The author, Lisha Sterling, has an interesting
style and focus which she brings to her articles on figure
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
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
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.
Modern education should be learning a thing or two
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.
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
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.
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.
frustration factor Sometimes it is
necessary to undo some unhelpful muscle memory a skater has acquired
prior to learning new skills.
Take a common skating problem and consider how you can work through it
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.
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
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.
With every stroke you are falling forward, but you catch yourself
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.
Your blades should be positioned (mounted) on the boot to facilitate
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
down!! The second rule
of ice skating. (And no, it's not
"Don't talk about ice skating." That's something different, entirely.)
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!"
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.
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
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
I sometimes work with coaches to improve their skills. My approach to
teaching includes the following things. There are a few things that are
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."
The following internet
links have been
gleaned from personal communications
public institutions and athletic
have a web presence with information concerning team
materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the
materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given
for the source of the materials.
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