Nerves of Steel

skatecatLast week I ended with a challenge to share how you coped with all those irrational thoughts that coursed through your brains while waiting for your moment in the sun as a competitive adult ice skater. 

 

I received some great practical advice from  Kerry:

“I prepare for skating as much as possible. I try to do run throughs of a program or test for a month before I step on the ice. I learn what is an issue, what isn’t, and try to learn as much as I can during practice.

At competition or testing, I try to remember that no one else in the entire rink is nervous about me skating. The spectators, judges, and my coach want me to give them a performance. They are rooting for me. I concentrate on the first few moves, and then focus in on the music. I don’t remember much after that.

I do have a few “superstitions” that I do. First, I jokingly ask a really good skater to skate my routine. Second, I like to skate a half circle of crossovers before going to my starting spot. That helps me feel the ice one last time. Third, I try to laugh a little right before the music. Because, you can’t be nervous if you laugh.”

Cathy was more philosophical, questioning one’s sanity apparently just goes with the territory when you are an adult figure skater;

“I completely agree with you Lori! After countless competitions in Canada the US and Europe, I will still, minutes before the warm up when all the skaters in my group are jockeying for position at the gate, ask myself why the hell I signed up for this!!”

And then there’s Betsy, who despite the possibility of surgery,  has no intention of quitting,  I think she has the makings of a d**m good pairs skater!  Those girls are fearless!

“I just started skating again after a 30+ year hiatus. I’m 42. All has been going great, until this past Saturday when I fell hard and injured my shoulder, and now I’m facing a possible ruptured rotator cuff tendon and surgery. Yikes! Skating is a dangerous (and expensive) hobby. But once I’m healed I’m not going to give it up. I’ll just take it more slowly.”

So, it seems that when you are and adult ice skating competitor, you should have the following items in your skate bag: your own personal rituals/warm-up routines, comfort with your level of insanity and a heck of a lot of grit!  

As of this date, Canadian and American adult ice skaters are preparing for their national events and many more adult skaters are preparing for the International Adult Figure Skating Competition in Oberstdorf.   Let’s celebrate the fact that we are all,  a)Looney Tunes and at the same time b)tough as nails.

And let’s all wish Betsy a speedy recovery!

Posted in adult figure skater, Adult ice skater, adult ice skating competition, competitive ice skater, ISU Intrenational Adult Figure Skating Competition, Pairs Skater | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Unnerved

frontPicture this, a lovely early Spring Saturday afternoon, it’s partly cloudy and after six weeks of continual -20 degree C weather it’s actually gone up to a tropical -5 C and roads and sidewalks are passable.

It’s a great day to: _________

……Spend the day indoors at an adult figure skating competition!

Why not? Its fun right?

Yep. So why are we stressing over a 3 minute skate? Aren’t we old enough to know better? Ya think!

It’s supposed to be fun, yet there we all are, fussing and stewing over whether we’ve warmed-up or trained properly, or whether we should have worn or bought a different costume. Or whether to attempt a less than reliable element or whether our competitors are better skaters and we are going to look ridiculous. Or whether we are really ready for this and why didn’t we just stay home today?

The number one question that goes through your head is “What on earth was I thinking when I signed up for this!!??”

If it’s any comfort this is not just an adult ice skater thing, Bianca, the teenager I was coaching was going through the exact same agony.

Probably the only figure skaters who never go through all this angst are 5 year-olds who don’t know any better.  Their relative innocence about what is transpiring will be short lived, if they go on to higher levels of competition they will most likely experience the same thoughts.

One of the perks of being an adult competitor is you legal capacity to imbibe either some celebratory joy should you skate well or alternatively, to abate your sorrows after a bad skate. In the latter case just remember that some of the ice goes in the drink and the rest goes on the bruises acquired from your less than stellar skate.

Oh and Bianca? She had a few cheated jumps but over skated very well and did herself proud; she’s going to make a great adult ice skater some day!

Do you get nervous when you compete? What crazy thoughts go through your head? What strategies do you use to cope? Share them with us!

This is the link to that awesome shirt in the photo!

Posted in adult figure skater, Adult Figure Skating Competitions, Adult ice skater, figure skaters | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Determination and Passion: Essential Traits for Any Ice Skater

dedicationFor several years now I have taught adult beginner ice skaters at a local skating school.  It all started with two courageous Moms who wanted to do more than just sit in the stands watching their kids’ lessons.  

Other Moms and Dads were inspired and this year both adult ice skating classes have been filled to capacity!    Since I have several students who have little or no skating experience, I have the luxury of working with program assistants (PAs) Marie and Justine,   older teens who are very talented competitive skaters but have limited coaching experience.    This season they have been of great help to me in providing one-on-one assistance and supervision to the absolute beginners.   I always keep them in my line of sight while I am working with my more advanced skaters and make sure to check in on them periodically.    When the skater feels ready and I feel they are safe, they are allowed to joins my more advanced group but they are still shadowed by the program assistant.  

 I was a little concerned that the PAs might find this task a little dull; after all they spend their days mastering doubles and triple jumps.  Every time I checked in with coach and skater things were going well, and within a few short weeks their newbie skater’s look of apprehension and impending doom gradually morphed into delighted smiles. 

Even more delightful is that the PA’s always are beaming with pride at their student’s progress; last week, Marie caught my attention in order to have her student demonstrate her newly acquired skill of crossing the ice without stopping and generating a little bit of glide as an added bonus!  

Justine shared with me of how impressed she was with the adults’ perseverance.  Given that figure skating is a sport best mastered at a young age, she realized there was more at stake if they fell or were injured and she was inspired by how they dealt with their fear.  She even shared that there were elements that she did that scared her and we both agreed that it’s easier to push through fear when you really love what you do and have a coach who can help you build confidence.

We also agreed that figure skating is and extremely demanding sport and developing consistency in elements can be a frustrating experience, the important thing is to keep working at improvement and move beyond those discouraging days when NOTHING is working.   Poor Justine, those double axels were not happening for her today….and my flying camel flew the coop last week!  

I guess it’s comforting to know that no matter what level skater we are, we all struggle with the same basic elements: fear, frustration, discouragement, even trying to stay warm at times!

What are you struggling most with right now in you ice skating?   Hope you have some ice skating kindred spirits’ shoulders to cry on….   Who is in your cheering section?  Have you been “adopted” by a youngster?  Isn’t it great!!!

Posted in adult figure skater, Adult ice skater, Basic Skills for Adult Beginner Figure Skaters, figure skating, Ice skating, ice skating coach | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Ice Skating for Senior Adult Skaters: A Great Idea!

CoffeeClub SkateI’ve pretty much skated all my life and as a competitive adult figure skater I am pretty comfortable skating with advanced competitors skating at high speeds or with speed crazed public session skaters.

There are passionate ice skaters out there who love to skate but for whom a fall or injury would be a game-ender.    A Las Vegas rink has the perfect session for  senior or older beginner skaters.

“Ice skating at a public rink can be a dangerous undertaking for older adults. Fast skaters moving swiftly on the slick ice can cause beginners and older skaters to trip and fall, which can lead to bumps, bruises and broken bones.”

Read whole article

For adult ice skaters who want to improve their skills a coach is available otherwise people pretty much enjoy themselves skating comfortably in a safe environment.  I imagine it’s also a great escape from the mid-day heat too!

Are there similar sessions in your part of the world?   Tell us about them!

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Essentrics for Adult Ice Skaters

551138_376574729031088_100000356937291_1291842_601483656_nDevoted ice skaters need to cross-train; this is true for any level or age. Ice skaters are no different from serious athletes in any sport; we repeat the same movements over and over, often for hours at a time on a regular basis. This is hard on the body at any age. I train with teens in a Sport-Study Programme and they often complain about the same aches and pains that I do!

Unlike the teens though, we adult figure skaters  may have older injuries that can be compounded by the intensity of our figure skating training. Plus, we also need longer recovery times between intense training sessions and, unfortunately, take longer to heal from injury.

As part of the research for my upcoming book, Skating in the Arena of Life: 7 Strategies for Midlife Women to Find Solid Ground and Achieve Their Goals, (LINK) I decided to try out an “Essentrics™ Aging Backwards” class.

Essentrics™ technique was created by Miranda Esmonde-White. American readers may have seen her TV show “Classical Stretch” on the PBS network. . To quote her website:

“The ESSENTRICS™ technique is based on the concept of eccentric muscle contractions, which strengthen the muscles in the lengthened position. This type of muscle activation increases tension on the muscles as they lengthen, creating a long, lean and toned physique, helping to relieve aches and pains and to prevent injuries. The simultaneous strengthening and stretching in ESSENTRICS™ results in a strong, vibrant, youthful and pain-free body.”

As well as benefiting mere mortals, numerous elite athletes have also benefited from Essentrics™, notably figure skaters Megan Duhamel and Amelie Lacoste, as well as the Montreal Canadians Hockey team.

So what was the “Aging Backwards” class like? According to the website, it is “aimed at regaining your mobility while slowly building strength and re-awakening the power of your 620 muscles…. It is designed for those who have atrophy-related stiffness, frozen shoulder, chronic aches and pains, or who are beginning to exercise after a long sedentary period….” Chronic aches and pains? Yep, that’s me!

We started with a very gentle but thorough warm-up, followed by some very gentle stretches done first at the barre and then on the mat. As an adult figure skater, I really appreciated working barefoot and the time we spent working on the feet. One of the down sides of skating is having your feet and ankles relatively immobile for long periods of time.

I never broke a sweat, but I felt comfortable, warm and energized. In a perfect world, I would do this class right before my on-ice training! It was also good to focus on stretching and mobilizing the joints that don`t get a whole lot of use in skating (feet and upper body), as well as taking the time to mobilize all of my joints through their entire range of motion.

There are Essentrics™ trained teachers all over the world, so you have no excuses to not give it a try. Check out their website and be sure to share how you cross-train for figure skating on this website!

Posted in adult figure skater, Adult ice skater, figure skaters, figure skating injury, Ice skating | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ice Skating for Absolute Beginners: Learn to Turn

Here’s another in the series of introductory videos I have been making for people who would like to learn to skate or become more confident ice skaters but who may not have access to a coach or lessons.

They are aimed primarily at adult skaters and the skills are based on those I teach using the  Skate Canada’s “Canskate” program.    I have learned through years of teaching adult beginner  ice skaters that I need to pace the speed at which  I teach the skills a little differently.     I also need to use a lot more teaching progressions than I do with children.    I have to make sure adults master and are confident about doing all the components before I introduce more advanced skills.

Once they master this skill, I would typically introduce a two foot turn from front to back while skating forward slowly.

Are you a brand new adult ice skater?  Would you like more helpful tips on how to get started in a fun and safe way?   Check out my on-line how-to book for great ideas!

Ice Skating for Absolute Beginners

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Ice Skating Gold Interpretive Program

Here’s my 2015 interpretive skating program from my first competition  of 2015.    Over all I was pretty pleased with how I skated.       This event was actually not an adult figure skating event.   I actually prefer to skate against the kids since it makes me work harder,  last year I actually won this event,  this year the top three girls were very strong skaters and all did an excellent job so I was very pleased with my 4th place finish.

I really do love the program and there is lots of work to be done to improve both the skating skills and the interpretation.    As you can see in the video, my endurance was fading at the end,   considering that I had skated my masters free style program two hours earlier that evening, had been sick or injured for  most of the four weeks before the competition and I had done less than 10 run throughs of the program, I think I did OK!

What themes/music are you using for your interpretive or showcase programs?    Tell us all about it….even better share a video of you skating for us to cheer for!

Posted in adult figure skating, endurance, Interpretive Skating, skating skills | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Ice Skating for Absolute Beginners: Backwards Skating

Here’s another in the series of introductory videos I have been making for people who would like to learn to skate or become more confident ice skaters but who may not have access to a coach or lessons.

They are aimed primarily at adult skaters and the skills are based on those I teach using the  Skate Canada’s “Canskate” program.    I have learned through years of teaching adult beginner  ice skaters that I need to pace the speed at which  I teach the skills a little differently.     I also need to use a lot more teaching progressions than I do with children.    I have to make sure adults master and are confident about doing all the components before I introduce more advanced skills.

Once they master this skill, I would typically ask the skater to increase the speed and length of the glide.   I would also get them to start to try gliding on one foot…I just get them to lift the foot of their choice up off the ice for a second or two.

Are you a brand new adult ice skater?  Would you like more helpful tips on how to get started in a fun and safe way?   Check out my on-line how-to book for great ideas!

Ice Skating for Absolute Beginners

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Adult Ice Skating Masters Free Style Program

Here is a video of my adult masters free style program from my first figure skating competition of 2015.   I was really pleased with how well it went, especially since due to a combination of illness and injury I really hadn’t been able to train all that much in the weeks leading up to the competition.

The other adult I was competing against was actually young enough to be my daughter, she’s also a training buddy of mine so we made sure to cheer madly for each other!    Unfortunately she didn’t have her best skate and was beaten by this old lady….she’s since vowed to make me work much harder for the gold medal next time we skate against each other!

I was pleased to get both axels as well as all three spins,   there’s still a lot more work to be done on the spins in terms or speed and consistency but at least I didn’t bail out or dumb down anything.    This is the second year I have had this program so my cardiovascular and muscular endurance was good, nothing like having mileage on your programs to give you confidence!

Do you have a free style program?  What level do you skate at?   What do you love/hate about your program?   Comment and Share!

Posted in Adult Ice Skating, figure skating competition | 6 Comments

Figure Skating???? At Your Age????

 paperback

Click here to purchase on line book

Has anyone ever said this to you?  

It’s been my experience that most of the times when I hear this people are saying it with respect and awe; more often than not they will follow up with a confession that they would love to be able to do this or are totally blown away by your perseverance and dedication.

Fortunately, I need less than all five fingers on one hand to count the number of times that someone has said it to me with sarcastic or belittling intent.

In 2012 I wrote a book for adult ice skaters, at the time it was unique in that no one had ever written any kind of instruction guide for this population.   Considering how little I promoted the guide, the only way you could order it was via my website, it has sold well.

If you or someone you know is new to adult ice skating, this is the guide for you!

Do you want to get started but have no idea how to find out where to get lessons, coaches, equipment, this is the guide book for you,

Are you and adult figure  skater and want a drop a hint to your significant other? Get this book to them

By purchasing the book, you help support this web site; please share the link with your friends.

The cover?   Yep that’ s mum and dad.

Click here to purchase on-line book

 

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