Here is another of my infrequent video commentaries on my various figure skating skills and flaws.
My purpose is really to let the world know what adult skaters are capable of, as well as keeping it real. There are a lot of great instructional videos out there by professional coaches and featuring elite figure skaters. Much can be learned from viewing these videos, but I also enjoy viewing videos that adult figure skaters post on the internet, since much can be learned from watching technical errors. Much can also be gained when you videotape yourself.
As painful as the experience can be, it does show you exactly where and why you mess up on an element. It also provides an “Aha!” moment for you and smug satisfaction for your coach. (“See… you really are rushing your take-off!”)
Lastly, I like to show what an adult figure skater is capable of… or not. Sometimes, we tend to beat ourselves up and compare ourselves with other skaters, be they 8 year-olds, elite skaters or even other adult skaters. Are there adult ice skaters out there that can do this spin? Certainly! Two of the women I train with, who are my age, can do Level 4 spins with ease. Are there other adult skaters who struggle with a back spin? Of course, there are! The important thing is that you continue to learn from, and be inspired by, other skaters around you, no matter what level you are at.
My goal is to stimulate conversation, much as if we were all standing around rink-side and helping each other out. I’ll go first!
Most of the commentary is on the video, but it did sink home to me how much nicer it would look if I straightened my free leg and changed the position of my arms. There is no reason why I can’t do this, other than being lazy. For me, this would not make the spin any more difficult. I just have to remember to do it!
My other observation was that I am spinning rather slowly. I am slowly recovering from a torn hip flexor that occurred over three years ago. I finally found a therapist who’s been able to help, but basically lost a lot of core strength in this time. I am beginning to get it back, but now I really appreciate how much core strength is needed to hold a spin position, especially if there is a difficult variation involved. Now that I’m turning faster, am feeling it in my inner thighs and abdominals.
Find a therapist who can heal your booboos, as well as help you to focus on the muscle groups you need for your sport. My therapist recommends not only a sport-specific warm-up, but also one designed around your specific weaknesses in your sport.
As far as levels in spins, I am fortunate to have a choreographer who is also a technical specialist. Several years ago, I received a Level 2 on this spin. But, of course, the ISU changed the rules and so now it is only a Level 1. To get a Level 2, I would need another variation on the sit spin. If I was really rockin’ and got 8 rotations, then there would be another level. Right now, it all depends on core strength.
Sometimes, an easy element becomes more difficult because of where it occurs in the program. This spin is the very last element in my current program. Several years ago, it used to be the first spin. I guess this is a sign that I am improving.
Do you like watching your skating on video? What were your “Aha!” moments when you saw yourself? What suggestions do you have for me to improve my combo-change spin?