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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

- ballet

Is ballet training a necessary ingredient to competitive figure skating? Perhaps. In an interesting post (from well over a couple of years ago!) Sheri says:

"For years skating coaches have been encouraging their skaters to take ballet classes to aid in the skater's on-ice performance. Ballet teachers spend hours teaching students correct ballet posture which is the same posture needed for skating. Ballet teaches the skater how to move the pelvis without losing balance or disconnecting the center in footwork sequences, including pirouette turns, jumps and leaps across the floor."

I think ballet augments your skating art in a few important areas. "Core" awareness (center of gravity control and fluidity), spine alignment, graceful movement, and "head attitude" are all valuable lessons that transfer well across the related disciplines. The actual physical application of these skills however when wearing skate boots is rather different than when wearing ballet slippers.

The trick therefore to successfully integrating your ballet lessons with your skating is to mentally grok the intent of the teaching but then to reapply and relearn those same lessons on the ice with your skates on. Ballet translates to the ice in theory, but not exactly in muscle memory. Too much ballet and you won't be able to skate, but if you fail to practice enough ballet you will look uncouth on the ice.

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