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Thread: Why is flexibility so appreciated?

  1. #106
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    The point about a sit spin is that if you have an average, uninjurred range of motion/flexibility in your spinning knee and enough strength to get down and up from the position in the surrounding muscles (mostly quad), anyone can learn a sit spin. It's easier to attain a sit spin position or shoot the duck than a 180 degree split spiral or the Statue of Liberty position spiral assuming you have full range of motion in your knee. Flexibility as defined for most people who are figure skaters relates to how high the free leg is in a spiral, the back position required for a hair cutter and Bielman, and whether you can turn out to do Bauers and spread eagles. When I discuss flexibility with my coach, we aren't talking about attaining a sit position, but getting my free leg higher in spirals and catching my foot in camels and laybacks. We don't talk about turn out because that one comes more easily to me.

  2. #107
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ^ What is a hair cutter?

    Edited to add: I tried find the answer to my own question by Googling "hair cutter figure skating." I was directed to this picture under "Skater's Hair Cut"

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...7/Emo_hair.jpg

    Here it is for girls. (I think this is a girl. )

    http://www.emo365.com/uploaded_image...air-731316.jpg
    Last edited by Mathman; 06-19-2009 at 01:39 PM.

  3. #108
    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    The point about a sit spin is that if you have an average, uninjurred range of motion/flexibility in your spinning knee and enough strength to get down and up from the position in the surrounding muscles (mostly quad), anyone can learn a sit spin. It's easier to attain a sit spin position or shoot the duck than a 180 degree split spiral or the Statue of Liberty position spiral assuming you have full range of motion in your knee. Flexibility as defined for most people who are figure skaters relates to how high the free leg is in a spiral, the back position required for a hair cutter and Bielman, and whether you can turn out to do Bauers and spread eagles. When I discuss flexibility with my coach, we aren't talking about attaining a sit position, but getting my free leg higher in spirals and catching my foot in camels and laybacks. We don't talk about turn out because that one comes more easily to me.
    This is what ballet dancers usually call "extension" and it definitely varies among dancers. I've usually heard the question of back position referred to simply as having a flexible back (as in "Nobody has a back like Suzanne Farrell's" - I think that was Violette Verdy) - not "flexibility in general."

    IOW, I think extension (how high the leg will go), a flexible back (for great spin positions), and turnout (what you need for spread eagle) are separate qualities, at least in ballet.

    Whether this is relevant to the discussion or not, I'm sure Joe will let me know.

  4. #109
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    The point about a sit spin is that if you have an average, uninjurred range of motion/flexibility in your spinning knee and enough strength to get down and up from the position in the surrounding muscles (mostly quad), anyone can learn a sit spin. It's easier to attain a sit spin position or shoot the duck than a 180 degree split spiral or the Statue of Liberty position spiral assuming you have full range of motion in your knee. Flexibility as defined for most people who are figure skaters relates to how high the free leg is in a spiral, the back position required for a hair cutter and Bielman, and whether you can turn out to do Bauers and spread eagles. When I discuss flexibility with my coach, we aren't talking about attaining a sit position, but getting my free leg higher in spirals and catching my foot in camels and laybacks. We don't talk about turn out because that one comes more easily to me.
    As MM put it, posters are talking about extraordinary flexibility which I read is what one learns in acrobatic class, which includes lots of splits on the floor exercises and the instructor dragging your foot over your head while standing next to a wall, and among other things like constant back bends. And it takes lots of muscles to do it just like it takes a heavy strain of muscle power to get your hands to pull up the leg over your head. One just doesn't lift the leg up - one has to drag it up. No?

    Spirals too, require constant stretching to attain the proper position but that doesn't require anything but personal muscle power (look, mom, no hands) and lots of knees turning out and toes pointing upward and outward. Iina Bauers require a lot of practice with back bends. Acrobatic classes will get that for you.

    I do not know your coach and there is nothing to discuss if you take Acrobatic Classes. If not, one must do the exercises at home with lots of stretching.
    The goal is to get a limber bodies.

    I have nothing against the I spin. It gets some plus GoEs, I presume. but for me, it requires too many body parts to finally get into the position. I much prefer Sasha's front attitude spin. lovely!

  5. #110
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    It is interesting to follow this thread and I just went back and looked up the original topic - "Why is flexibilty so appreciated."

    Whatever we may think about this subject one thing is clear. Good skaters who are also very flexible are of special interest to us.
    Look at the amount of posts for Caroline and then look at how many there are for Rachael, Ashley, Alissa and Mirai. And then Sasha. Actually Alissa and even more so Mirai are pretty flexible. But there are more posts for Caroline than the others put together, excluding Sasha. Is it any accident that Sasha is also very flexible?

    So whaterver the technical reasons - and arguments over flexibility may be, one thing is clear. Flexibility, as the topic header suggests is very appreciated.

  6. #111
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ^ Although...the thrust of the OP is, "I don't understnd why flexibility is so appreciated -- to me, it's not all that."

  7. #112
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ^ Although...the thrust of the OP is, "I don't understnd why flexibility is so appreciated -- to me, it's not all that."
    You may deduct a few points
    And has the question been answered? I think it has mostly been a good debate over the definition of flexibilty but has not done much to address if - or why it is appreciated.
    I still agree with Kramer's/Seinfeld take on this - atleast to some extent.
    There is something intriguing about watching someone do what we ourselves can't do. Which direction our thoughts and imagination take us can depend on a variety of factors. But flexibilty as demonstrated by skaters like Sasha and Caroline is very fascinating - almost in a primeval way.
    Some think it all depends on the lines and beauty of the position. I certainly agree with that. I am not so sure exactly why I enjoy watching flexible skaters but like most here I do enjoy it.
    Last edited by janetfan; 06-20-2009 at 07:54 AM.

  8. #113
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I don't think Seinfeld and Kramer could ever do anything in the way of elements of figure skating. Most people in this world can not.

    Enough of all this. I will concede that the meaning of flexibility is just not the same as it is in the dictionary and that it has a special meaning in figure skating for those fans of the I spin. Revisionists, oy ve.

    Over and Out!

  9. #114
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    Came across this and wanted to share, a collection of what I view as beautiful, well extended, flexible positions by Mao:
    http://img188.imageshack.us/i/maosp01.jpg/

  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKFSfan View Post
    Came across this and wanted to share, a collection of what I view as beautiful, well extended, flexible positions by Mao:
    http://img188.imageshack.us/i/maosp01.jpg/
    That collection is sublime, beautiful, and deeply compelling

  11. #116
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Thanks mathman, I haven't seen that program for years.
    Kristi was such an entertaining show skater.
    I had forgotten how she looks at her watch during the spiral
    I loved Doop Doop, too. It was such a fun program.

    Excuse me momentarily for hijacking this thread, but I just wanted to link to another lovely Kristi program....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPsBp...eature=related

  12. #117
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    I loved Doop Doop, too. It was such a fun program.

    Excuse me momentarily for hijacking this thread, but I just wanted to link to another lovely Kristi program....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPsBp...eature=related

    Thanks, really nice program.

  13. #118
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    So, is Kristi the all time greatest combination pairs/singles skater?

  14. #119
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    So, is Kristi the all time greatest combination pairs/singles skater?
    Hmm, I had the same thought about Kristi.
    Wonder if any other skaters were able to both so well. Going way back - Mirabel Vinson was good at both.

  15. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ^ What is a hair cutter?l
    The position in the layback spin when the skater brings free foot to their head.

    http://nbcsportsmedia2.msnbc.com/j/a...d8d8.widec.jpg
    http://www.skateygirl.com/nat2007/jr...%20198_jpg.jpg
    http://nbcsportsmedia.msnbc.com/j/ms...2_8p.widec.jpg

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