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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Champion Cords

How many times have we coaches say "your arm was not moving with your foot" only to have our skaters say "yes it was! I moved them together". As a coach, I have tried taking a video (thank goodness for camera phones!) to prove to the skater… Still, the problem couldn't always be solved immediately as the skater did *feel* like they were moving them together.

In the spring of 2003, in the midst of a similar coaching session, Sheila Thelen told a skater, “I’m going to tie your left hand and left foot together, so you are forced to move – as a unit.” She then proceeded to get a section of bungee cord, knotted one end around the skater’s boot, and tied another knot at the other end of the cord in a loop to create a handle. The skater went on to land 10 axels in that lesson!
Sheila says,
The skater came back each time saying very important words to her coach, such as: “Now I know where my left foot goes in midair.” “Look what this cord does for my landings – now I’m doing the landings the way YOU wanted them.” “I think I’m really getting the hang of this!” Of course, the most pertinent comment the skater made was: “This bungee cord really works great! I can FEEL in midair!”

Sheila tried the idea on several other skaters and saw improvement to their skating. Over the next many months, Sheila worked tirelessly, sourcing for material, designing the cords and also working on a patent for her new product as well as obtaining endorsement from the Professional Skaters Association (PSA). Thus, Champion Cords was born!

What does Sheila encourage coaches and skaters to use Champion Cords for?

Singles, doubles, triples, quads, spirals, moves in the field, flying camels, laybacks, split jumps, camels, stroking, crossovers, presentation, posture, alignment, position, muscle memory, awareness and technique.
It has helped skaters understand and experience alignment and stretch while skating. Sheila also notes that
Most skaters wear their Champion Cords for a half hour a day, two times per week. Champion Cords teaches seminars across the country, helping skaters learn a very difficult sport - better, stronger, and faster: Alignment, Position, Muscle Memory, Awareness & Technique.

What else can be done with Champion Cords? Here's a cool video

Over the years, Champion Cords gained recognition and are used by notable skating professionals, including Audrey Weisiger (National/World/Olympic Coach PSA & USFS Coach Of The Year), Frank Carroll (National/World/Olympic Coach PSA & USFS Coach Of The Year), and Robin Wagner (Coach of Olympic Champion, Sara Hughes, and National/World/Olympic Coach). Champion Cords are also used by over 70,000 coaches and skaters throughout the United States and throughout the world, with sales to countries like Italy, England, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, China, Japan, South America, Finland, Canada, Australia, France, Dubai, Russia, etc.

Champion Cords is now on Facebook!

In 2006, Sheila joined Grassroots To Champions (“G2C”), which is a highly skilled group of Olympic/World/National coaches, each teaching different top specialties in figure skating. Figure skating clubs of all different sizes and levels (from very small clubs with beginning skaters through large clubs with National/World/Olympic skaters) schedule seminars for their faculty/facility. To these seminars, Audrey brings in her favorites: Nick Perna, a specialist in “Pole/Safety Harness Usage,” Chris Conte, a specialist in “Dartfish” (a technical computer feedback and analysis system), Trevor Laak, a specialist in “Jumps analysis,” and Sheila Thelen, the “Champion Cord” specialist. Additional specialists include: Dr. Caroline Silby, Pasquale Camerlego, Darin Hosier, Kat Arbor, Douglas Webster, Doug Mattis, and Tommy Steenberg. These G2C seminars are taught all over the United States and around the world.


Sheila Thelen is a PSA Master-Rated Coach and Skating Director at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center in Stillwater, Minnesota. She is also the Executive Director of Grassroots To Champions Seminars. Recently, she was nominated for the 2010 Peter Kollen - US FS/PSA Sports Science Award.

Additional projects that Sheila Thelen is involved in include, new blade designs with Nick Perna (in production),, Dartfish Training, Staff Member at Parade Ice Gardens (Downtown Minneapolis, MN), Monthly PSA Article. She was recently nominated for the 2010 Peter Kollen - US FS/PSA Sports Science Award.

You can learn more or order product from: Champion Cords: Audrey Weisiger’s Grassroots To Champions:

1 comment:

Twilight said...

I got my champion cords last year and they really helped with my awareness of arm movement It attracted a lot of weird looks from others though.