How Ice Resurfacers Work

I Wanna Drive a Zamboni Photo by Eric KilbyI’m often asked questions about the ice resurfacer at the rink and how it works.  Ice resurfacers are typically called Zambonis after the creator, Frank Zamboni, but there are other brands, such as Olympia. Every official rink has an ice resurfacer. Here are two good articles on how they work:

How Ice Rinks Work: Maintaining the Rink

Ice Resurfacer from Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Photo by Eric Kilby at Flickr Creative Commons.

February 27, 2012

Crash Pads Help Skaters Learning New Jumps

This week I want to talk about crash pads for skaters. Pads can be very beneficial for skaters learning new jumps that require many repetitions and falls to master. I usually have my skaters get pads when they are learning their axel. If they’re falling a lot on another single jump, I might recommend crash pads earlier.

Since the axel jump is 1½ rotations in the air, it takes more time and practice to master than the previous jumps. Also, the longer the rotation, the more height and rotation speed required. This causes falls on jumps like the axel and above to have more force with the skater possibly getting a bruise or another injury.

Even if the falls aren’t that hard, just falling many times in a row can cause muscle soreness or bruising. Another advantage of pads is that they usually give the skater an extra boost of confidence that makes the jump easier because the skater isn’t as afraid of falling.

There are various crash pads for skaters, including pants you can buy with pads sewn in already. My favorite individual pads are made by Waxel Pad. They’re a foam material that’s available in ½-inch, ¾-inch or 1-inch thickness. Waxel Pads have small, medium, and large sizes available, but the medium size in a ½-inch or ¾-inch thickness works best for most skaters. You can buy the hip or butt pads separately, although I recommend just getting the set of three with both hip pads and the butt pad.

Happy skating! 🙂

January 22, 2012

Recovering from Mistakes in Competition

This week I want to talk about competition mistakes because eventually every skater ends up falling or tripping in a competition program. The best skaters will recover immediately, and they’ll usually forget about the mistake quickly.

I’ve found the best way to forget about the mistake is by transferring your focus to the next element in the program. If you dwell on the mistake, that is when you tend to lose focus and possibly make many more mistakes.

You can develop mistake recovery by practicing like a competition. When you make a mistake in practice, you should resume your program with the same expression and energy as before the fall.

Here’s an example of 2010 Olympic silver medalists and 2011 World champions Charlie White and Meryl Davis at a recent ISU Grand Prix competition in Russia. You see Charlie take a significant stumble early in the program, but he quickly resumes composure, getting right back in sync with Meryl. This causes the audience to forget about the mistake and keeps any negative marks by the judges minimal.



December 5, 2011

2011 Christmas Show Time

2007 Viejas Christmas Show

2007 Viejas Christmas Show

We’re already back at the annual Viejas Casino Christmas show time! Chea co-directs and produces the show with our friend Michelle Ford. This is the 5th year of the show, which is held in the middle of the outlet center by the Christmas tree. The shows are on November 10th and 11th at 6pm. It’s free to watch. Friday is the busiest night, but Thursday has the seating reserved for the tribe. So it’s standing room only on Thursday. I’ve starred in the show the last four years, but I chose not to do it this year because of lack of time in my schedule.

If you or your child will be performing in a Christmas show this year, check out our previous posts with lots of show skating tips:

Top 7 Show Essentials by Christina

Is Performing on Ice the Same as Theatre? by Christina

Christmas Show Pointers by Will

Top Tip for Skating Performances and Competitions by Christina

Feel the Love of Performance by Christina

Why You Should Arrive Early for Skating Performances by Christina

Show Skating Inspiration by Will

Skating to the Music by Will

November 7, 2011

Halloween and Skating Costumes

With Halloween coming up, everyone is thinking about costumes. In figure skating, costumes are important throughout the year. For technical events in skating, I feel that while a good costume can help the judges remember the skater, strong skating is much more important than just having an elaborate dress.

However, for events such as artistic and spotlight where the focus is on originality and music interpretation, costumes are much more important to the overall performance quality. As a rule of thumb, it’s useful for the judges to be able to tell what type of music the skater will be performing to by looking at their costume before the music starts. It’s also nice for spotlight events to have a surprise layer of costume underneath the first layer or some other unique twist to the costume.

Here’s a Halloween show video with some good tricks in it. If you’re looking for Halloween costume ideas for skating, there are some interesting ones in the video!

October 9, 2011