New skates-poor performance
Hello, I am the mother of a 9 yr. old beginner figure skater. She is a level 6 freestyle in the learn to skate program and has been skating for 2 yrs. After her 1st pair of entry level figure skates began to "break down" her coach recommended that we purchase Riddell 255TS boots and Matrix Legacy 7050 blades (the stainless steel). Since switching to the new boots/blades her performance has decreased substantially, she can no longer do her elements at the same level of competency and in particular her speed has decreased. She has had the new boots/blades for 6+ weeks and has assured us that they are broken in, and not causing her discomfort. Her coach is losing patience with her and believes she simply isn't trying. That is not the case, she is trying and is very frustrated. I need to add that her coach is normally a very kind person, but is really getting angry at our daughter. Her coach believes that she is making excuses and should simply skate "faster". Can anyone give some advice on how to help our daughter adjust to these skates, or some methods on increasing her speed? Does anyone have any experience with the blades, and advice on adjusting to them? It is noteworthy that she skates 5-6 times per week. Thanks so much in advance.
Last edited by coskatingmom; 02-08-2013 at 01:13 PM.
Have you measured your daughter's height and compared it to 3 months ago? I am guessing she has grown. When my daughter grows even half an inch, things that were excellent throw out the window. The first to go are camel spins and then her axel and double jumps. They come back, but it takes time. She has grown 6 inches in a year and 20lbs. It's like having a whole new body every 2 months.
Another thing to check are to make sure her blades are positioned correctly. Does she fight an edge? Does she make snow when just doing a spiral?
How many hours has she skated in them?
Check the blades for any burrs and have let the skate pro know she is having issues - maybe they weren't sharpened well.
Did you get them sharpened before she skated in them or is she on the factory sharpening?
If it's just speed that is effected, does she take an edge speed type class?
Thanks for your reply. I think you may have a point, my daughter has grown at least 1 inch in the last 6 months. We did have her skates sharpened by the person who has been sharpening them since she started skating. She spends around 10 hours a week on the ice, so she has skated in them around 60 hours. No burrs on the blades, and I'm afraid one of the issues is that they are stainless steel blades. She does take a power stroking class one a week and has for over a year. Perhaps we need to just give this some time? Thoughts?
Sitting Here on Blue Jay Way
If she's growing there's nothing that can be done other than to wait it out and see how she progresses. What boot and blades did she have before? It's possible if there's a big change in the style of boot or blade, that they just aren't the right fit for her regardless of whether they're causing her discomfort or not. Plus the matrix blades are so much lighter than standard blades that could defiantly take some getting used to and could possibly throw off her technique. I refused to buy those blades because I knew having them would mess me up mentally due to their lightness. Also check that the blade is properly and firmly attached to the blade. Since they're new that's probably not an issue, but it doesn't hurt to check and a slightly loose blade isn't always noticeable when skating but can be extremely dangerous and cause all kinds of problems.
Also make sure the blades are set correctly. Even if they aren't it may not be very noticeable since she will compensate subconsciously, automatically. But being off just a little can destroy your skating.
WHat is the reason to use stainless steel blade? Coach got explanation? Stainless steel blade is lighter, which on the other hand make the stroking possible not as strong as before.?
It is the first time I see kid so young take this blade.
One aggressive parent used it thinking that her daughter can't hold the camel long enough and want to use it to reduce weight!!
IN my experience, there are 2 kinds of coach, more will it be the type want to push everything to the edge, little patience...... wants more difficult things to happen while don't want to fine tune it, make it artistry performance.
I am really appreciate, and looking for the second type which focus more on strong foundation, quality Vs quantity.
Parent need to observe, and participate in the training process - talk to the coach, speak out for the kid so that kid can be in a "healthy" atmosphere being train.
I agreed and trusted coach is professional on the technique side, but I still strongly believe that ONLY parent know their kid the best, from outside in. We know that whether the performance is due to lay back effort or something more deeper than it.
Stainless blades hold an edge longer between sharpening - that's why more and more coaches recommend them. It seems to be a regional thing though, some areas have more skaters in them than others.
My experience switching from carbon steel to stainless is that the stainless had much less resistance on the ice - it felt like there was a lot more more glide per push, so they felt really really weird at first, but I really liked the difference. However some skaters have the opposite reaction and they don't like the way they feel on the ice. Some report feeling unable to spin or jump because they just don't feel "right" - and blades can be a very individual thing.
What I do suspect though, is that if your daughter went from entry level skates to a higher level of boots and freestyle blades, that there is going to be some significant adjustment due to the different feel of both the boot and the blade (the profile of the blades is different, and the pick configuration is likely MUCH different). Has she had any bad falls in these skates or anything else that would have impacted her confidence on the ice in a major way? Skating 5-6 times a week for 6 weeks most skaters should be 100% comfortable in their new skates by now, but it seems like there may be something else going on. I would definitely double check the boot fit (make sure those heels are nice and "locked in" - if her foot is shifting at all, it may not cause any pain but doing a lot of things on the ice won't feel as secure) as well as the blade alignment just to make sure there's nothing off there that could be improved.
The problem might be the difference in the blade rocker. Matrix Legacy blades have 8ft rockers, while lower level blades usually have, I believe, 7 ft rockers to 8ft Matrix Legacy about 4 months ago and still am not used to them. (FYI, the stainless steel blades are supposed to require less frequent sharpening than others, which would be a good thing).
Who did the sharpening and how long ago? Who did the blade mounting?
I agree that their may be a problem with the blade position and sharpening.
I've skated on the Ultima's but don't like the stainless steel as much, even if it is lighter. The feel of the blade on the ice is more secure for me in a traditional blade.
If the old skates are not to small I would say try them out and ask her which ones she likes better and if this coNtinues I would say try getting new blades that aren't stainless steel because maybe she just doesn't like the feel of the blade
I agree with Bill. I am not an accomplished skater but do and still coach basic and Ballet at higher levels. I seriously think your daughter is more intimidated by her coach and performance than new equipment. yes she will feel different but it doesn't help when your coach accuses you of not trying??? Get a different coach........just my two cents