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After I passed my Pre-Bronze tests and was therefore able to work on programs and compete, I haven’t been in much of a hurry to take my tests. I usually defer to my coaches as to when I’m ready, and even when they think I am, I want to wait longer because testing is enough of a hassle (time, expense, emotional anxiety) that I don’t want to risk failing, in which case I have to repeat the whole process all over again.

I talked to my coach about the possibility of moving up to Silver for freeskate next year, but she was fairly hesitant about that idea. She feels that Silver is competitive and crowded, and felt I might be better off competing at Bronze again. I was a little disappointed since I wanted to move up to Silver, and I know that I still could push for it, but it’s not only that I want to skate in the Silver category; I want to be good enough that my coach thinks I am ready for Silver, and as of right now she doesn’t.

So I decided to focus more on the Gold moves in the field, and in contrast to freeskate, my coach does think I’m going to be able to test this year. I’d started working on this test before my surgery, but it took a while to work my way back up to the Silver/Gold moves after I returned. My moves coach has been encouraging me to test this summer, and thinks I’m at passing level on most of the moves and getting close on the weaker ones. Mostly, that’s the backward circle 8, and I feel like once I can consistently get all of the circles around, I will be ready to test. Currently, I’m sometimes able to get all the way around, but many times I’ll fall just a bit short on one or two of the circles. So I’m working on more power on the pushes, and a smoother glide.

Forward and backward double threes are pretty good. I’m at the stage where I can do them consistently, and the struggle comes in doing them with power and smoothness, so that there’s no jerky motion that comes from forcing the turn. My coach wants smooth ice dancey turns, with no lurching or breaking of position. I’ve been working on increasing the speed, too, because I know there’s a big emphasis on power and speed at the Gold level.

Brackets are coming along. As with the double threes, I’m working to make them look effortless and smooth, with no toe scraping or balance checks. More speed would be nice, too.

I think power circles are at passing level, although my coach would like for me to push that top speed, and to look less tentative. Forward crossovers at top speed still scare me, but I’m working on at least not letting it show!

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