Friday, August 15, 2014

Skating Fridays

Learning from the Best - my Experience with an Olympic Coach



It’s not every day that one gets to meet (much less work with) an Olympic coach. I was fortunate to have participated in an adults-only skating seminar this past weekend. One of the two seminar leaders is an Olympic coach – meaning that two of their skaters represented the United States at the Olympics. One skater is even an Olympic medalist!

We were lucky to have had 4 hours with these two amazing coaches. There is too much information to share with you in a blog post, but I can share some highlights from what I learned.


1. The formula for a landed jump is: Time x Rotation + Axis + Desire
  • Time: A skater must achieve a minimum air time in order to land a jump. For example, if a skater’s air time on a single axel is 0.3 seconds and the minimum air time required on a double axel is 0.5 seconds, then there is no physical way that the skater will ever land that jump.
  • Rotation: Skaters must be able to rotate efficiently while in flight
  • Axis: One’s body position and jump alignment must be correct
  • Desire: Does the skater truly want to be able to land the jump? Or are they afraid and have self doubt? 

One of the biggest hurdles for adult skaters is the desire/fear. Many of us are afraid of falling, and that contributes to a lot of our hesitation to achieve the jumps we want to do. This is what really differentiates us from younger (kid) skaters.


2. Basic drills and edges are equally as important as the elements. We spent a lot of time focusing on warm-up exercises and edge drills. These are essential to better skating technique. Fortunately, many of these drills were things that my current coach has already taught me, so I was already familiar with these exercises. It was great to know that my warm-up drills are the same things that elite skaters do as well.



3. Break down jumps into chunks and simulate the in-flight air position while on the ground or ice. For example, we spent some time in an off-ice harness to understand how our body positions should be while we are jumping. Where do your feet need to be? What about your hands? Then we de-constructed parts of a jump to understand how to approach a jump, take off and land.


I wish I would have taken some video or photos from our seminar, but it was so jam-packed that nobody had time to do this. We took a group photo at the end, and I hope to share that with you all once I receive a copy of it.

All in all, it was a fantastic seminar, and I hope that these tips and techniques will improve my skating. I can now say that I’ve learned directly from an Olympic coach!



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