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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stamina (or the lack thereof)

A week in Cambodia over Christmas, two weeks without ice in January and another two weeks in Korea in February... I really haven't been working on my program as much as I'd like.

I had a lesson this morning, and happily landed the first two double Sals. BUT when we got to doing program later, I found my stamina greatly lacking!

The new start worked fine, I like it better. I didn't do the first combination jump - landed the Axel, and forgot about the other two jumps! The Lutz, step sequence, flip and layback spin went ok, but when I started the spiral sequence, I could feel my legs getting wobbly!

The spiral sequence was supposed to allow me to catch my breath again. It did, but *sigh* just not enough. The Axel right after that - this is the first time to music that I'm trying the Axel here - timing was ok, but my legs were quite 'jelly-fied', and buckled on the landing. *sigh*

I popped the double Sal later, but surprisingly managed a pretty decent flying camel right after. OK, it felt pretty decent, not sure how it looked! The last element, split jump - double toe, I remember deciding to go for the double, don't remember falling, but it definitely wasn't clean. Ended barely on time...

THEN coach said, "let's do it again!" OMG, I was going to faint!


Monday, February 26, 2007

Changing my program - yet again!

With Nationals coming up in a month's time, and a very bleak skating schedule ahead (trying to buy ice time is like pulling teeth!), I have been making Plan B for my program...

Take out the double loop.
Seriously, no point in trying that if its not going to be fully rotated. I will do an Axel instead.

Change start position.
This is because I find my initial start boring, and also because I want to place the first spin further down one end of the rink so that I will have more space for my combination jump on the other end of the rink.

Downgrade spiral sequence.
Better to have a nice sequence than try an ugly change of position that may not work, right? Anyway, I didn't really change it all that much.

This one my coach vehemently objects to, and insists I should do the doubles at the beginning of the program instead of at the end. Of course I can take out the step sequence to make way for them, but why should I do that for unreliable double jumps? Ok, I shouldn't give up on the doubles so easily, so they will stay - for now...

I suppose I will have to actually try this out with music - but I haven't had a chance to play my music these last two lessons, because I forgot my music last Friday and the player wasn't correctly plugged in this morning!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Video Jam 2007

Video Jam 2007
presented by
All Stars Figure Skating Club
Tropical Blades Ice Skating Club

3rd March 2007 (Saturday)
from 10am to 12.45pm
at Cinnamon Room, Alumni House, NUS

FREE for members of Tropical Blades Ice Skating Club and All Stars Ice Skating Club. Non-members will be charged a nominal fee of $1

More details can be found in the flyer - download flyer

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Skater or Coach?

In Korea, when we first got on the ice, I skated around and did some spins, before seeing that the beginners (the few who had not skated before) had just got on the ice. I went over to help them, and started teaching them a little. Five minutes later, one of the Korean coaches came over to me and told me to continue warming up - she'd thought I was one of the athletes!

Later in the trip, another Korean coach asked me if I coached any of the 3 girls. I said, no, I generally don't coach the higher levels because I don't actually have enough coaching time for them, and moreover, many of them skate at times when I'm at work.

Is this an excuse? Is the real reason that they do not want me as a coach? Years ago a "friend" told me that with all the falls I was taking, nobody would want to take lessons from me. I felt rather insulted, yet it made me wonder if my quest to achieve as a skater puts me down a notch in others' eyes.

Recently, one of the coaches went back to his hometown for a visit, and nobody seems to know when he will return. His skaters are left in the lurch, many of them have found or are looking for alternatives, yet none has approached me.

Why? I don't know. My interaction with many of them have been as a skater rather than a coach. Are there are other issues at play? Other damning gossips going around the rink? Or perhaps it is as simple as me having to approach them!

There are a few who I would love to work with. I have toyed with the idea of asking them, but have been hesistant - partly because I wouldn't know when to schedule them in if they do say yes! Unless coaching is allowed during the early-morning National team ice time...

[Afternote: the other part of the reason I'm hesistant is because... I'd hate to "poach" other coaches' students!]

So, back to my coaching times - what would I give up for my students? Last year, I would coach in the early mornings on public holidays as I had a couple of girls in the Nationals. This year, I have none, so I went to the rink for ice time myself (for the record, I also pay full price for my ice time!). When I saw the other coaches busy with students entering the Nationals, I was, for a moment, rather glad I wasn't giving up skating to be coaching then!

I must sound disillusioned and confused about what I want, but truth be told, being a skater and a coach can be conflicting - while I want to attain a higher level in coaching, I still want to achieve as a skater. Both demand my attention and time on ice, leading me to question - would I rather be skating or coaching?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Back from Korea

We arrived safely back in Singapore on Friday evening.

On Saturday morning, I went to the rink for just one student. There would have been one more, but I realised that I could not stay, as it was the eve of Chinese New Year, and I had to go to my parents' for lunch that day.

When I stepped on the ice, the first thought that flashed in my head was:
I'd rather be freezing my butt off on nice smooth ice, than be warm on rough ice.

And I miss skiing... *sigh*

Friday, February 16, 2007

Korean Dream Program - Final Part

There was a farewell dinner last night, with a candlelight ceremony. Many of the kids started to cry. In just 2 weeks, the friendship that has been built between them is incredible.

Yesterday, we also had the Dream Challenger competition. The Singapore girls did well, with Sarah claiming the first place! Annika had hurt her knee during warm-up, and I advised her not to push it (i.e. no double jumps!). Modulo the doubles, she skated a clean program.

After the competition, we went to the ski slopes, where we joined in the welcome of the IOC evaluation committee. There was a short exhibition by the skiiers, which was quite fun to watch. However, it was VERY COLD!!

We will be back home again soon, but deep in our hearts we will retain special memories from this program. Korea is beautiful! :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Korean Dream Program - Part 2

The weekend was filled with interesting activities. On Saturday, we went to Seoul, visited Gyeoungbokgung Palace, had lunch at the Ministry of Tourism, visited the Coex aquarium, and then had a couple of hours to shop. On Sunday, we went to a nearby museum of Edison's inventions. We then went to a hotel which was by the sea. This hotel is very interesting, as it is built in the shape of a ship, and perched at the top of a cliff! There is an observation deck, and the view is beautiful!
Yesterday afternoon, we had a chance to try skiing. I sent the girls off with the beginner class, and then one of the volunteers brought me to join the intermediate class. We went up two lifts to find them, as they were on another slope, higher up, and behind the main slopes... The scenery is absolutely breathtaking!
They thought I ski well - looks like the PE class at Cornell has paid off, though that was like... 10 years ago! Oh, and of course the not-so-secret secret was that I had gone out two nights ago to ski with some other volunteers. We had skiied from 10:30pm to 12:30am, and it was awesome. I started quite tentative, but quickly got the hang of it.
This slope was quite long, and we would stop frequently to gather the group before continuing. We had time for only one more run. It also started to snow, and all the classes were called in. Skiing here is so enjoyable - I would really like to go again, perhaps one of these nights... :-)
The snow continued late into the night, and the girls went out with the Mexican coach to play in the snow. This morning, everything is covered with a layer of fresh snow. Beautiful!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Korean Dream Program - Part 1

We arrived in Korea a few days ago, spend a night at the airport hotel in Incheon, before going to Yong Pyong resort, where we are staying these 2 weeks. The Koreans are extremely hospitable, and very friendly. The food is excellent!
I had expected a colder winter, and was partly disappointed, partly relieved that it wasn't as cold as I'd thought. We spend most of the day at the rink training, off-ice, on-ice, lunch, off-ice and on-ice again... then bus back to the resort. Unfortunately, it does seem like we spend more time on the bus than on the ice...
This evening, I took a walk out to the ski slopes, and the scenery is simply beautiful. I never thought I'd say this, but... I miss winter!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Layback variation

I watched Fumie Suguri's short program at the Asian Winter Games on YouTube, and noticed that the layback variation is exactly what I had intended to do! Except that mine, when I got a friend to video it for me yesterday, looked pathetic...

Well, I was tired yesterday, and didn't get much speed in the spin. Also, I noticed that in the first position, I was pulling my left (skating) arm back, making it look more like a twisted upright, than a sideways-leaning spin.

I tried it again today, with the left arm up and over my head - at least I tried to make it that way. Not sure if it looked any better, but today's spins certainly felt better!

I wasn't intending to put yesterday's video up, since it is so embarrassing, but oh well, everyone can see me embarrass myself at the rink, so why not! For the final position, I was tired, in an odd position, and losing speed, so I couldn't manage to pull the blade up at all! ARGH!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Bunny Hop" - an all-Adult ISI Competition

Oxnard Ice Skating Center is organising an all-adult ISI competition on March 18, 2007, at Oxnard CA.

Most of the ISI competition events are offered, and, in addition, there is an "open freestyle" event, where the rules are not as stringent as the ISI Freestyle events, and roughly correspond to the USFS Adult test levels.

The announcement and forms can be found from the Oxnard website.