MIF: Standard or Adult Track?
After almost 10 months, I have completed the adult basic skills and just tested the Canasta. I am more inspired than ever to keep on going and am looking for some input. I think I understand the philosophy behind the development of the adult track curriculum, but trying to decide if it is the best path to take. I have heard it said that by going adult vs standard track, one may miss out on some important skills. Thoughts... suggestions??
To begin with, you might as well try learning all the moves for the next test on both tracks.
When it comes time to decide which test to sign up for, if you want to actually pass the tests and not just learn the skills, ask yourself three questions, and answer yourself honestly:
1) How powerful are you?
If you stroke forward from one end of the ice to the other, how many strokes does it take for you to get from one end to the other? If you do crossovers around the hockey circles, how many does it take for you to complete the circle?
Do you get good glide and acceleration from each stroke? Are you comfortable maintaining speed through threes and mohawks (including the step from back outside to forward outside)?
For the pre-bronze tests, compare yourself to the level of speed you see from kids taking and passing the pre-preliminary moves and starting to work on preliminary.
If you can cover the same amount of ice with a comparable number of strokes in a comparable amount of time, it may be realistic to aim for standard-track pre-preliminary and preliminary. If you're more hesitant in your skating, you might be better off with the adult track.
2) How deep are your edges?
Do your curves look more like a C or a (? This will become more relevant with moves on the preliminary/adult bronze test and beyond.
3) How flexible are you?
Can you do forward spirals on flats with your free leg at list hip high already? How about on C-shaped outside edges? More of a challenge, on inside edges?
Can you step directly from a back inside edge to forward outside on the other foot at an angle that makes the turn closer to 180 than 90 degrees?
If speed and edge depth and both these types of flexibility come easily to you, then you'll probably do fine with the standard track, at least for the first few tests. If these things don't come easily for your body at your age, you'd more likely be better off with the adult track.
Speaking from my own experience, I had skated as a kid so I had a head start. I started testing moves on standard track and passed the pre-preliminary easily. Preliminary took me three tries; that step from back inside to a forward outside three was a significant challenge, and forward inside spirals on the preliminary spiral pattern are not that comfortable either.
Prejuvenile is even more of a challenge for me. After the second time I didn't pass it, I decided to aim for adult silver as well, which meant I first needed to pass the adult bronze moves.
At a certain point, even if we can do the moves with comparable technique to teenager or preteen, as adults we're likely to be stiffer and slower. That's why the adult tests define the focus of some of the moves as "continuous flow and strength" instead of "power" as on the standard tests. And why the spirals on edges are saved for the third level of adult test instead of the second.
If you want to pass the standard tests, you'll need to achieve comparable levels of speed/power, edge depth, and flexibility that the kids need to pass those tests. On the adult tests, the rules and the judges will give you a break on some of the things that are most challenging for older bodies.
You know your body and your fear level -- I don't. If your coach is familiar with the adult as well as standard track, he or she could probably steer you best.
If you do decide to stick to adult track tests, you could still work on the moves that are omitted from the standard track to make sure you learn those skills even if you won't have to test them.
At the rink. Again.
I would say you almost have to show MORE speed/power and depth of edge as an adult on the standard track tests than the kids do (ask me about my Novice moves test) because the judges have expectations from taller people! I usually recommend the adult track for people over the age of 25 who are relative newcomers to the sport (ie, didn't have a lot of exposure when kids/teens beyond an occasional trip to a pubic skate) as the adult tests choose skills in a particular order which are more geared toward an adult who has relatively limited practice time compared to the 2-3 hours a day that kids can sometimes spend when they are serious competitors at the lower (Prelim-intermediate) levels, especially if one wants to compete. You can learn the "missing" skills from the standard track without worrying about having to get those to a passing standard (ie at a more leisurely pace). Also, other than the spirals on an edge move in Silver versus Preliminary, the adult moves are much closer in what is chosen to the standard track than they were before the latest round of changes and remove some of the moves while good to know and incorporate into step sequences and program transitions, are hard to gain control of as an adult (like the backward power three turn pattern from Juvenile) to that kind of passing standard.
I looked carefully once and there are only two standard track patterns that don't appear in the adult tests - the alternating 3's on a line from preliminary and backwards power 3's from Juvenile. Both of which are skills you can adequately develop outside of testing.
I just passed silver moves last month and while I can do the alternating 3's fairly well, but I'm very glad I don't have to test them.. ever. Likewise I can "do" the back power 3's but not with the same power and speed as I see the kids doing them, plus I get really dizzy on the second set so I don't particularly like working on them (my coach still has me work on them sometimes - and it doesn't matter which side I start with, the dizzies hit hard after the 2nd turn on the other side).. so it's nice not to have that hanging over my head and stressing out about it. I don't feel cheated by not working on testing them. In reality, testing through Gold is actually harder than simply testing through Juvenile because you end up doing several patterns from Intermediate. The whole aim of the adult program was not to make a program that is "easier" than the equivalent standard track tests but to give adult skaters the opportunity to pass that final test to become "gold medalists". Most adult skaters could work hard and eventually pass Gold, but senior moves and especially senior free are just not going to happen for most. As an adult, I'm okay with that, which is part of why I opted to test adult, I want the satisfaction of getting that gold medalist medal. When I pass gold I "might" consider working towards testing intermediate if I ever get all of my twizzles consistent (I can do 3 out of the 4, but the 4th I've struggled with for a long time), but I doubt novice will happen for me because of the loops (I have the CCW ones, CW just doesn't work for me), never mind junior and senior.
As gkelly mentioned, there are many moves where "power" is eliminated from the adult track requirements, which in theory gives an adult the opportunity to "pass" moves that would otherwise fail on standard track test where power is a focus. It doesn't make you less of a skater, it just gives you as an adult with a different body than the kids (likely heavier, and older) a better opportunity to pass without multiple retries.
At the rink. Again.
Yep, sarah, you and I are basically saying the same thing. One of the things about the adult track is the order of the moves in the test sequence (like the edge spirals on Silver versus Prelim for the kids) which gives an adult an opportunity to learn skills in an order that makes more sense for adults (eg, flexibilty is usually harder for an adult than a kid, so spiral placement in the structure and power is usually harder to generate so having some of the power elements at lower passing standard like the power crossover move at Bronze vs PJ)