Skating to the Music

Musicality is a challenging yet important part of skating. You often see skaters running a program by going through the various jumps and spins with great focus but completely ignoring their music.

Skaters need to develop the skill of skating to their music. When you watch the top performers in skating, you see how they bring the crowd into their music.

To work on musicality, skaters can practice their routine without any jumps so they can focus strictly on the music and presentation. Also, developing a habit of listening for certain points in the music for an arm move or step can make a definite improvement in presentation.

Here is a video of 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Yuna Kim performing in South Korea last spring. Watch how she gets the crowd excited through her musicality and presentation.

September 10, 2011

Life Lessons from State Games of America

We just concluded a very successful State Games of America, and I want to say congratulations to my students – and all the Chitwood Skating students – on a wonderful competition!  Everyone skated well, and my students alone ended up winning about 25 medals!

The results were great, but they are never my main focus. Although exciting and fun, they are only temporary rewards. The real reward comes from knowing everyone tried their hardest and had a great time doing it.

Overcoming all the nerves and anticipation going into these events and being able to perform well in front of friends, family, other audience members, and judges takes strength, courage, and confidence. All are traits the competitors will be able to use for the rest of their lives!

I’m proud to say that all the Chitwood Skating students displayed those characteristics at the State Games of America. Congratulations on all their great performances!

August 14, 2011

2011 State Games of America – in San Diego!

This week, I’m going to be talking about the 2011 State Games of America (SGOA) coming up August 4-7. State Games of America is held every two years for competitors from all over the U.S. In order to qualify to compete at the SGOA, you had to place in the top 3 in any event at your local State Games (for us, State Games of California in March) either this year or the year before.

This event was started in 1999 and now has around 12,000 competitors participating in 23 different sports. The event moves around the U.S., so we are very fortunate to have it in San Diego this year! This competition is a great opportunity for skaters to get to compete with skaters from around the U.S. who normally wouldn’t compete in California.

The figure-skating events will be held at three different rinks: Kroc, San Diego Ice Arena, and Iceoplex Escondido. One of the highlights will be an Olympic-style opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on August 5th for all the athletes to march in. It will be at Qualcom stadium where the San Diego Chargers football team plays and will include a torch lighting!

For more information, visit the California State Games website.

July 15, 2011

Show Skating Inspiration

Ice skating shows are one of the most popular parts of figure skating for the audience. Usually the skaters in shows are previous competitors who have retired from amateur status (competitive skating) and gone professional (just doing shows).

The professional skaters perform in shows like Disney on Ice with productions of Disney stories that start in the U.S. and then tour around the world, Holiday on Ice which tours around Europe and Latin America, and cruise ship shows on cruise ships with ice rinks. There are also shows like Stars on Ice that have both top Olympic and World professional and amateur athletes performing, such as Evan Lysacek, Sasha Cohen, and Kurt Browning.

Every year there are thousands of smaller private shows that both amateur and professional skaters perform in all over the world as well. Usually in shows you will see many exciting moves, such as backflips, that aren’t legal in competition.

While many of these moves are more entertaining to the audience, many of the show tricks are actually technically easier than the moves you will see in competition. This is because the sole purpose of a show is to entertain the audience, not to get higher points for harder moves.

I attached a video that one of my students found on YouTube. The team is Jodeyne Higgens and Sean Rice who are former two-time Canadian national bronze medalists and World competitors. I found the video to be a very entertaining show program. Notice how small the rink is and how Jodeyne and Sean still effortlessly perform a very entertaining program with advanced tricks!

Note: See Upcoming Events page for summer class information at the Kroc Center in San Diego!

June 17, 2011

Tips for a Strong Mental Attitude for Competition

Will (13) and Christina (8) during their 1998-99 pairs season when they won their first Junior Olympics/Junior Nationals medal.

Will (13) and Christina (8) during their 1998-99 pairs season when they won their first Junior Olympics/Junior Nationals medal.

Having competed in pairs skating for ten years, I learned various techniques to handle the pressures of competition and public performance. Now I’m a skating coach. Here’s how I deal with my students’ most common competition fears.

Usually the most common fear for new skating competitors is performing in front of an audience. The skaters fear they will make a mistake and embarrass themselves in front of their family and friends. The most common question new competitors ask me is, “What if I fall?”

Read the entire article

May 26, 2011