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I’ve been working on a new program which I’ll compete with in my first bronze competition, and I’m hoping to have it presentable in the few weeks I have left before showtime. Yikes! Time really zoomed by. I knew that I could technically get a new program together in 6-8 weeks if I practiced hard, but I also know that it’s not enough time to feel really *solid* by the time I have to skate it. So right now I’m focusing on smoothing out transitions and getting used to the timing so that I don’t freak out halfway through when I realize I’m behind and won’t possibly finish on time. (Don’t you hate that feeling?)

A well-balanced bronze program allows two spins and four jumping passes (two combos, one of which can be a three-jump combo or sequence), plus a step sequence, so my layout is:
– loop jump
– salchow-toe loop-loop combo
– camel-sit-backspin
– lutz-toe loop combo
– step sequence
– flip jump
– sit spin

Two of those elements are iffy for me, by which I mean that I’m not completely confident going into them that I’ll hit them, and that’s the camel combo spin and the lutz-toe. The camel is one of those things where if I get it perfectly, I’m good for the rest of the spin. If I mess up the camel entry, the entire thing falls apart. So I’m working really hard to get the camel more consistent, so that I can salvage it even when the entry is off — because in my experience, when it really counts, the entry is probably going to be a little off and I need to be good enough that I can still pull off the spin.

Before I started landing lutzes (albeit shakily), the lutz-toe was going to be a flip-toe. I can pull off a flip more consistently than a lutz, but we decided that we’d put the lutz in the program anyway because it would force me to work on it, and because my flip isn’t a super strong jump anyway. If I’m going to struggle either way, I’d rather work on the harder jump.

The hardest thing by far is the step sequence, and it’s a struggle to get it smooth and not clompy. There’s a twizzle and a backward three that I sometimes mess up, but I don’t think my difficulty is tied to a particular step — I just need more flow in general, in everything I do. I noticed on my bronze test that when I got nervous I just got really tight and I scraped even the easiest steps, so I have to practice staying loose and working on transitions, transitions, transitions.

I’ll be the only person competing in my category, so the competition won’t have a lot of pressure attached. But I think with most adult skaters, personal pressure is always stronger than any external kinds, so I’ll still be feeling the stress to get it together by competition time. I didn’t have the time I wanted/needed to get things where I want them to be by then, but I do really like the program and look forward to where it’ll be in, say, another six months. And if I can make it to sectionals or nationals next year, hopefully it’ll be in great shape for those events.

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