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Five Figure Skating Resolutions for the New Year

Marta Nilsen of Ice Skating World

by Marta Nilsen, PSA Master-rated coach

As ice skaters we are always looking to improve, especially over the previous season. The New Year is as good as time as any to evaluate our situation and finds ways to become a better figure skater. Below are five recommended steps for improving your figure skating and making better progress over the course of the next season.

1) Add another day of skating to your week.

Adding another day of skating per week can speed up your progress dramatically. If you can’t add another day, the next best thing would be to add two more hours per week of skating time. Instead of skating one hour per day for two days per week, instead skate two hours per day, two days per week.

2) Take a ballet class at least one day per week.

Ballet increases flexibility, strengthens body alignment and placement, and teaches proper jumping technique. This is a great way to get that super spiral or increase your jump height.

3) Participate in off-ice classes at least one time per week.

Magic Jump Rope from Ice Skating WorldOff-ice class is not just another workout. You will be practicing simulating skills that are done on the ice. Practicing off ice allows you to feel, see and understand the basic positions that your body must attain during skating moves. You will also learn exercises and stretches that can do at home. Check out tools such as the Spinner for off-ice training.

4) Go to at least three competitions away from your home rink this season.

Competitions push you to increase your skill level faster than any other method of training. Striving to do your best in a competition helps you to reach the goals that you have set for your skating.

5) Set figure skating goals.

You need a plan for where you are going and a process for how to get there. You decide where you would like to be, which you discuss with your skating coach, and then he or she makes a plan to help you reach it. All successful people set goals to help them reach their greatest potential, and successful ice skaters are no exception.

Best of luck in 2013!

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Filed under Health and Fitness, Ice Skating Blog, Learn to Skate

What Are Your Personal Goals for Figure Skating?

by Katherine Ruch

The start of a new year almost forces you to reflect back on the year you just had as well as prepare for the one that is ahead of you. My year essentially started with breaking in new skates, a daunting yet exciting task! A highlight from 2011 for me was a fall competition where I managed to not let my nerves destroy the experience. It was the first competition I have ever done where I didn’t feel like l fell apart while out on the ice!

Another highlight last year was passing that Silver Moves Test after the sixth try. I had begun to question whether I would ever be able to pass that darn thing! On the other hand, it was frustrating to hurt my hip in December. It got to a point where it hurt me to do usually simple things like stroking and crossovers.

While at the Doctor getting it looked at I did have a funny interaction with the Radiology Tech. He asked me if I hurt my hip doing a Triple Axel and I just about fell on the floor laughing. Even though I said “No, I said I was a skater, I never said I was a good one,” this interaction did get me thinking about how critical I am of myself. Even though I can safely say that I will never skate as well as the people we all get the joy of watching on the television, I shouldn’t let that stop me from being the best skater that I can be! It ended up that the hip injury took nothing but a lot of patience for it to get better but that seems to be the thing that I’m usually lacking!!

If the new year doesn’t get somebody pondering those goals, watching Nationals on the television sure will! As I sat glued to the television all weekend, I did manage to plot out the upcoming season in my head for both myself and my students. Before the end of the year 2012, I have set out to be able to do a Flying Camel, land an Axel, pass the Adult Gold Moves Test and last, but certainly not least, win the ongoing war between me and my nerves!

That being said, I’m planning on going to about three competitions this spring because there is no better way to conquer your fear of competing than to continue to do the very thing that terrifies you! I may even forget to get nervous at those competitions if I lose sleep over whether or not my Gold moves test will be executed with Jesus-like perfection come March! At the end of those days, I hope I can find a way to rest easy in knowing that I did the best I could do and that truly is the most anyone can ask or expect.

One of the things that I love most about coaching is trying to learn what motivates my students, because I have learned as a figure skating instructor that not everyone is looking to get the same thing out of ice skating. If I have learned anything over all these years of skating it is this: each ice skater is on their own path and that is the one to commit to or you risk facing constant disappointment. As a skater, you have to follow your own path, set your own expectations and find your own motivation. There is no one who can do that for you! I’m truly excited to see what this year will hold…

Editor’s Note: Learn more about facing your personal fears in James Smith’s “Fear Itself” blog post.


Filed under Coaches Corner, Ice Skating Coaching, Katherine Ruch

Following My Own Instructions: A Plan for this Skating Season.

By Katherine Ruch

Fall is in the air. I make this statement for a whole variety of reasons. The kids are back in school, the school supplies have been bought, Labor Day has come and gone and, most importantly, the ice rink has already been open this season for a few weeks!! While it was closed, it sure seems like I did my fair share of driving to other rinks, complaining about how I missed skating as well as plotting my return.

Looking back on it, is seems that summer flew by faster than ever this year. As the skating year gets off to a fresh start, I must begin to consider where I’m trying to go with skating this year. How in the world do I expect to get anywhere if I don’t put some thought into where it is that I’m trying to go? It would be somewhat like taking a trip without knowing where you were going or having directions.

What is your plan for this skating season?

I’m finding it slightly comical that I told my students they had to make a list of goals they would like to accomplish this year, while I am having trouble making myself do the same thing. I know the rules – you want to make goals that are short and long term and for all areas of your skating.

In terms of this year, I’m having trouble because what I have come up with so far has either been too vague or too pie in the sky. Goals that are too vague include: improving my jumps and spins. What does that really look like? In terms of pie in the sky: landing that elusive Axel seems to come to mind. It really doesn’t get more pie in the sky than wanting to land an Axel before the Mayan calendar runs out in 2012 if I haven’t even started seriously working on it!

So, down to brass tacks! Here are some legit goals for the year and the future:

  1. Find a few competitions to go to this year for myself, and pick a couple to take my students to. I think it may be best to coach at a couple and compete at a couple. I get nervous enough for myself and my students, that combining the two doesn’t seem like a great plan.
  2. Work on the Gold Moves so that I can hopefully at least test them at the end of this skating year. The keyword here is “test” not complete. Although, it would be delightful to pass them the first time!
  3. Finish the Bronze Dances this year- Hickory Hoedown down, the Willow and the Ten Fox still to go.
  4. Improve jump height on all singles and eventually land that darn Axel.
  5. Improve spin positions on sit spin and camel, learn layback and flying camel. Place the emphasis on eventually for that flying camel
  6. Move towards my goal of only teaching Moves in the Field. I’ve discovered this has to be my niche. I love the technical side of skating!!

Now the question goes to you! What would you like to accomplish during this skating year?

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Filed under Figure Skating Education, Ice Skating Coaching, IceSkatingWorld.com