg.
(these are getting very consistent, I just have technique issues with bending my leg)

I also ran through my program again today, and it was better time wise. We just need to adjust the end. If you watch the Jr. Grand Prix Skater from Belgium, Ruben Blomaert (sp?), short program on ice network you can hear what music I am using.

Darn it, I missed Brian Boitano’s food network show today!

Till next Sunday then…

Twizzle me this…

21 Feb

We started on twizzles last week in group lessons. Which were fun to watch. I tried them on both feet and managed to only fall three times. I think if I keep working on them they would be a great piece of choreography- if I dont slam myself into the ice first….lol
They look effortless when the ice dancers do them on tv but they are one tough piece of footwork if you ask me.
We moved on from those to rehashing the salchow and toe loop. Although both jumps are solid. My technique could use some work. I need more follow through on my toe loop. I am supposed to let the free leg kick through and alas…. sadly- it does not most of the time.
The sal, I was tweaking a bit. We worked on entry’s including just the three turn and then holding the edge. I realized that when we did them with the right arm leading I was all messed up. I remember learning it with either left or right. I dont know which is absolutely correct, but it stuck and it really throws me off a bit when I dont go into it with just both arms or the left. I still can land it with the right leading into it but it just doesnt feel natural. Thats what happens when you skate for 8 years you develop these habits. Even if I am not a skater landing doubles or tr\iples I still have been landing most of my singles for a while and its hard to break all those little things I have been doing for so long.

So I worked on checking out of my sal earlier to go into my toe combo. I have trouble with the toe add on. Loop no problem, but toe is wonky with anything. So I practiced really reaching back with my left foot and picking. That seemed to help.

I also worked on laybacks. Not so good this week. I need to lower my free leg just a bit. Its cramping my butt. Seriously, I feel like I cant bend because I have my free leg position so high it pushes my butt up and then that pushes my rolls around the waste and then voila… instant butt cramp!
lol… betchr you never heard that before!
No major breakthroughs lately. I have started choreographing the artistic program. Hopefully it will be ready by Nationals 😉
I modified my freeskate a little to include an inside edge spiral rather than a flat. We will see how that goes. It kind of redirects the path of the program a bit. It could be confusing. I will have to practice more.
My job is taking alot of my time right now but I should be able to get a lunch time session soon!!!
Its supposed to snow alot tomorrow morning.. please cancel! please cancel work!
Probably wont… ah well… it was a thought!

Happy Friday at least- its been one really hard week!