This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

- stomach

No matter how you analyze it, spins are all about your stomach muscles. Speaking strictly from mechanical physics, three things kill a spin: misalignment of the weight distribution along the vertical axis, a shifting of that distribution off-axis, and precession.

As you practice your spins you tend to naturally compensate for misbalance by thigh and arm adjustments, but the foundation for all of these torque dynamics actually are based upon the position of your hips, your rear end, and the angle you maintain between them and your spine.

And this is all governed by taught, controlled stomach muscles. Are your spins unstable? Sit ups, my dear.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

- lucky

Something is messed up with the way we plan our practice and our competing. In a word, we somehow expect to be lucky. No one in their right mind plans a major endeavor under the assumption that everything will click just so, and yet as I watch the gals practice their programs that is exactly their approach.

Should you really be pushing yourself to the limits of your skills in your standard competition program? I don't think so; if you can only land a jump half the time in practice then how do you expect to land it when you are under stress and under the eyes of the audience and the judges?

I think you should skate the jumps you already are quite comfortable with; in other words your regular program should be easy, and slightly less than you can actually perfectly accomplish on a lucky day.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

- components

One of the tougher things to decide when you are a performer is what to include in your program. I suppose a large part of this decision derives from how you view your skating... is it a demonstration for the judges, or is it a performance for the audience? Is it impossible to combine the two?

I suppose what I am alluding too is that, sure, certain moves get popular because all the other gals are doing them, but I still don't feel that a pancake sit allows for any particularly elegant way to transition out from beneath it.

Choose the moves in your program because they are elegant, they transition well, and fit your music. Don't select a move just because you feel that you have to prove that you can do it. And often some of the simpler moves are still elegant and appropriate to the music anyhow, so include them! Your program will be much more alluring if you place your expressive principles above your desires to "impress."