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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Once again, coach hopping

Singapore seems to have this "coach-hopping" phenomenon. As new coaches come in, skaters tend to leave the old and trusted behind in favor of the new and exciting. Sure, it makes for quite some excitement, but I seriously doubt it does much for the skaters!

With talk of "two new coaches" coming in anytime now, it seems like the rink office has already lined up students for them - in essence, telling current students to sign up for lessons with the "two new coaches".

Actually, these "two new coaches" are not all that new (they had been in Singapore, at another rink before), and some of the skaters had actually started with these "two new coaches". Hence it is not unreasonable nor unexpected that some students might want to switch. However, it seems to me that it is more than that - that the office is actively suggesting to students that they ought to change coaches! That, I do not understand!

Friday, March 24, 2006

When is a jump "consistent"?

Our ultimate goal is to have our jumps be "consistent". BUT, what does "consistent" mean?
Landed >50% of the time? Landed >80% of the time?
Landed >80% of the time in program?

Actually, what does "landed" mean? OMG, this is another topic for another time. For now assume we each have a definition of "landed" that we are comfortable with!

When I started working on the Axel, I was happy to land one in a skating session.
Now, I worry when I don't land one of them in a skating session.

It has been a long road from then to now, and, honestly, my definition of consistent has changed. I used to think my Axel is "consistent" if I could land it more than half the time in my program. That is certainly an honorable achievement!

Now, I want jumps consistent so that even if I don't feel like doing the jump, even if my blade slips in take-off, even if there is a rut I end up in, the jump will be landed (i.e. no falls, no touchdowns, etc). It may not be the nicest jump, but it should happen!

I probably am being a little too stringent... But that is what I have achieved on the Axel. During the Nationals 2 weeks ago, I actually amazed myself by going into a half-hearted Axel, and still being able to pull off the Axel-loop-toe loop combination (which, unfortunately, felt very ugly!)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Can you do all the elements in your program?

Attempting "difficult" elements in the program BUT not actually completing them does not add value - in fact, it detracts from the program. I learned that the hard way at Mountain Cup in 2003. The following year, I had only elements I could have a chance of successfully completing. It went well. As a skater, it helps to be confident of all elements in the program. It is less stressful and enhances presentation.

However, one still has to remain competitive. I mean, you can't keep doing only single jumps and simple spins your entire life - there would be no improvement that way!

So, there has to be a balance. I have found it useful to have only ONE or TWO elements that are uncertain... and, keep working on them until nothing is uncertain! Keep pushing the boundary, without hurting yourself!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Time Management

Sometimes I wonder how I manage to juggle my time between my husband, work, coaching and skating. Sometimes I wonder if others wonder that about me. Even more wondrous is during these past 2 weeks' when the Olympics were going on - between spending time with my husband, at work, coaching, preparing for the Nationals competition, AND trying to catch the Olympics coverage! (Meanwhile, I will use that as an excuse for not having posted anything in the last 2 weeks! Hey, I have to give up something, right?)

Of course, having a lovely husband who is infinitely supportive helps. He actually taped the live coverage (which, in Singapore, starts at 2am!) so that when I get up at 6am I can spend some time watching it before I go off to the rink.

Also helpful is having a boss who is totally understanding and accommodating in allowing me to work flexible hours... That means I skate early mornings, get to work and make up for time missed in the evenings that week.

Skating in the early morning is preferable for me. I enjoy clean ice, a relatively quiet rink and ability to concentrate on what I'm supposed to do without distraction. That makes for efficient practise - a one-hour session is quite sufficient.

Of course I would always try to find time with my husband. Making breakfast on days when I am not skating in the early morning, making dinner on evenings when I'm not working late or coaching, spending time together on weekends after coaching... I'm lucky he's understanding. I'm lucky he loves me. And I love him too!