What do I Want to Learn in Skating?

by Mary on October 3, 2015

waterfall french braid hairstyle

me trying out a waterfall french braid

I’m contemplating my goals for the skating season. Last year in ice dance I started on the Foxtrot and Fourteenstep, which I’d like to get to test level this year. I was off the ice in July and August and have been back for a few weeks. It’s coming back, though I’m still at a high weight for me and a bit out of shape.

Now that I’ve been off I doubt I will have time to create a new program to compete with this year. I haven’t completely ruled it out, though. I know some folks frown on keeping the same program from year to year, but I think that might be my only alternative if I want to compete. Another possible goal would be to try to move up from the adult bronze freestyle level to adult silver, though my spins would need work for that.

Since adult silver allows the axel in programs, and I don’t know whether I will ever learn the axel, I may never be competitive at adult silver. I haven’t tried to get a layback or attitude spin and am not sure whether I want to– it seems like it might not be too good for my old head and brain to be spinning in that laid-back position. Training for the axel at my age would also involve, let’s say, some significant orthopedic risk. Not that skating in general doesn’t, but that would amp it up.

If I ever do test adult silver I would like to do it with the skills of the pre-juvenile free skating test which are similar but a little more advanced: i.e. must have a jump combination with flip, loop, or lutz followed by a loop as the second jump. I can already do loop-loop but would like to learn flip-loop and ultimately lutz-loop. My lutz will have to come along quite a bit before that will be possible. I would also like to learn split jump, stag jump, and falling leaf.

Pre-juv free requires “forward camel spin to forward sit spin. Optional change of foot.” I want to be able to do that. Right now I do not have camel/sit. I can change feet on a sit spin but cannot get more than a few revolutions on the second foot.

In moves, I passed the adult gold moves in the field in 2014, so I would be allowed to test the standard track intermediate moves next. But coach Kim, who specializes in moves, told me that she thinks the juvenile moves would be far more useful for my skating than the intermediate moves. And coach Ty said he thought I should go back and fill in whatever moves had not been included on my adult moves tests.

Learning the juvenile moves would be like learning the silver moves over but to a higher standard. When I took my silver moves back in 2010 I got passing marks from two out of three judges. My power pulls were especially bad and practicing them hurt my knees, so I skated them as little as possible. At that time I did not have coach Kim (or Ty) and both of them could teach me a lot more about that level of moves.

The eight-step mohawk sequence has been changed since I took the silver moves in the field test. I have been learning the new pattern since spring. Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

I’m motivated to learn it because the mohawk on the Fourteenstep is similar, and difficult for me. That Fourteenstep end pattern– someday I’m going to kill it or it’s going to kill me. Coach Ty said he didn’t think I’d be comfortable with the mohawk on it ‘for about another year.’ I’ve taken several full-out flying wipeouts on that outside mohawk, once while partnering with him. Sometimes I set the new foot down crosswise to my skating direction, and we all know that blades don’t glide sideways. So I’m working on getting the feet closer together before I set the new skate down and maintaining a sense of connection between the steps.

And here I used to think I was pretty good at outside mohawks. Ha! What makes it hard on the Fourteenstep is not just the mohawk itself, it’s the speed of the pattern, and that the mohawk happens after a bunch of other quick steps where things have already had a chance to deteriorate.

Here’s a video of the Fourteenstep. Young Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are the first couple shown, they make it look so easy, don’t they?

For my skating readers, what are your goals for this season? For my other athletic readers, what are you trying to learn?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jo October 4, 2015 at 3:16 am

Glad you are back on the ice. Sounds like you are doing a lot in dance, freestyle, AND moves. That is great, since progress in one also helps with the other. Thanks for posting the fourteen step video–love to see the young Scott and Tessa (as well as the always elegant Usova and Zhulin). My skating goals are to improve overall in terms of alignment and power, especially on the left side. Will see how it goes!
Jo recently posted..Mohawks in the foreign fashionMy Profile


mary October 4, 2015 at 4:02 am

It sounds like you are getting really deep into learning about alignment, Jo. I hope you find all kinds of interesting connections that help you out, and that all the work you are doing to improve your skating will translate into better, stronger movement off-ice, too.


Eva October 4, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Never say never, Mary. If you set your mind to something and practice, you can accomplish anything! One of Audrey Weisiger’s formulas for successful jumps includes a skater’s desire. If you have the desire, your body will do its thing and enable itself to land the jump/spin that you want.

My goal for this season is to land a double salchow, add 1-2 leveled spins (IJS) and increase my PCS scores. I would, of course, love to be competitive enough to earn a top 4 placement to skate in the Adult Gold Ladies Championship event at Nationals!
Eva recently posted..Strawberry Greek yogurt muffinsMy Profile


mary October 5, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Desire and I think, some kind of deep understanding that it’s possible. An understanding that stops your brain from inhibiting the jump. I like your goals, Eva, I’m looking forward to seeing a video of your double salchow! Since you already have your axel that sounds very achievable. Better component scores are a good goal, too, I share that goal, I would like to try to create something beautiful.


Melissa October 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Great goals, Mary! I wouldn’t worry about keeping a program longer than a year. I keep my programs about 2 years but have them on a rotation schedule so I don’t have to learn all 3 new ones at once. My goals: learn new Bronze FS (that extra 10 seconds is killer, and my coach has decided to really challenge me), continue polishing new Light, and start gathering ideas for a new Dramatic for next summer. Get sit spin lower; get a camel spin that has more than 1.5 revs and that actually looks like a camel. And as always – get some speed, which should help my jumps and everything else. Most of all – have fun!


mary October 5, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Thanks, Melissa, I will think about that, about keeping the program. I would like to go to Ann Arbor for Nationals for lots of reasons and that would be one way. I like how you compete in all three categories, and doing that, you really do have to keep some programs going, otherwise it would be impossible. Keep me posted about your new Bronze freestyle program, I’m looking forward to seeing it. Getting the sit spin lower and improving the camel spin are perennial goals for me, too! With the injuries we have often accumulated by this point in life things like getting lower on the sit spin can be really hard. I could not train the sit spin at all for a long time (a couple of years?) while working on my knees. Skating is fun, keeping the joy of it in the front of our minds is a really great goal too.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: