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Gislaine
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PostSubject: Miscellany   13.06.06 19:24

Blue Bead
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(11/23/05 8:18 pm)
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Since this question doesn't fit any of the other already posted topics, I thought I'd start a new thread to handle these kinds of questions, LOL

At what point do coaches encourage competive skaters to start serious physical off-ice training? Does this begin before the elite level, and if so how soon before?

I know a lot of junior skaters do ballet, yoga or gymnastics but at what point does the coach decide something more is needed to physically prepare the skater's muscles for more intense work, and what types of exercise do the coaches suggest that skaters add to their regimens---pilates, weight training?

Mary C.

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I think it depends on the coach, the time and money available to the skaters and their parents, group classes and resources that are available, and how serious the skater is...

I've personally never been part of a big city competitive scene, so I don't know what the "big-time" coaches like Tatianna Tarasava have their skaters do. Where I'm from, we all just do the best we can with what we have... The area of off-ice training is not my expertise, so these are just my humble opinions...

I think that as soon as a skater is working on freestyle and is truly serious about skating, that anytime at that point would be a good time to work off-ice exercises in earnest. Anything you can do to build strength and endurance in preparation for your on-ice work is always a good thing, IMO.

I like to teach my students different stretches and basic beginner ballet, because I feel that ballet is really important for practicing and understanding the fundamental postitions needed for figure skating.

~Love2Smile!

Blue Bead
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(11/24/05 9:52 pm)
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Thanks, Loves2...What kinds of stretches would be appropriate for the beginning skater? I would think that ballet could teach a beginner a tremendous amount about balance, especially keeping your balance isolated over a particular place the the blade, not to mention carriage of the torso which also aids balance.

Mary C.

Katya0812
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More and more, coaches are recomending off ice strength training and ballet/gymnastic type classes to all serious students. There have been so many studies that show that the stronger certain muscles are, the less chance there is of injury. Stretching properly is so important! I remember a fluff piece that Jenny Kirk did where she talked about the change in her off ice training and how it helped so much when it came to her rehab and keeping her skating pain free.
~Katya

Love2Smile
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(12/14/05 2:02 pm)
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You are right Mary, about the ballet.

The kind of stretches that I have my students do involve the typical stretches for the calf muscles, quadriceps, arms, back, etc.
Sitting on a floor with both legs spread out, and practicing the split postition, are both good stretches for the legs.

Some figure skating specific positions/stretches include any kind of spiral postions and the attitude postition (the position of the freeleg for a layback).

When practicing ballet, it's all about getting the toe pointed, the freeleg stretched and with a straight knee (which is a difficulty for quite alot of new skaters), the torso lifted and the back and neck carried strong while going through the movements, learning the basic arm postitions... All of those things are important foundations for figure skating moves.

...So sorry for the delayed reply, Mary!!

~ 2

Blue Bead
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(12/17/05 10:57 pm)
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Not a problem, Loves2

I understand the importance of basic exercises---warming up the muscles and preparing them for what is expected of them on the ice. Then I assume those exercises mimic, as closely as possible, the specific movements the skater will make while traveling across the ice surface. In certain aspects it trains the muscles to act and respond in a particular fashion. And isn't that the basis of muscle memory?

Mary C.

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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   03.12.06 23:14

I realize it's been a rather long time since I asked any skating techinque questions, Embarassed LOL. I've been kinda busy. In any case I've got a new question.

How difficult is it to suddenly stop forward skating movement (from a considerable amount of speed--as in very active, energetic, straight line footwork), come to a complete stop and then resume with enough speed to set up for a triple jump? I saw Weir do something like this during the coverage of his FP at COR. It looked like a major effort but I'd like to know what it really entails from a skater's perspective.

Heidi or Rach, would either of you comment?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   06.12.06 17:02

Hi Mary! sunny

Yes, it is very difficult to resume speed after stopping- especially the kind of speed the top skaters need for their triples. But at that level, the skaters have a greater understanding of their edges and ability to gain alot of speed with very few pushes. Newer/lower level skaters need to take more pushes because each push doesn't get them as far as one push for an elite skater would.
So, I guess what I'm saying is that it isn't easy, but a skater like Johnny Weir can do it with less effort than a lesser skilled skater can.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   06.12.06 18:20

Thanks, Heidi.

Okay...you stated that the elite skaters understand certain things about their edges. What kinds of things do they understand? I guess what I want to know is, not only the mechanics of what the skaters do but also what they are evalulating from the actions of their edges as they are moving across the ice. They're getting some kind of feedback from the results of the blades' cutting into the ice, and I don't understand entirely what that is.

In some ways I understand a bit of what that feels like because of my recollections from skating of 40 plus years ago,lol. However I don't know what it feels like at the level of an elite skater. I was an advanced beginner, that is I could do a waltz jump---and not fall on my backside,LOL.

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   07.12.06 5:52

Quote :
What kinds of things do they understand?
They understand, mentally and physically, how to get the most out of their edges- how to move and align their bodies to create the best quality edge, and how to get the most flow and power they can get from the edges.
That comes with time, practice, and technique, like anything else in skating. When a skater has a good "understanding" of their edges, they can use them to their fullest without really needing to think about it much, once they've gotten their basic technique down. Using their edges to their fullest potential ideally becomes nearly effortless.

If you watch some skaters in comparison with others, some appear to need to work alot harder to get accross the ice than others. Part of that can be poor carriage- the appearance of an upper body that is not very stable or stretched has a great effect on the overall appearance and also on the actual edging abilty.
Physically, it is more difficult to carry yourself correctly and strongly all the time- arching your back, stretching your torso, twisting, etc... Strong overall upper body control and stretch takes more upper body muscle strength than just flopping around and hunching your back.
But if you are able to carry and stretch your upper body well, that strong upper body carriage aides your ability with your feet, because you are aligned more properly over your feet / edges.
Alot of times, skaters don't carry themselves well, and therefore appear less effortless and also have to put more effort into kind of "forcing" their edges instead of using their upper body to their advantage.
A few of the biggest problems most common with skaters' carriage are
1. shoulders- they should be down, not hunched up
2. lower back- should almost always be arching, depending on what you are doing. (when a skater arches their lower back while doing crossovers, it usually looks actually flat or straight- if they don't arch at all and just try to keep straight, it usually ends up hunched.)

One of the greatest things that Brian does is he carries and stretches his upper body so well. Thus he looks like a noble or a prince on the ice, with effortless crossovers and power accross the ice. I've always felt that he deserved more credit and praise for even just that aspect of his skating alone...

Boy, let me tell you, when my new coach taught me how to not just "stand up straight and keep my eyes up" when I'm on the ice, but to actually stretch my whole upper body (arms, neck, back), a better edge quality in my skating immediately followed. Even if she'd never taught me anything else, that alone helped my skating beyond description. I didn't have a clue how to stretch my upper body before that, thus never had the kind of edge quality and control that was possible if I'd had...

((sorry, I got off on a bit of a tangent on upper body carriage! ))
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   07.12.06 12:51

Blue Bead wrote:
Thanks, Heidi.

Okay...you stated that the elite skaters understand certain things about their edges. What kinds of things do they understand? I guess what I want to know is, not only the mechanics of what the skaters do but also what they are evalulating from the actions of their edges as they are moving across the ice. They're getting some kind of feedback from the results of the blades' cutting into the ice, and I don't understand entirely what that is.
.

Another thing is that they (we?) understand, implicitly, where to centre the weight on the blade at any one given time, at any part of any edge. This allows us to position our bodies so as to get the maximum efficiency from each push that we make.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   07.12.06 12:53

PS. Heidi I am very impressed by your technical acumen. Bravo.

Also on carriage I would like to add that it is essential to engage the 'core' muscles those being the abdos and the oblique... the muscles in the torso work more than any other to give that light "slide-rude" (as my coach calls it) look.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   07.12.06 20:56

Thanks bunches to Heidi and Rach!

Heidi...please don't apologize for drifting off-topic, LOL. It all helps me get into a skater's head, so to speak. Writing fictional characters is one of the harderst things to do in the world (probably ranks right up there with quadruple jumps, lol), and if I'm to have success with the characters I'm working on all the little OT bits of input will not be for naught.

Either Rach or Heidi....regarding carriage, can I assume that developing that ease-of-carriage look that most elite skaters possess comes from the muscular development of practicing the correct positioning of the various parts of the torso, arms, head, etc, and that eventually the skater no longer has to work at holding the proper body positions. From some point in time, it happens automatically. What sorts of off-ice exercises and work in the gym promote the development of those core torso muscles? How much does ballet figure in to the development of carriage?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   07.12.06 21:29

it's soooo interesting to read study

I've got another question. is it easier for a skater to learn dancing? I suppose yes just checking Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   08.12.06 5:43

Well, I did try to post an answer here, but then I lost it....
Well, I'll have to try again another time! Rolling Eyes sorry about that!
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   08.12.06 12:27

humming bird wrote:
it's soooo interesting to read study

I've got another question. is it easier for a skater to learn dancing? I suppose yes just checking Wink

You mean dancing on ice or dancing, like, dancing ?

After my experience, I would say

1/ Ice-dance is easier at lower levels but very hard at higher levels, it takes just as much hard work to succeed as in any other figure skating discipline at the highest levels. (I used to do it, but quit}

2/ As for real dancing, I suppose that it would be easier because of the body awareness/control that skating teaches, but in my case, I cannot dance, at all. I am terrible. So, good dancers a skater does not make ! :greensmilewink
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   08.12.06 12:31

Blue Bead wrote:
Thanks bunches to Heidi and Rach!

Heidi...please don't apologize for drifting off-topic, LOL. It all helps me get into a skater's head, so to speak. Writing fictional characters is one of the harderst things to do in the world (probably ranks right up there with quadruple jumps, lol), and if I'm to have success with the characters I'm working on all the little OT bits of input will not be for naught.

Either Rach or Heidi....regarding carriage, can I assume that developing that ease-of-carriage look that most elite skaters possess comes from the muscular development of practicing the correct positioning of the various parts of the torso, arms, head, etc, and that eventually the skater no longer has to work at holding the proper body positions. From some point in time, it happens automatically. What sorts of off-ice exercises and work in the gym promote the development of those core torso muscles? How much does ballet figure in to the development of carriage?

Mary C.

It happens very naturally, yes, but not automatically. One still must be mindful of this in the back of one's head, especially when tired.

As for off-ice exercises : Anythiing that works the abdominal muscles is good. Preferably the obliques as well. Me, I lift weights for the arms/shoulders/upper back.

As for ballet : Evidently that depends on the skater, because I do not, will not do ballet. Not happening. mdr And I get along fine, if not flexibly. lol! In other words, ask Heidi. :p
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   08.12.06 19:04

Rach....Thanks again for your very qualified input.

Do many skaters use the Pilates methods as part of their training regimen as it really develops the core muscles over the long haul?

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   09.12.06 4:48

I agree with what Rach said...
But, about ballet.... lol! ...it goes to show that you don't have to do ballet to be a good skater, exactly, but it is a great great aide in one's skating development, IMO. Especially when it comes to carriage and turnout (the ability to "turn out" one's hips, knees, and feet.) Just basic ballet helps quite alot.

As far as a skater dancing... right, it depends on the skater... Wink

Mary, I think alot of skaters in the US do use Pilates now. I'm not sure about other countries... ?
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   09.12.06 16:43

Blue Bead wrote:
Rach....Thanks again for your very qualified input.

Do many skaters use the Pilates methods as part of their training regimen as it really develops the core muscles over the long haul?

Mary C.

Obviously I am not qualified to confirm nor deny this outside of my own experience, being, as it is, that I am not omnipresent. mdr

But neither I, nor the skaters that I know (of), use Pilates as a regular part of a regimen in any way. Several years back I, personally, took classes, but this was more for the alignment of the back and related to an injury that I had sustained... (I have a mis-aligned right hip that twists naturally almost ninety degrees outward, and it has caused me rather persistant troubles in my sacral-illiac joint.)

We strengthen are core mainly by excercises that can be effected at the rink in between trainings, and, in my case, 30 hours of ice time a week.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   09.12.06 17:08

Thanks for your answers, Heidi and Rach!

Mary C.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   10.12.06 6:27

Quote :
being, as it is, that I am not omnipresent.
Right- same here Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   15.12.06 23:54

about pairs: uhm... I don't know how to describe my question Smile there is a thing what couples do at galas and shows, when a man is holding a woman by her feet and his moving her up and down while spinning.(I hope you know what I mean;)) I'm always very scared when I'm watching that. is that very hard to do? and how.. is it possible, aren't these women afraid of hitting the ice by their heads? Smile as I assume there must be a possibility of hitting... and how do they learn that? well... I can't imagine learning that... thank you for answer Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   16.12.06 13:16

1/ It is called a bounce spin. Actually, it is called a multitude of things because it is not an official movement, i.e. banned in the ISU competition.

2/ It is not hard. One crosseds, such as in a jump, tightens the stomach muscles, and twists to look up along the angle of her crossed legs. Focuse on your partner and yourself, not the background, and you don't even get dizzy. It is fun but doesn't feel like it looks.

3/ It is learned with a good coach and sticky stuff on the guy's hands

4/ I *suppose* there is a possibility of hitting but I doubt that would happen unless a/ the guy is inexperienced (and a good coach makes absolutely sure he is capable before letting the girl do it with him or b/ the girl "flippe", and in totally freaking out, moves her body into an unfortunate and incorrect position... In fact this could be said for the whole of pairs skating moves I think...
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   17.12.06 3:39

My coach, who was a pair skater, also has said that that move is actually quite easy. But as Rach said, the coach would make sure the pair knows what they're doing before they could attempt it!
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   17.12.06 16:28

Your coach too? Mine never did pairs herself but coached several teams (decades ago!) that competed internationally. She also did a lot of work with couples' skating in the ice-shows.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   17.12.06 19:05

Cool! Very Happy That's really awesome that your coach was able to coach pairs, even though she'd never done it herself- that's quite an accomplishment! :super:

My coach competed singles up until she was a Novice, I believe, then competed pairs through Senior. Her last competitive season her and her partner were second alternates for the Olympics. (I think their highest placement at Nationals was earning first as Juniors, and then fourth as Seniors, if I remember correctly...?)
Then they skated in shows such as Ice Capades, Ice Follies, etc.

She is a truly brilliant technitian and choreographer, IMO!

She even got to teach in France a bit one summer several years ago, assisting another coach/friend of hers. Drapeau I'm so jealous- she pretty much got a grand tour of the whole country of France!
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   19.12.06 12:37

Ah c'est génial ta prof elle a de la chance !!

Hihihi... your coach is very fortunate. Mine has done... many things in skating... but most notably her son is a technical speciallist. Being that she had to help him study for the very stringent exams given to prospective speciallists, and that he is constantly giving the updates to the system, it is almost like having a Jean-Christophe Simond for a coach.
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   20.12.06 6:44

Wow, you are very fortunate! Very Happy Drapeau
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PostSubject: Re: Miscellany   26.12.06 19:40

hmm.. I was wondering... what would happen if a 'fan' threw a toy on the ice during skater's performence durng competition??
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