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I felt confident going into my two tests this week, but I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself and assume I’d pass. So it’s a relief to have my first testing session over with and Adult Pre-Bronze MITF and Freestyle passed. Phew!

My skating club is pretty large, and there were over 20 tests spanning a four-hour test session. And just my luck, there were two hours between my moves and freestyle tests. Thanks be to Youtube for the bevy of testing videos out there, because it helped considerably in understanding what to expect. I was still nervous, but if I’d gone into it blind I would have been so much more intimidated. Funny enough, I wasn’t nervous at all as I waited for my group warm-up — maybe I’d really be fine, I thought. Maybe I’d breeze through and turn out to be a great competitor!

HA. As soon as I got on the ice for my warm-up, I started feeling slight jitters. I waited rinkside as two skaters tested ahead of me, a pre-juvenile girl and an adult bronze. The bronze test was shaky in spots and required a reskate for a pattern that went wayward, but it did pass. Then it was my turn and I skated to the judges, then got the go-ahead to begin.

Pre-Bronze Moves In the Field

Stroking. This felt fine, a little hesitant as it was the first move, but no problems.

Judge 1: Good flow & extension, side of blade pushes could push harder
Judge 2: A bit tentative, xovers could be stronger, very good posture
Judge 3: Technique correct. Work on knees to gain power.

Edges. These are usually strong for me — but of course this is when the nerves started to creep up on me. I don’t even know WHY — mentally I was calm, but my knees were trembling anyway. Forward edges were slower and more tentative than normal but fine. Then on backward outsides, I started to get in my own head a little, picking at every detail that wasn’t going perfectly, and I had to forcefully get my thoughts back on track as I finished. On the last lobe I messed up a step — my legs were shaking so the last push-off didn’t get any push, so I stepped again. Insides went fine.

Judge 1: Steady, accurate edges. (Back outside) Forward on blade, 1 extra push.
Judge 2: (Forward) Good edges (Backward) Ok edges, incorrect body lean
Judge 3: Good control, generally strong edges

I assume the body lean comment was when I got off-balance on the backward outsides and I probably lurched forward.

Crossovers. My forwards are always weaker than my backward crossovers, so the judges were spot-on on that. For whatever reason my FXOs are harder to feel flowy on, and especially when I get nervous they get steppy. I feel way more in control of BXOs, even when I’m nervous. Maybe because I use them more on a daily basis for jump/spin preps?

Judge 1: Continue to work on transition on forward, back better
Judge 2: Lacked strength, incorrect transition – should be swing roll, change edge, mohawk
Judge 3: Good. Be sure to step onto correct edge

I never realized I had a problem with the transition, because I thought I was doing the swingroll-to-mohawk properly. But I don’t have deep edges so I can see how I ended up on the wrong one in the transition. Mostly I’m just glad I got through without messing up.

Waltz Eight. Who knew that Waltz Eight would be my strong element? HA. I felt very steady on this, although my weakness is the return to center on the right foot. Coach A said my edge control and flow should be strong enough that the judges wouldn’t ding me too much for the weaker return to center.

Judge 1: Excellent extension back on BO edge, forced FO back to center
Judge 2: Good edges, layout and control
Judge 3: Large circle – correct edges. Fairly well controlled.

Spiral. My left foot spiral is weak and sometimes curves too much. So my concern wasn’t extension or speed, but just to make sure the LF spiral made it to the halfway mark till I could switch to my stronger side. Not my best spirals, but they were acceptable.

Judge 1: Nice straight leg with good posture
Judge 2: Held positions, extension fair
Judge 3: Good extension, leg height OK

Pre-Bronze Freestyle

I was much, much calmer for freestyle. My weakest freestyle element (spins) are weaker than my weakest MITF elements, but overall the freestyle test is easier and shorter.

Coach A had me doing my freestyle elements in a mini-program – no music, of course, but with each element linking to the next. I did the 2-foot spin from a regular spin entry (XO, wind-up), and it went okay – 3 1/2 revs, according to the judges, which seems fine. Admittedly I never worked very hard on the 2-foot spin because I intend to never use it ever again, so as long as I could pass I was happy with it. Onto crossovers, then my good side spiral, which went about as nicely as I can do it. (One of the ice dance coaches complimented me afterward, which felt really nice.)

I kept the jumps safe — waltz, salchow — and my 1-foot spin managed 4 revs, which is about as well as I can do it. Why is scratch easier than the plain upright? I don’t know.

I was a little disappointed with the judges’ sheets for freestyle, because there were hardly any comments on it — mostly just check marks indicating it passed. The only comment I got on any element was one “pretty position!” for my spiral. Well, I won’t complain.