Monday, June 23, 2014

Motivation Monday

I asked Coach for a program, and played the (uncut) music I wanted. He liked the music a lot, got some ideas and we roughed out a program. It's not whole but there's enough for me to work on this week and still do MIF practice.

Only problem? There's two things I can't quite do: A spin entry and ... drumroll please... an Ina Bauer. Coach has said he can cut it if I can't get it, but those are fighting words so now I'm onto this whole Ina Bauer thing. I can do it if someone's holding my hand, but it's swinging into the spread eagle and then lowering into the Bauer that's hard for me. I'm determined. The Ina Bauer is pretty much right off the bat and it's not long. Once I'm down I need to get back up again. But if I fall out of an Bauer I'm already pretty low, so that's a good thing. (I guess.)

So. I wanted a challenge and I got one. Goal for July.

Oh. And a Catch Foot Spiral. Piece of Cake.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Things that Bug Me

One of my biggest pet peeves in skating is the descriptor "Adult" that prefaces just about everything I do. Adult Practice Ice. Adult Freestyle. Adult Ice Dance, which is really Beginner Ice Dance but they just aimed it at Adults. I understand that Adults learn differently than the kids and that's okay, but sometimes it feels like I'm some kind of special needs person, which is annoying, because I'm not.

Perhaps it wouldn't bother me so much if the term "Adult" didn't mean some scaled down version of the real thing that no one takes very seriously. But nine times out of ten, that's precisely what it means. The Practice Ice isn't a permanent thing, even though it's well attended. The One Freestyle Class offered is at an ass time of the night, and always taught by the same two people. (Who are great and I love them, but it would be nice to see some fresh faces.) There's one Adult Clinic at the end of Summer, which is fun, but again, taught by the same people year after year. It's pretty clear that the bulk of the coaching staff wants very little to do with Adults, and are not very respectful of them anyway, since "Adult" Ice has a tendency to get invaded by some kid who "needs it" for some stupid reason; Test or Comp or whatever. Never mind that there's gobs of ice the kids can get to and onto that I can't.

The Adults get the same number every year in the Winter Ice Show. We all have the same tired costumes, the same music, and the choreography gets shaken up a bit but you're bound to see some pinwheels and circles just so we include all the Adults across the vast spectrum of skillsets they have. It's kinda boring but at the same time nice to know precisely what you're walking into.

It was tossed around for awhile that the Adult Party Guest scene be changed to the Ice Dance Party Scene, and the adults be given something else to do. What that "Something else" would have been was never identified, likely because very few pros have any clue what to do with adults anyway. I have some idea.

Artist's Rendition

The Adults did do their traditional party scene, but the Ice Dance people did their number first. It was weird, and we were making jokes about "who are these random people" crashing the party and leaving abruptly. My inner theatre critic and dramaturg was having fits. But what really annoyed me was that *our* number was immediately considered as the expendable one.

What I'm waiting for now is to see if Beginner (neatly coined "Adult," because only Adults can be beginners in Ice Dance I guess) Ice Dance will be given a number or if our class will be neatly forgotten about come Showtime. I'm not putting money on it. I'll get my stage blacks and squeegee out, just in case I get a big solo. *Snark*

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Smart phones, Silly Coaches

Years ago I had a smartphone. A series of them, actually. I had Blackberries a few years before the iPhone came out, and I loved them. Perhaps a bit too much. I had about six email accounts for different purposes, three different IM handles each on a different platform, active on four different messaging boards, chatted with people around the world and was always doing something online on my crackberry. And I wasn't even on Facebook or Twitter at this point.

Eventually I realized my folly. Smartphones really aren't so smart, they're just a very addictive and expensive form of entertainment. I ditched my smartphone for a $7 flip phone and a $25 a month plan with unlimited text and talk, plus a little data on the side. Yes, I can check email on my phone, but that's about it.

What's great about "smartphones" is that you can be doing something incredibly pointless and still look amazingly important doing it. On my morning commuter train, when I sit on the upper level, I can look down and see just about all the phone screens: Most people are checking FB, watching TV, or playing the latest game fad. Very few folks are answering emails. But everybody's got their phone in their hands and it creeps me out some days.

Head to the rink and you see Coaches on smartphones. Texting, chatting, always about something presumably important, and sometimes they do it during lessons.

I had a spat with a group class coach about texting during classes, and I've had to make it clear that a phone out during my lesson was a big no-no. Why did I have to do this? Who knows. I find it intolerably rude when people answer phones during normal conversation with me, to say nothing of texting or talking to others during time that I've paid up the nose for.

But I've seen it with Kids, too. A coach was in a lesson, and coach took a call. I wanted to go to the kid being coached and say, "Set your coach straight!! Right now!!" (And no, Mom was not in the Rink. Big surprise!) Kids' Group Class coaches regularly "check out" for awhile to text. Even more annoying? These same people with their phones glued to their hands and heads are usually the same people who are slow to respond to communications or are outright unresponsive.

Fortunately I'm working with coaches now who don't have the problem. Both of them are consistent and polite responders. I've actually only seen Coach's smartphone once, and that was when he put my name in it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motivation Monday

You know when you've been trying to do something for so long, and it's kinda working but not really, and you know it's not quite right and you don't know what to do so you just keep plugging away at it.

And one day you look down and you see it, and you can't quite believe it for a second, but there it is, traced on the ice clear as day. Your Mohawk Tracing looks precisely like the ones in the books. And it feels right and Coach says it looks good, and when you do it you don't slow yourself down or lose speed, and it feels kinda like this...

Yeah. My skating sessions are all like this these days. It's kinda awesome.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Baby Salchow??

I told Coach I'd have that Salchow under control by the time he got back. Now, my fall and hurt back took four days off that plan, so I wasn't sure if I had it. But today at public I showed what I did have to a friend, and she smiled and said, "That's good! That's it!"

"It is? You sure?"

She assured me that was it. I know it's not very high of a jump, but neither was my Waltz at first. I need more speed and I need more confidence, but these things come with time. Also, I can finally turn to forward on the Loop Turn exercise Coach gave me.

He promised me jumps tomorrow. I'm ready for him!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

How things have changed.

I've had a lot of comments lately on my dramatic skating improvement in the past three months. I haven't said much about it, but I can feel it, too. It feels wonderful. Since I'm no "Sports" person and I have no experience with how Coaching is actually supposed to work, so I did some reading on Sports Psychology and the Role of Coach. I've learned a lot.

What's amusing to me is that everyone says I look better, but I actually have more close calls and falls now than three months ago. Looking back through the journals I keep, I can see why.

What's also interesting is that I have no massive big new thing that I can do, aside from alternating 3 Turn-Taptoe-3 Turn, which is hella fun and nothing I would have tried in February. At one point I would have termed this a plateau, but it doesn't feel that way at all this time. True, there's no jump in skills, but there has been a huge jump in confidence and focus. The result is that the skillset I have has improved dramatically, and Coach has promised more and more as I get "comfortable."

"Bring it," was my response.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Freeskate Friday: Bad Backs!

Sorry for the lack of posting these days, I had a rather bad back injury that sidelined me for four days and has had me at a slower pace for the past week. Seriously, I haven't had pain that bad since I was I labor. I feel *almost* normal now, but my back still gets sore very easily, and gets twitchy during power stroking and spirals.

Yes, I fell on the ice. But I've been off all the hard meds for a few days now, I'm sleeping normally again, and I have a much anticipated therapeutic massage tomorrow. Don't worry, I'll be sure and take you all through the wonders of acupuncture and lumbar strains!

But here is another gentleman with a chronically bad back. I've never been a big fan, but I do have to admire his dedication!