Because we couldn’t find 4 tiny little figure skates
and a sparkly dress in her size!
Several years ago I took a course in internet marketing and and one of the assignments was setting up a YouTube channel and filming/posting marketing videos. We also had to set up a Twitter account and monitor that as well. I had some video clips that I had filmed for my level 1 NCCP coaching certification so I posted these as well. The clips were of me coaching some beginner and intermediate level adult figure skaters. I posted them and basically completely forgot about them.
Well, didn’t these things start to take on a life of their own, OK nothing viral (maybe if it were cats on ice?) but people were commenting and asking questions. So I filmed a few more videos that covered very basic skills for adult beginner figure skaters and got more comments and requests for more videos.
It seems that many of my fans are just starting their ice skating journey or would like to know how to begin. I’m happy to help people get started with basic skills but I only want to do basic stuff. If anyone wants to try more advanced skills they really should be working with a coach primarily for safety reasons. Also what works for me may not necessarily work for you, figure skating coaches get the big bucks to assess what your particular problems are and then help you to find the solution that works for you.
If you’ve got non-skating friends who would like to try figure skating definitely pass this onto them, the content in this video is what I teach to my adult beginners in the first class.
Be sure and share your comments.
….and let me know if you have requests for a video on a specific skill!
We’ve been discussing endurance pertaining to figure skating for the past couple of weeks. Last week, I shared some ways you can improve your endurance for your program off-ice. This week will be about on-ice muscular endurance training.
Remember to always start with a little light activity, such as stroking. Depending on such factors as arena temperature, time of day or even just how old, creaky and stiff you are at that point, you may need to do anywhere between 5-15 minutes of stroking and other warm-up activities before and after your endurance work to warm up and cool down your muscles. If time on the ice is limited, it might be a good idea to arrive a little earlier and do some warm-up activities off-ice. Brisk walking or a gentle run are good ways of warming up the muscles . You should still do an on-ice warm-up but it just won’t take as long.
After you feel sufficiently warmed up, you can progress to jumps and spins. I like to warm up with waltz jumps and back spins, since they are the basis of most of the other elements in figure skating.
On-Ice muscular endurance training:
Here are some suggestions; this is not an exhaustive (pun intended) list. Each figure skating coach has his or her own specific ideas, based on experience and training. These are just some of the things that work for me.
I try to do both my programs every time I get on the ice. Good time management has come to be an absolute essential for me, since I have both a free style and an artistic program as well. I need to make sure I practice jumps, spins and stroking exercises. My goal is really to be able to do my programs more than once in a session. I have an adult training buddy who does her masters competitive program at least 4-5 times per session with incredible results. She also does off-ice work with a personal trainer, which also helps. For the time being, my goal will be to do each program at least once full out and then a second time with only singles. For the truly masochistic (or determined) souls amongst us, back-to-back full out run-throughs are very effective. My coach often gets me to do elements when my legs are tired; for example, my footwork sequence, which is my very last element in my program. When I do it in isolation, it is actually very easy; less so after two and a half minutes!
I think, therefore I am – going to do it!
Mental preparation is also important. It’s always tempting not to do a run-through, purely because you feel so horrible when doing it. I know some times I really have to psych myself up to attempt the program. I have to remind myself that mileage is key: the more times I do it, the more comfortable I will be with it.
Perseverance is key: if you keep pushing through to the end every time, that lovely feeling of impending death will lessen over time. You will go from saying to yourself, “When it this going to be over?” to, “Hey, it’s nearly over!!”
And remember to practice doing it all with a smile on your face!
It is at this point that I am ethically and morally bound to advise anyone who has never done any type of intense endurance work to please check with their appropriate medical professional before embarking on such activity. Most coaches have CPR training, but they all really, really, really hope they never have to use it!
So, who’s ready to bite the bullet and work on improving their muscular endurance? Remember adult nationals are in six months!
Last week, I explained a type of endurance that is crucial to a skater’s performance: muscular endurance. This allows a figure skater to be able to continue at a moderate to intense level of activity for 2, 3, or 4 minutes, interspersed by several bouts of explosive movements, such as jumps, spins, or lifts.
You may wish to consider adding some sort of off-ice training regimen to your regular weekly exercise schedule. This week, I’ll share some ways you can improve your endurance for your program. Continue reading
Recently, Skate Canada changed the requirements for recreational freestyle figure skating test levels. This was good news for me; my freestyle program time was reduced from three and a half minutes to three minutes. The number of jump passes was also reduced from seven to six. I’m not entirely certain of the reasoning behind this, but it was certainly good news to an old lady skater such as me. Maybe …
Despite the fact that up until this point, I was able to do a 3:30 program, I struggled to get through the shorter version. Perhaps the introduction of three more difficult jumps in the choreography may have had some bearing on this. Whatever the case, it took about six months before I could actually get through the program without having to leave out elements. Or maybe I’m just getting old(er). Elite athletes like Patrick Chan skate four and a half minutes and looks like he has just returned from a brisk walk through the park. I, on the other hand, after three minutes was huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf.
Patrick Chan….out for his stroll in the park (metaphorically speaking)
So there you are at your early morning practice and look who glides (ambulates? waddles?) out onto the ice.
”A six-legged robot is a new weekly skater at Penn’s ice rink.
RHex, a research project created over a decade ago by engineering professor Daniel Koditschek, is a robot designed to handle a variety of terrains, including desert, rocks and, most recently, ice. The team hopes that the robot can one day be used for search-and-rescue missions as well as data collection…..”
Anna Brill, an Engineering sophomore who worked as an undergraduate mechanical engineer in Kod*lab during the summer, came up with the idea of running RHex on ice. She was encouraged by both Koditschek and her mentor, who also works on the project, to pursue her own personal research project.
“As someone who is also interested in the artistic aspect of robotics, the idea of a robot that could elegantly ice skate seemed both an artistic and a scientific goal,” she said.”
Definitely nice to see engineering science taking an interest in our sport, now if only they could come up with a full size android dance partner?
Yes I’m being awfully silly this week. I’m working on a series of nutrition/fitness articles for the next few weeks so back my usual deep, profound self (NOT!) next week
Kurt’s strategy is to see a competition as a reward for all the hard work of training, the strength of this mind-set is that it makes him master of his destiny, he enters the competitive setting from a position of strength and readiness. Essentially, he is banishing the “could-have/would-have/should-have” mindset. You know that little voice that says….. “I should have done more off-ice training…I could have won my last event if Suzie Paloozie had not been in my category….If Suzie Paloozie would stop sand bagging I would have a chance of winning….”
Adopting Kurt’s strategy doesn’t guarantee a win but it will make the competitive or test session more enjoyable and give you a chance to show the judges what you are truly capable of.
Wouldn’t it be nice to feel that confident while you were waiting for your music to start playing?? Maybe it was the beer…then again maybe not…. What ever the case, preparation is everything in figure skating isn’t it?
What do you think of Kurt”s suggestion? How do you prepare yourself mentally for a test or competition?
Theater On Ice is a form of competitive figure skating which combines the grace of ice skating with the excitement of theater and dance. Teams consist of between 8 and 30 skaters and solo skating is discouraged, although it is permitted in limited amounts if it enhances the overall telling of the story. The programs are judged on the basis of a “technique of performance” and “artistic” marks. There are many club TOI teams and competitions around the in the US. It seems to me like it is a cross between Showcase and Synchro events.
As in a dance performance, the production must be meaningful and use symbolism to allow the audience to feel emotions through simple suggestive elements. Theater On Ice skaters must express imagination and give shape to abstract images thanks to body gesture.
As in a synchro competition, two competitive programs may be skated: the choreographic exercise and the long program.
Choreographic Exercise is based on three elements: theme, choreographic process, and type of gesture or movement. No scenery or props are allowed. Natural or minimal make-up is required and hair must be worn pulled back or in a bun and secured with plain barrettes. Team members must wear all plain black – including legs and long sleeves on arms. In fact, any violation of this dress code will be a 0.1 deduction.
The Free Skate performance should be original, and express a theme, emotion or story. Like in Showcase events, vocal music is allowed and teams may use costumes, props and even scenery to help tell their stories.
There is also a professional Theater on Ice company as well, see below for a video of a work created by Ice Theater of New York.
Founded in 1984 by Moira North, Ice Theatre is the nation’s first non-profit ice dancing ensemble to be awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts. Modeled as a dance company, Ice Theatre has trained a professional ensemble of skaters and built a critically acclaimed repertory of performance pieces that have been presented both nationally and internationally. The enormously talented cast of Ice Theatre is comprised of national and international champions. See the video below for an example of their work.
Do you skate in Theater On Ice? Send us a video or picture of your team and tell us how often you practice, and if you are in an adult or mixed team.
Jerry Boyer and 11-year-old Rachelle show us age is no barrier when it comes to having a great time ice dancing.
I’ll let Jerry explain: ”The competition event was called “Generation Gap”…there had to be 20 yrs difference between the skaters. Smile, the “gap” was 59 yrs. Not many youngsters would wanna skate with a 70 yr old(?). Rachelle wanted to do it and her dance coach thot it would be neat…so we did. Thanks again… learning as an adult takes time, patience and determination, but it is soo much FUN!!!”
Right you are Jerry!
BTW, the Willow Waltz is what is referred to as a “Pattern Dance” in ice dancing. The steps are fixed and anywhere in the world you will always skate the same steps.
I was a kid skater so I really don’t remember passing the willow….yeah I’m that old, lol. My favorite dances are Argentine Tango, Starlight Waltz, Austrian Waltz and Tango Romantica.
What is your favorite pattern dance? Why do you like it?
The funny thing is I can remember when they were back in juvenile and pre-novice…. such is the lot of the adult figure skater who trains with young competitive ice skaters. When you first meet them, they may be a tad cocky and perhaps a bit perplexed by the old lady who is struggling with elements that come to them so easily. They sometimes are constantly underfoot and at times rather arrogant, especially if they are winning their events hand over foot due to unlimited natural talent.
But over time reality sets in…an element that continually gives them trouble, a season-ending injury…boyfriend woes… you end up being den mother to a gaggle of teens who you see at their best and sometimes, at their worst moments.
All of a sudden they are young adults, ready to leave the “ice skating nest”. They are starting university and can’t devote the time needed to continue as high level competitors, or they begin their coaching career or decide it’s time to move on to new things…like marriage and (gasp!) children of their own!
Back to Saturday night.
Julianne Seguin, who I had the privilege of training with when she was an energetic pre-novice, skated a strong short program, enough to win the event. As a youngster, she stood out as a quiet, courteous young lady who gave 100% effort every minute she was on the ice. What also made her unique was that she clearly loved every minute of it, it was rare to see her without a huge smile on her face and her energy was, and still is, infectious!
I was fortunate to be present for some of her figure skating milestones, landing her first double axel and all the triples that followed in rapid order afterwards. Her first pairs tryouts, landing throw jumps like she’d been doing them all her life…and that was just the first week! I’m sure her Mom, coach and partner will tell you she has her down days but when she’s in her natural environment, the ice, she makes you feel like anything is possible!
A few years ago she changed training locations and I do miss her, but after not seeing her for two years it’s good to know that she’s still loving what she does. Because she always reminds me of how much I love figure skating and because she is relentless in her pursuit of excellence, I hereby declare Julianne an honorary adult ice skater and is International Adult Figure Skating skater of the month for August 2014!
Do you skate with an inspirational youngster or teen? Be sure you let them know how awesome they are and then share their awesomeness with us!