Friday, April 29, 2016

It Takes Two To Tango

... As in a Tango position pair Camel spin.  Something new we are trying to learn this week.  Just like the pair camel except the lady is on the opposite skating leg as the man.  Rotating on a forward inside edge while he is on a back inside edge.

... And finally - The Axel lift is getting up higher and more often.  The light went on the other day during our lesson.  Our coach figured out that I am trying too hard and putting way too much pressure on his left arm (my right).

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Moves

I had this idea a few years ago to warm up my week - every week - with Moves In The Field.
Along the way I let it go.  I think I will resume spending most of my Monday practices working on them or at least going through them.  They take anywhere from 10-13 minutes for me to complete them all - so there's no excuse right?

I had a DDS appointment today with novocain and felt a little punk when I got to the rink, so I brought in my scribe and did some old fashioned school figures to warm up and then ran through my Gold Moves without stopping or any retakes.  It went pretty well.  No falls.  No balking at the brackets or running out of steam on the backwards eights.  Are they passable?  No way - no how.

Also trying to figure out a schedule I can adhere to in the coming months to train and prepare for competition at the end of August.  It may go something like this:

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
On Ice Moves in the Field
Ice Dance (Oh did I forget to mention I want to take a dance test this year?)

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Off Ice Pairs Lift Practice
Pairs training and lesson

Wednesday-Wild Card
Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Free skate practice
Evening golf league 9 holes walking

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Free Skate Lesson

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Fun day - Choreography if needed

The weekends are for playing and boating and body repair!

So looking at that schedule and counting the days between now and a mid summer moves test and/or dance test and/or pairs test and trying to put a new free skate together and improve my skills at pairs - it doesn't quite seem possible.  Especially with summer vacations here and there.

D E T E R M I N A T I O N ....... D A Y   O N E

Here's 12 minutes of  Zzzzzzzzzzz  of my Gold Moves In The Field

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Road to IJS

OK so at the adult silver level  we are judged by United States figure skating under the old 6.0 majority rules .  The Panel of seven judges watch you skate. They make a few notes by hand and they decide whether you should be first, second, third or 10th etc.  you can see in my previous post a results page for my silver free skate at nationals. To the right of my name are the ordinals that I was given by each of the seven judges.  Most of the time they are very close in agreement but sometimes they are all over the place.  This happens a lot especially in what used to be known as the interpretive events that are now called showcase.  It's very subjective.

When you achieve the test level of gold in adult skating or if you were a more accomplished child skater and returned to the sport as an adult, you may be a Masters skater at the intermediate/novice or Junior/Senior levels.   All of these events are judged under the rules governed by the international skating union or ISU, and the judging system is called IJS or international judging system.  I'm not a skating historian, but I believe this all stemmed from a "thrown" score at the 2002 Olympics in the pairs event.

 I have a loose understanding of how the scoring works.  When you put a program together, each  jump, spin, step sequence, spiral sequence or as we call them "elements" have a  base point value.
 Obviously the harder the jump the more points you get, the more revolutions in a spin or the more complex combination jumps and combination spins will render you a higher base value.  Coaches in choreographers will try to create a program that will maximize your base value score before you ever hit the ice according to your abilities… And usually a little beyond - they like to push us  into reaching our potential.

Now when it comes time to skate  not only do you have a panel of seven judges but they already have a list of your program components before them in a computer. They may have never seen you skate but they know what you're attempting to do in your program and in what order.  So rather than write down everything that you do, they make notes on each element on how well or in some cases-  poorly you execute each of those components.  This is called the grade of execution or GOE.  This ranges from +3 to -3. And because we are only human, your eyes may be down making notes when something is going on so there is a technical panel viewing on a monitor as you skate to see  whether or not a jump was fully rotated or if the jump took off from the correct edge,  how many revolutions were achieved in the position of a spin etc.

 Elite skaters are all judged and do this scoring system, so if you're watching skating on television this is why everyone shuffles over to what's known as the kiss and cry bench to wait for these calculations to finish being made in within a few minutes the  technical score in the component score are calculated and posted and everyone knows where they stand after they skated because they will announce what place they are currently in.  It also gives skaters a chance to skate against themselves… In other words trying to achieve a personal goal of attaining a higher point accumulation during their program.

 One of the beauties of adult skating is that the judges in the 6.0 system seem to be a little more lenient on things like taking off from the proper edge or attaining a real sit spin position where your butt  has to be at or below your knee level.  Under that complicated IJS system it is what it is  and it's all under review.

 I'm up for the challenge, but I have aptly named this new system IJS = I'm just scared!!!

 So if you haven't fallen asleep reading the previous paragraphs or if you skipped over it because you already know everything there is to know about it below is my first lesson after coming back from adult nationals and I am working with my coach, trying to improve my spins for this judging system that I will be skating under at the end of August in Vancouver British Columbia for the 2016 International Adult Skating Championships.  Usually this is one event per year held in overstored Germany, but this year they decided to hold to international competitions.     Obersdorf  will happen in June.  Each competition is independent of each other.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Addendum to original post 4/14/16

Here are the "official" videos from the events

Original Post
My 2nd experience at "Adult Nationals" is complete.  Videos will be added when they come in.  Until then ... here's the good, the bad and the ugly:

Ladies Free Skate IV
Bronze Medal - Clean Skate !!!!  Wished it were stronger, faster, more polished, but super happy with a medal.  I skated 1st of 14 skaters in 4 groups.

Silver IV Dramatic Showcase
6th place of 13 skaters.

The error of my ways was not having this program well rehearsed or even "complete" before 
using it in competition.  I was literally on practice ice that afternoon trying to finish it up.  Tsk tsk.
I spent a lot to have this program choreographed and really wanted it to be better received.

Silver Pairs
Bronze Medal

Three pairs teams - so yes a medal, but 3rd out of 3 isn't something to be proud of.
What I am proud of is all the hard work we put into skating together.  We only started skating pairs together since mid summer of 2015.  This was my first pairs experience.  Hank had not skated pairs competitively in 10 years.  We hope to keep going and do better next time.  Pairs is a blast.

Lastly, and with the most disappointment was my Light Entertainment Showcase program where I portrayed Rosie The Riveter, skating to the song of the same name, by the Vagabonds.  I was very fatigued on this final day and got a little behind the music during the performance.  When I turned to lay into a spread eagle (in front of the judges) .. I fell, sloppily and felt like to ruined the program.
Afterwards I found myself understanding better the whole "kiss and cry" thing... as I took off my skates and costume and let the river of tears flow in the dressing room.  Only to find out 1/2 hour later that I still placed 4th - and received a Pewter medal ... so I had to get back into costume and put my skates back on.  Lesson learned... NEVER rush an element!

So that's the good the bad and the ugly......

Videos are starting to appear on IceNetwork now and I ordered all the programs mentioned and will upload them when they come in.

Best part of this competition is always the love, support and friendships made and rekindled.  Here's a few parting shots of the competitors party:

Thanks everyone who reads this blog for your continued support.

Re-Working the Free Dance

After last weeks lesson - my coach made some changes to the character step sequence and now she is changing the opening poses and the ending...