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.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

- fast and slow

In many sports speed and quickness are assets. In fact they are the entire defining elements of the competitive aspect of some sport. I'm sure you can think of several: running, auto racing, and swimming, just to name a few. In other sports speed plays an underlying dynamic role (in all of the major team sports the fastest players enjoy a competitive advantage).

As figure skating is a hybrid between sport and art, speed figures into the mix within the "sporting" components. Speed on the ice is helpful for establishing momentum for your jumps and angular momentum for your spins. And clean footwork requires quickness. On the other hand both grace and class (elements of the artistic dimension of skating) require demonstratively slower controlled movements.

Skaters who fail to appropriately match the fast and the slow look ridiculous however. It's very difficult to watch an accomplished "fast" skater ruin what might otherwise be a terrific program by the herky jerkiness of her small movements and transitions. It's equally saddening when a beautifully graceful skater can't otherwise keep enough velocity to maintain her spiral the length of the rink.

Be fast of feet and reactivity, but slow with expressive movements. The athletic part of skating is fast, the artistic part is slow. I think ballet (for slow graceful strength) and stroking lessons (for speed) are both helpful here, but it's also about holding the proper "split" mindset. The ideation here is graceful speed.

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