I went to the Halloween classic on Saturday and caught everything from the men's gold skate competition on. I want to commend all of the adult skaters who competed there and tell you all that the skating was very enjoyable.
Here are some random thoughts:
From what I've seen, I realize the importance of learning proper stroking, speed and spins over jumps. I'd like to compete in adults and from watching this, I am going to focus my efforts more on stroking and spins b/c those are the elements that really make the program and help along in the interpretation in the music. Having been spoiled on elite skating, you take for granted that the skater will be decent in all these areas. We criticize top skaters for not being good enough in some areas, yet they all have the basics down. I don't hold adults to the same standard, however there were areas of skating that were lacking (obviously due to time and physical limitations) and from my vantage point, the jumps were the least important component to the programs (maybe the judges thought differently). What was important was the program construction, footwork, edges, extension and spin quality. All the skaters I liked the best excelled in those areas even if the jumps didn't work for them.
A friendly criticism though: I know how hard it is to keep the leg up in a spiral and sitting low in a sit spin, but gosh, those things are so important. I've seen a few skaters with really nice jumps who didn't sit low in the sit spin or keep their leg high (I'm not talking about Sasha Cohen high, just no back hump high) on the spiral and that really took away from the program. I found myself Dick Buttoning them on free leg and sit position (LOL). There was one or two girls who did their spirals on an edge and WOW was that noticeable and set them apart. I'm a knowledgable spectator and I was looking really closely at edge quality so for all those working on their spirals, keep working on those edges b/c they really set you apart from the competition. I know I'm going to continue working on that.
To encourage the beginner skaters, there was a girl in interpretive who did an entire program that was composed of forward swizzles, forward gliding and I don't believe much more than that, who had a very effective program. She played a wind up jester/elf and she concentrated on synchronizing her upper body movements to the music. It was the best interpretive program of the day and it wasn't *difficult* but the choreography and concept were extremely effective.
One question: how do they divide the competitors up? I noticed Bronze was divided in 3 groups and it seems as though Group 1 was the strongest group and Silver was divided as well. I thought once you passed the Bronze test you competed against all Bronzes. How do they figure out what group you compete in?
Anyway, congrats to all those who competed and I hope that you'll see me next year at the Halloween classic, as either a competitor or at least in the stands.