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Always Sababa


     The author, Lisha Sterling, has an interesting style and focus which she brings to her articles on figure skating. 

      She teaches ice skating for beginners through advanced figure skaters at the iSkate ice arena in Luna Park, Tel Aviv. Her youngest student at the moment is 6 and the oldest is 62. Some of her students started from their very first steps on ice and are now working on double jumps. Others are just on the ice to get some exercise and focus on basic moves in the field, dance steps and edge work.

AlwaysSababa   There isn't a main or home page for this site; therefore, I have provided the following links to topics she has discussed and are worth the time to read each posting.

Skating Coaches' Education in the USA Part 1 May 25, 2011 ... There are a lot of ice skating coaches who feel as if the ... the official guardians of US Figure Skating coaches' training programs.

Skating Coaches' Education in the USA Part 2  May 26, 2011 The PSA online courses are open book exams, which is something that I tend to be generally in favor of. In the real world, you don't have to keep every technical detail of a rule in your head. What you need to do is keep a copy of the rule book or recent technical communication handy where you need it so that you can look up the precise item you need when you need it.

Jumping the tens   I want to share a warm up exercise for ice skating practice, that  I call "jumping the tens". Depending on various factors, you might want to change this to "jumping the threes" or "jumping the fives". In general I'd say either do fewer jump types with more reps or more jump types with fewer reps.

Warm Up Strategies On Small Rinks  The first rink where I ever trained was the old San Francisco Ice Arena on 48th Avenue and Kirkham. As a result of all that small rink experience I've noticed that there is a big difference in warm up quality on a small ice surface. No matter how hard you try, it seems you just can't get the same aerobic workout stroking around a small rink that you get on a larger rink.

Stroking!!!  Stroking is the base of any figure skating warm up, right? It may be the base, but there's more to stroking than you might think. The stroking portion of your warm up needs to get your pulse rate up, warm up your muscles, help you feel your edges under you, and get you skating with the best technique right from the start so that you can do everything else.

Spin Cycle The spin cycle is a series of spins from easy to difficult, skated at the beginning of a session with no previous spin warm-up. This exercise is intended to help increase consistency across spins even on the first attempt.

On Ice Warm Ups  Every on-ice session needs a warm-up and a cool-down period. Some of the warm-up and cool-down can – and should – be done off ice, but warm up time on ice should not be neglected.

The Education Experience
    Modern education should be learning a thing or two from marketing. Education isn't a product that we can package and sell. To be effective, it needs to be an experience.

Figure Skating Coach   Elisheva "Lisha" Sterling is a member of US Figure Skating and Professional Skaters Association (PSA). She holds a Basic Accreditation certificate from PSA, and is certified as a Category A coach for the 2010-2011 skating year, meaning that she is able to coach students at any test session, non-qualifying or qualifying competition, or championship endorsed by US Figure Skating.

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The Wave of NOW
   If you are concentrating on your whole program all at once, you will not be able to give each element the focus it needs. To do your very best in a competition, you need to hyper focus on each and every element.
 
Getting Psyched For A Competition   If you want to get the best scores, you have to shine when you get out there. You need to look like you aren't nervous at all, even if you feel like you could explode at any minute. You need to make the program look like it's easy, like you aren't worried about a thing. You need to smile. But how can you do all that when your palms are sweating and you feel your knees shaking as you step out onto the ice? There are a lot of things that you can do to prepare for a competition that help you with the nerves, make you look and feel more confident, and leave people with the impression that you shined like a star out there.
  
The power of breathing    Learn some Yoga postures and breathing techniques and how they apply directly back to the ice. One of the keys to strength, endurance, and health through yoga is the concentration on breathing. 

The frustration factor    Sometimes it is necessary to undo some unhelpful muscle memory a skater has acquired prior to learning new skills.

Visualization Technique #1    Take a common skating problem and consider how you can work through it with visualization. Along the way we'll see how you can combine your physical training with off-ice visualization practice to improve your skills over all.
   
Visualization Technique #2    A skater in the early stage of learning a new move and hasn't had the opportunity to break it down into its component pieces needs to develop a visual reference of the move to get it right, so they don't practice it incorrectly.
  
Visualize Whirled Peas    Visualization can help you overcome the problem of uncorrected mistakes causing bad muscle memory. Every time you do an action you are building or reinforcing your muscle memory required to perform that move. Muscle memory is part of what makes a complex action easy with a bit of time. Learning may prove to be a major challenge to your coordination when you first start, but once you get the hang of it, muscle memory kicks in and you automatically perform the skill.
  
Moving Balance   With every stroke you are falling forward, but you catch yourself before any disaster happens and then you allow yourself to fall forward onto the next foot. But, of course, we don't focus on the falling part. Walking is a great example of moving balance. Each step presents an opportunity to fall, but we don't, because we are in a state of controlled balance as we push and complete the process of transferring our weight to the opposite foot.
  
A Balancing Act   Your blades should be positioned (mounted) on the boot to facilitate balancing on the blades. If your boots are supporting your ankles and the blades are positioned correctly on your boots, you shouldn't have any difficulty keeping your feet upright. Standing upright on skates doesn't take any particular balancing skill, but controlling where you go and what you can do on your skates.
  
Yoga in motion   Ice skating is essentially just a string of postures that you have to hold precisely in order to accomplish the most with your body. If you don't hold yourself properly, you often end up exerting more energy and produce less benefit/results than desired. When you are doing things exactly right, people looking at you will have no idea how much work you are actually doing because your moves will look absolutely effortless.
  
A Layback Spin    Any spin completely messes with a skaters sense of direction. In a moderately good layback you'll be looking at the ceiling, but in a really good layback you'll actually be looking at the world upside down. You can get used to that feeling of disorientation by practicing headless spins before you start doing laybacks.
  
Work with physics, not against it  If you want to understand what's going right or wrong with your skating moves, you should think carefully about the physics of the move. Take a look at videos of top skaters who can do what you are trying to do perfectly and at videos of skaters who are making mistakes. Take a look at videos of your own skating. Think about what the physical forces in play are, and learn to skate smarter, not harder. It's a lot easier to contemplate the physics behind a move than it is to actually accomplish the move itself, but understanding what you need to do is definitely a step in the right direction.
  
Looking to the future        Life takes planning. Even the simple things have to be thought through before you do them, and you don't want to act rashly without looking. On freestyle practice sessions, not looking forward may get you into a head on collision with another skater. At work, not planning your day well might cause you far bigger problems.
  
Looking to the past   Sometimes you need to look to the past to know where you are heading next.  When you look to the past, it shouldn't be to dwell on your mistakes or past glories. Living in the past won't help you have a good life going forward. But looking to the past is important for those times when you need to see where you have been in order to figure out where you are now and what you are going to do next.
  
Eyes on the present     Self-help books and gurus say how you shouldn't focus on the past and that you should plan for the future, but somehow you should always be in the present.
  
Beginners' Advice   3 fundamental laws of ice skating:
  • Wherever your eyes are looking, that's where you are going.
  • Whichever foot has your weight, that knee should be bent. This rule is also known as, "Sit down!"
  • Keep your hands out to your sides, but don't wave them around.
  
Sit down!!    The second rule of ice skating. (And no, it's not "Don't talk about ice skating." That's something different, entirely.) The second rule of ice skating is that whichever foot has your weight on it, that knee should be bent. That's a lot of words, but the gist of it is, "Sit down!"
   
Keep your hands out  The third law of ice skating is "Keep your hands out to your sides" (but don't wave them about). When you are just getting your confidence on the ice, and you are feeling like you might fall at any moment, keeping your hands out to your sides helps give you better balance. Like a tight rope walker using her arms to give her extra balance as she crosses from one platform to the next, you can feel more confident and in better control with your hands out.
  
Do what you love    Life is too short not to do what you love. However, Even the things you love most in your life are going to include some component in them that you don't like to do. What it does mean is that you should make a commitment to yourself to do the things you love on a regular basis.
  
The eyes have it
     Just the slightest lean, the tiniest change in position of the knees or the shoulders, or the placement of hands can change everything. When it comes to the subtleties of body positioning on the ice, the eyes are the first key to everything. Even from the very first day that a new skater is on the ice I start telling them the first of all my coaching mantras: "Where ever your eyes are looking, that's where you are going."
  
Coaching the Coaches  I sometimes work with coaches to improve their skills. My approach to teaching includes the following things. There are a few things that are hard and fast rules like, "Don't let a student make the same mistake more than 3 times." (After the 3rd time they do the same mistake, you change up what you are working on to something that uses similar, but slightly different movement, so that you don't encourage bad muscle memory.) Other things are a lot more amorphous like, "If you explain something one way and it doesn't work, think up another way to explain the same thing," or "be flexible enough to try different ways of getting the same thing done, but remember that on the ice, physics is boss."

Sports Training

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Sports Information
PDF  Off Ice Training Guides

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credit is given for the source of the materials.


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