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, December 16, 2015

- more variety

It seems curious to me that coaches allow their skaters to build their program around their best moves. You end up with someone who does eight jumps or five spin moves in their program, or somebody who melodramatically sweeps the ice four times. I'm not saying that all programs should be the following:

Double toe loop, spiral, sit, combo 2+2, footwork, flying camel, donut, Biellmann, ice sweep, triple-double, quad (okay dreaming here, maybe just some dramatic expressiveness), layback, scratch spin.

... but it does make for a more rounded presentation. My general argument is that once you have already proven to me that you can nail a combo triple-double, I don't really need to see it again. I already know you can do that combo. More generally if your body build gives you an advantage for fast angular momentum on your jumps, I'll know this after your first couple of combos now won't I? If you've got the type of body built for svelte graceful stroking, after your first pass of the rink I will have already deduced that.

I actually want to see you challenge your self with your program. It's not just a matter of having a well-rounded presentation: I get a sense of comfort knowing that you push yourself to practice the things you're /not/ good at. It's what an athlete is supposed to do.

And you're only allowed to sweep the ice once.


  1. You realize competitive programs have requirements right? I certainly don't want to be doing 3 double-doubles in my novice long, but I have to to even hint at being competitive. So people who are good at those look great putting them in and people who aren't look like a disaster but what with IJS there isn't really too much variety even allowed

  2. Hi Anon,

    Thanks for reading the blog and thank you for your reply. Do I sense a bit of remorse in there (smile)? Once I read your comment it prompted me to research deeper into the requirements, and I found quite a bit of stuff that is none too confusing, frankly. There's this more or less official summary from USFSA, which seems concise enough, but the footnote says "yeah the actual rules take precedent." There's this link which is rather similar and not any less confusing. There's this one which certainly has a fair amount of information.

    I don't think after all that the ISU wants to specifically dictate a program, just the elements they want included. I do notice however that most of the folks from any specific club seem to skate a similar "mix" as if everyone in the club has the same idea of the requirements. Overall though there is just tons of variety -- working backward from watching all the videos at Sectionals for, say Juniors, I doubt the smartest computer program could deduce the original "requirements."

    My other not-so-hidden beef of course is that skaters should skate for their art rather than for IJS scoring. Lots of other bloggers have complained about how skating to maximize your IJS turns everyone into jumping beans, so I only need to slightly belabor the point further here. You really think you're going to make a living when you grow up because you medaled at Nationals? Go ahead and skate to IJS then. Otherwise, do your soul a favor and skate your art. Just one guy's opinion (grin).