Monday, 27 August 2012

Freestyle heaven

I think almost all the kids have gone back to school. Freestyle this morning was so empty it was just a heaven for skating. There were five or six people on the ice. Or maybe that's just how it is on Mondays, this was the first time I've gone on a Monday. We'll see tomorrow.

The only downside for having so few people is that the same three people keep running their program music. One lady in particular I see whenever I go to freestyle during the weekdays, and she plays her music very often, so I'm pretty sick of her music already.

Because the rink was so empty, I got to try my pre-bronze consecutive edges on the middle hockey lines for the very first time! It was bliss! The ice was so smooth and flat in the middle, as opposed to all the hills and ridges and bumps where I normally have to practice over at the end. I had to wait around a lot to make sure no program skater was going to come hurtling at me, but it was totally worth it. Back outside edges are finally coming along, and back inside edges are finally happening! I also got to practice crossovers a lot due to the emptiness. These are so much better than before. I hope all these will still be good when I have my private lesson tomorrow!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Backspin v.2

Backspins have progressed from only 0.5 revolutions (how can I even count that as spinning?) to 2 revolutions!!

Assist. coach A had first shown me the backspin from a back pivot, and saying that the left foot has to be crossed for a backspin. I could not do that at all. I love coach A and she's helped me heaps during group lessons, but the backspin education was not helping. Good thing coach C came and helped me this time in group lesson, realized I had major trouble doing any form of backspin, and told me to just start from a two-foot spin, shift weight to the right side, and pick up my left foot. Voila! There was my backspin v.2! Something that actually can be called a backspin, and my highest record after many, many tries was two revolutions. Good enough for now.

Working on sit spins too, but I always seem to have my body centered too much on the right, and not over the blade. So I end up very deep on the inside edge and keep drawing large-pizza-sized (probably even larger) circles on the ice instead of biscuit sized circles aka real spinning. Also, a few of the "better" ones (= lower) always seem to end up with me sitting on the ice lol. Trying to do camel spins as well, but right now they just look like I'm trying to do really bad spirals in a circle. I have a looooong way to go with these still.

I've completely lost the Lutz. So much for all that jubilation two weeks ago : ( I can do something that resembles a Lutz, I'm sure anyone watching will be able to tell that I'm trying to do a Lutz, but I just can't get the timing or the rotation in the air right any more. What's worse is that I'm just scared to do it! I'm so annoyed with myself. What's there to be scared of really?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Bad day

Bad day at skating today. Half hour private lesson and half hour practice on freestyle, nothing felt right. I really should try getting up and getting to the rink earlier so I can warm up before my lesson. It didn't help that my legs were sore from playing too much volleyball on Sunday.

Started with perimeter stroking, need to really cross my feet on the end crossovers. Three crossovers minimum!
Crossovers - Remember the transitions!! I did the wrong one on the first attempt, felt like such a fool and felt guilty that I hadn't practiced enough to at least remember this. All four circles need at least four crossovers. More power.
Spirals - Right leg needs to be higher when skating on left leg.
Back inside edges - Dismal. I wish coach J had asked to see back outside edges instead. There is at least some improvement in those. Hold outside arm steady, swing inside arm away from the line then back towards the line. In dire need of practice but I really dislike this move.
Waltz jump - Swing leg all the way through. Gets more distance in jump but it's a little scary.
Salchow jump - Really check the 3-turn before jumping, don't just swing around.
Loop jump - Curve more right before take off. Don't try to spin the jump by rotating the upper body, this causes me to lean over to the right and therefore skidding on take off.
Flip jump - More speed. Push into the LFO3 with right toe pick. I tried this so many times and was really uncoordinated. Good thing I discovered before the end that I need to have left arm forwards first, then switch to right arm forward as I actually start the LFO3.

Coach J wanted to see my Lutz since I was so ecstatic last week that I'd told her already. I seriously doubted I could do it especially since everything else wasn't going so well. Thank goodness we ran out of time. I hope coach J doesn't think that I haven't been practicing at all : (

After the lesson, I worked on those consecutive edges. They really reminded me of back when I was learning piano, I always hated practicing my scales and arpeggios and Czerny. The edges feel exactly like that. Boring, repetitive but still oh so hard! But unfortunately they are a necessary evil.

I also tried the Lutz again but was just so scared of it that I couldn't even jump off, let alone try to land it. Practicing crossovers didn't go so well either. I had initially intended to skate for two hours (which I usually do not have time to do), but I was so disgruntled in the end that I left after an hour. Will be going again tomorrow (unless I refuse to get up in the morning...). Hopefully, everything will be better!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Lutz success!

Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh!


Happened in group lesson yesterday when assistant coach A made me try it again and again and again, trying to prevent me from going extremely slowly merely spinning on the toe pick. I was so shocked the first time I landed it that I forgot to fully extend my arms for the check position. Didn't really matter as I come to a full stop anyway since I don't enter fast enough, so a strong check wasn't necessary to land stably. Just goes to show how surprised I was lol.

Managed a total of four Lutzes before we moved onto other things in class. I have assis. coach A and a fellow adult skater classmate as my witnesses, so it wasn't a dream!

Next skating will be on Tuesday, quite a few days away. Hope I can still do it then!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Back to school

Yipee! It's back to school time!

Not for me of course. As a grad student, I don't really have much of a summer in the first place, so there's no difference whether or not it's back to school time for me. What's making me happy is that the kids have gone back to school!

I arrived at my 8:30 am freestyle/private lesson yesterday to find the rink oh so empty. Coach J said it's because a lot of the kids started school yesterday. Some of them are still on summer vacation, but within a few weeks, they'd all be gone. Then the only people left on the ice will be the adults, and including me, that's basically only three people!! So happy : )

So we've finally moved on to trying the consecutive back inside edges (not that the back outside edges are anywhere near good enough yet). They're so difficult! I want to say that the back edges are the hardest part of the pre-bronze MITF, but I haven't even started the waltz-8 yet, so that might be worse. I can't wait till the rink gets really empty and I can practice the consecutive edges on the middle hockey lines. I've been working at the end lines, but it's hilly region over there, and I have to push uphill at one side of the line, and slide down hill on the other side. Coach J says I'll find it easy when I get somewhere flat. Hopefully.

I'm already falling behind on the "schedule" that coach J had proposed when I said I want to do tests and eventually competitions. The goal then was to have the pre-bronze stuff good before September, and then take the test whenever we get a test session next. Doesn't look like that's going to be happening! The edges are harder than I expected. That's what you get for not having your basics good in the first place. Good news is the next session that I can make is probably going to be end of November, so that should be plenty of time (fingers crossed).

Videoed myself practicing jumps (along with slow motion)

Waltz jumps - working on getting them higher and prettier. The timing for swinging both arms back still seem a tad too slow (because of the volleyball jump confusion).
Salchow - working on starting from backwards crossovers, into a LFO 3-turn entry, into the jump. Where is my left arm during the 3-turn?!
Loop - higher! Checkout needs to be faster and stronger.
All - keep left arm more in front in checkout position. Body swings open right now.

Toe loop jumps used to be my best and is still the only one that I can do at speed. However, when watched in slow motion, it looks bad, like a toe-waltz. Coach J say it's totally fine for a single jump. I dunno, it doesn't look very good to me, to the extent that I don't want to put it up. Wonder what will become of that jump.

Spins - trying to do a scratch spin but not really. Managed to get a few revolutions (+centered!) before falling out.

And here's my sad attempt at a sit spin.

So much to practice!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Scratch spins and back spins

This was the week of progress for spinning!

I managed my first complete scratch spin down to the exit on Thursday. No falling out of it like usual. I think I got four revolutions out of it too! Happened two more times on Friday as well! I also rotated a lot faster than I've ever spun before. Even though the success rate is still pretty low, I think I can now feel where the sweet spot is. I can't stay there yet, but I can notice it as I wobble back and forth searching.

I think crossing my legs is part of the problem with my scratch spins, I'm too scared! I want my leg to be out there to put down when I'm going to fall. I'd just go splat on the floor if the free leg is crossed and I topple. Not having the arms out to balance/break the fall doesn't help either.

This crossing the leg business came up again as I was taught the back spin for the first time. I was hoping for a right-legged version of the one-foot upright spin, but according to assistant coach, you have to start with crossing your legs on the backspin. It's haaaaard! So scary. This is probably going to take a long long time to learn.

But I'm finally making some sort of visible progress on spins so I'm really happy : )