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Thread: Season's Update thread

  1. #1
    AdultSkater
    Guest

    Season's Update thread


    Hello all, those familiar and unfamiliar---

    About this time last year, I had not trained for months and was seriously considering completing some participation goals I had and stop skating seriously altogether. The encouragement of my friends and some people here got me together enough to go compete after about 10 weeks of training. I was happy to be back, but knew that I could improve up to my prior standards, and hopefully go beyond them.

    I have continued to skate throughout the entire summer, fall and now winter, five or six days a week, and about 10 hours total time each week. I try to also do off ice conditioning, but who has time? At my age, I also need rest.

    I have formed a wonderful partnership this year with another skater and we are learning pairs. Actually, I now spend slightly more time doing pairs than singles, but in my station as an Adult skater, any and all ice time benefits all disciplines.

    A thread trying to touch upon everything I have learned would be quite lengthy, but I can start the ball rolling here for anyone who will discuss. Please be kind, I'm really a true amateur skater (meaning I do something else for a living, not skate for a living) who began learning very late in life and skating is harder than it looks!

    Pairs skating is a totally unique experience. To learn to skate individual and pair elements as a team involved starting completely from scratch for us both, as neither of us skated pairs before. The focus is power, line, position, timing and unison. Even the most simple of pair elements, like crossovers, involve the formation of a line made by the skaters to execute it with ice coverage, speed and flow. The timing must be in perfect unison as well.

    Consistency is another feature. Your timing must be the same all the time with your partner or pair elements will not be reliable or powerful or confident.

    Strength in basic skating skills is absolutely essential. This means doing even the most simple of moves with full extension, proper line and power.

    Jumps are not emphasized nearly as much as in singles skating. Given that the jumps are my strength, they do not concern me in pairs. What this combination has done is greatly improve my basic skating skills, my spins and my footwork, which are my partner's strengths. She is bettering her jumps, and together we are learning the pair elements.

    I think we have progressed very well, with some obstacles overcome to this point. We have nice, matching body lines and extensions -- when I do them : ) and we use powerful music.

    More later as we discuss,

    AS

  2. #2
    dlksk8fan
    Guest

    Re: Season's Update thread


    Hi AdultSkater! Good to hear form you. Adult pair skating sounds interesting. Will you be doing lifts and death spirals?

    Keep us informed of your progress.

  3. #3
    Princess Leppard 625
    Guest

    Re: Season's Update thread


    <span style="colorurple;font-family:georgia;font-size:x-small;">Hi, nice to see you again!

    What is the height difference between you and your partner? How did you find each other?

    Inquiring minds want to know..

    Laura </span>

  4. #4
    Sk8Harvest
    Guest

    Season's update thread


    Hi AS:

    I am glad to hear you are still in training. You have been quite an inspiration to me, another adult skater. Do you plan to complete at the USFSA sectional competition again this year? I would love to hear more about your programs and the elements you are working on, both in singles and pairs.

  5. #5
    AdultSkater
    Guest

    Answers


    Hi dlk, Harvest and Laura : )

    OK, let's see....my partner and I are 9 inches different in height and 55 pounds difference. We are eight years apart (she is younger) in age, but have been skating about the same amount of time (me, 8 years and her about . We have seen each other skate for years, but in the world of adult skating, pairs teams and coaching are unusual to find. I mean, not many teams start up from scratch with absolutely no pair experience from either partner, often, partners have busy lives and it's hard to coordinate schedules, let alone find another dedicated person willing to study pairs from scratch.

    It is truely TOTALLY different from singles skating. In Pairs, the two must blend into a unit, a pair, a team. You must blend physically and athletically, your competitive spirits must blend, courage must blend, trust must develop, hard work and dedication must be mutually appreciated, learning must be nurtured by sharing ideas and being willing to try something new. Also, both people must enjoy skating with the other person.

    The idea to try it came to me about a year ago when another couple started at my local rink, and I saw their coach (he was the first pair coach I had seen) help them do well in competition. I have seen Adult Pairs for years and always felt it would be fun. I had also done duets in shows, which isn't really pairs skating, but I liked having a partner out there.

    My partner was at a competition, and I asked her if I could sit next to her to watch the pair event. We chatted somewhat about the competition as we watched, and half way through, I noticed her saying, "oh that would be fun." quite a lot. Knowing her skating to be quite good, and recognizing our similar body lines and flow, I asked if she'd like to try it when we got home. She thought about it and said yes, and we have been working together since mid-June.

    She and I seem to work very well together to this point, and we enjoy ourselves in addition to working through aches, pains, early mornings, spiked shins, clutzy periods, etc. etc. etc. I am lucky to have met such a quality person to share skating with, and it's a blast.

    I am running out of time, so more in the next thread.

    AS

  6. #6
    AdultSkater
    Guest

    Testing


    Hello Harvest, dlk and Laura---

    My partner and I have been taking lessons, making our program, deciding upon our competition schedule and learning new elements. It has been pressure time because we needed to complete testing by the USFSA in order to be eligible to compete in any 'open' events this year, a goal of ours. One of those 'open' events is at Midwest Adult Sectionals, and the other big event is the 'open' pair event at US Adult Nationals.

    Right now, the Adult Pairs testing system is being developed, so we have to test along the same system as everybody else (young teams and kids). My goal ultimately for our team is to pass up through the Intermediate Pair test (one step below Novice Pairs), which has challenging elements like a full death spiral, overhead lifts and sbs double jumps/combo spins and two different throw jumps. The levels are Preliminary, Pre-Juv, Juvenile, then Intermediate.

    Recently, we prepared and took our first test, Preliminary. True, the moves are basic and we can do them well, but we all know the scrutiny of judges and the pressure of having to complete moves to obtain a goal (being allowed to compete) after so much work can make testing nerve wracking. Also, we did not know how the other was going to work with this kind of pressure.

    I have a very good partner who fights through the pressure and works with me throughout very well. I have more experience under the pressure, but pairs is new for me too, and I knew I'd have to deal with nerves.

    Some things were nerve related. The judges did notice a few areas of scratchy skating (always a nerve thing) and a struggle in our lift, which we were determined to 'save' and complete while still going fast, like in practice and not backing off. Our pair spin was slower than normal too. We did do very nice sbs jumps, sbs spins and a good position in the pair camel and nice pair stroking patterns. It was OK, and we did do a harder pair lift than was required.

    But, some very encouraging words as well. Good speed, good positions, nice line, good unison, challenging footwork (I made a toe pick scrape at the end : \ ), nice lift in jumps and "generally in sync" were all comments.

    Overall, we passed our exam by all the panel members, and we are both happy and relieved. So we can both say we are official USFSA Pair Skaters now It is exciting! Now it's onto doing our program a lot to get ready to go to competitions!

    More later,

    AS

  7. #7
    dlksk8fan
    Guest

    Re: Testing


    AdultSkater-
    Congratulations to you and your partner for passing your USFSA test!
    Now it's on to bigger and better things:D

    How soon will the adult pair testing system be developed?

    Keep us posted on your progress and competitions.

  8. #8
    RealtorGal
    Guest

    Re: Testing


    <span style="color:teal;font-family:helvetica;font-size:small;">Thanks for the update and I wish you the best of luck! Please keep us posted.</span>

  9. #9
    Sk8Harvest
    Guest

    Re: Testing


    AS - congratulations on passing your prelim level pairs test! Please continue to keep us posted on your upcoming competitions. I am especially interested to hear about your programs (the music, choreography and elements planned). Do you plan to compete as a single skater this year also?

  10. #10
    Princess Leppard 625
    Guest

    Re: Testing


    <span style="colorurple;font-family:georgia;font-size:x-small;">Oh, yeah, I want to know about the music, too! What are your choices? I don't skate well enough yet to do anything to music, but I can't wait until I can. Until then, I live vicariously through you. :D

    Laura </span>

  11. #11
    AdultSkater
    Guest

    Pairs Program


    Hello all---

    Well, we are getting down to the wire here in terms of preparing our program for our first competitions after passing our Prelim Pairs test. What is hard about the first year is that it took several weeks just to learn how to stroke around together. Then, we had to learn new elements and other basics to have the building blocks to make a program. Both of us had to learn new things in terms of singles skating to be able to do them together (I had to learn new turns, footwork and she had to learn new entrances to spins and work her jumps, for example) and also the pair elements had to be done. The first year is a building year, and the hope is to do what we can do well. That takes repetition, which is the phase we are in now.

    The music is from "Total Recall", and is powerful and strong. We have 10 elements, essentially, and we practice them both in sections and in full run throughs. From the opening, we do a lift straight up similar to the begining of a twist lift into power xovers into steps into sbs flip-toe loop jumps. We then meet for a pair camel spin. After the spin, we set up and do a lutz lift which flows with pair steps into a pair spiral combination of l/f/o spiral into l/f/i spiral right into sbs sit spins (maybe sit-change someday). Some sbs footwork links us up again for our throw waltz jump. After the throw, we do sbs footwork down the length of the ice and set up for our ending, which is a fairly original series of a y-spiral by my partner/short pair spiral/jump into final pose where she is inverted, and I hold her upside down while I am in a lunge.

    The program is 2 minutes or so. Run throughs continue to flow better. The costuming is simple and shows body line and it will be easy to see if we are in unison. Nice colors for us---blue and black. The mood will be powerful, intense and dramatic when done well. There is a lyrical mid-section for the throw jump, which is nice.

    I am so pleased to be experiencing this. The hard moves for me are the lift footwork and, at times, the pair camel. Otherwise, it is improving each time we do it, so it's getting to be more fun. But, we also work so hard, and are exhausted with each practice. With rest, however, has come strength and really good conditioning. This will allow us to simply enjoy our competitive experience this year and have enough to build on for next year (like full overhead lifts, the death spiral, the twist lift and throw single jumps).

    That's all for now : )

    AS

  12. #12
    Cinderella On Ice
    Guest

    Re: Pairs Program


    Adult Skater --

    AWESOME! I wish you the best of luck on your first competition.

    I skated pairs for 6 years as a kid, so I know what goes into all the moves, etc. I can't even imagine starting to do it as an adult, so you have my respect and adoration, right from the start. What a blast!

    I can tell you've been working really hard, and you are right when you say that it's like double the work, since you not only have to get your own self in line, but then you have to be sure you're doing things right as a couple. The one thing I found EASIER about pairs was the competition/performance side of things. It is really nice to be out on the ice with someone else right beside you to support you. As you get more sophisticated in your skating, you'll find also that there are ways to "cover" for your partner when either of you makes a small mistake. For example, a little added flourish by your female partner can distract people from something you might be struggling with, and vice versa.

    Again, best of luck and be sure to keep us posted on all your progress.

    P.S. May I ask how old each of you is?

  13. #13
    AdultSkater
    Guest

    Ages


    Hello Cinderella---

    I am 40 and my partner is 32. I began skating at 33, my partner was around 25. I am a scientist, she is an artist. I am dark and Mediterainian, she is fair, American and has reddish hair. We contrast but have matching body lines, proportions and physiques. I think it is a more athletic and striking look when the unison is on.....long lines and nice positions. Powerful and good basic skating skills and moves done with good speed and size/stretch/amplitude will be our focus.

    ITA about the performance aspect, as I am experienced in singles competition (5 National Championships in Bronze and Silver levels, twice a medalist) and already recognize through testing how I feel much more comfortable with her with me as a team. We are so new that expectations are nil, so the pressure is even less than usual.

    It's been very rewarding.

    Thanks for asking!

    AS



  14. #14
    dlksk8fan
    Guest

    Re: Ages


    Hi Adultskater-
    It sounds like you and your partner are progressing just fine. It sounds like fun (and hard work). Thanks for the update.

  15. #15
    JOHIO2
    Guest

    Re: Pairs Program


    Hi AS,

    Sneaked over here to check out how your season is shaping up. Pairs sounds like it is working for you and your partner.

    At least you two started out together learning pairs elements. And of course it helps if the two skaters have similar line and style. And it REALLY helps to actually like your partner and feel that you are working together as a team! Sounds like you both are having a blast and working hard.

    Good luck to you both, not just for upcoming tests and comps, but to enjoying working together for a long time!

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