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, July 21, 2013

- style

How do you learn new elements and still develop a style of your own? Surely it's easiest to learn by watching another skater as she performs a move, ask your coach to teach you the technical execution, and then strive to copy them. When most of the skaters follow this course it leads to a "fashion," whether that be a Bielman or a butt-up spin. (Sidenote: I never saw butt-up until a couple years ago and now half the gals try it. You know what? It look farcical: it turns you into a paper clip. Please don't do this move).

Mimicking an elite move is different though from replicating a style. Physics fairly limits the full set of possible elements, so mirroring an elite move isn't necessarily unoriginal. When you try to imitate somebody else's style however you come off as "phony" -- you need to express your own personal style.

To some extent, style is what you tack on top of a foundational move. Additionally though you reflect your style in the type of music you choose, the programs you like to skate, the fluidity of your movements, the projection of your attitude, and your treatment of fellow skaters.

I've seen skaters express a full range of personalities using their arms, their footwork, hand embellishments, their carriage, facial expressions, costume, and attitude -- they can be unselfish, silly, eager, rustic, coy, daring, decorous, droll, demure, mirthful, virtuous, stimulating, wise, elegant, and winsome (to name just a few traits).

Your skating style is more a reflection of your personality combined with methods that you've developed for how to express it.

You should strive to make each move your own. Watch for variety and allow novelty to impress you when you happen across something new to your eyes. The goal however is not to mirror the elites' style: it's to be graceful, inventive, and to express your own spirit.


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