I got a new camera (a GoPro) for Christmas, and was excited to take it to the rink for a trial… and somehow only caught 20 seconds before it cut out. Arg! There may be a bit of a learning curve on this thing. So I ended up using my phone to record most of this practice session from the past week, which isn’t the best camera but is better than nothing!
The elements I recorded are mostly what elements in my two programs, the free skate and dramatic, though I’d like to get video of the full programs soon. Videoing myself is incredibly enlightening (and completely humbling), but I know that if I only ever see myself doing elements solo, I won’t have an accurate picture of my actual skating level. (I’m always surprised at how much dinkier everything looks when performed in a program. Such a letdown, isn’t it?) I’d like to get a proper idea of what I’m skating like, work on power and flow, and not feel such a rude awakening when watching myself for the first time in a competition video. Isn’t that a deflating moment?
I’m glad we’re heading into fall, since summers tend to be a little disconcerting as far as the skating practices go — the rinks have different schedules, the crowds are unpredictable, and life stuff happens to crop up more in the summer. I love when school goes back in session, since the rinks clear out and I feel like I can get really serious.
I lost my little portable video camera at my last rink so I’ve been unable to get much video (plus all the summer crowds), but I had a completely empty day at the rink last week so I busted out the cell phone. I don’t intend to keep filming on my phone since I just got a new one and I don’t want it to crash off the boards, but I was glad to capture a little bit of my practice because it’s been ages since I’ve seen what I look like! It’s one thing to feel like maybe you’re making progress, but a lot more efficient to see it directly.
I’ve got a bit of a backlog of videos to get through, so here are a couple of videos from last month — now that the crowds have thinned during (most) public skate sessions, I’ve been trying to get back into the video habit. But I’ve been taking them and not watching them, which defeats the purpose! So my goal is to get better about taking (and reviewing) videos.
On the flipside, I do find that concentrating too much on getting good video (in an open spot! In frame! With nobody cutting in and out! With decent light! etc) can be distracting, so I try not to do it too much. I’ll bring it out for maybe ten minutes in a session, once a week or so, although often I forget.
This winter and spring, I’ve mostly been working on improving my skills rather than learning new ones. I wouldn’t say I’m stuck because I can generally feel improvement from month to month, but I’m not progressing so fast that I’m on to new skills yet. So for jumps, I’m working on getting my waltz higher, my salchow less swingy (jump out, not around!), my toe loop crossed properly so I’m not toe waltzing, my loop bigger, my flip more consistent, and my lutz into existence.
Clips from practice! I haven’t been able to video as much as I’d like to all winter because of the crowds (thanks, Olympics), but now that spring is here things at the rink are settling back to its usual groove. I’ve been wanting to get my spins on video to see how I can improve them, since they’re the main reason that I failed my Bronze Freestyle test in January (according to judges’ comments).
I think they’re looking pretty decent. Of course they can always, always be better — for instance, my sit can can get lower — but were pretty much like that when I tested (it’s only been two months, after all) so sometimes I feel worried that I have a long way to improve before they pass me, and at other times I feel a little miffed that they didn’t pass the last time. I know it’s a losing battle to get hung up on the test results so most of the time I try to focus on ways to improve.
On the sit spin, I want to get lower, and exit more smoothly. Lately I’ve really been on a power kick — as in, trying to push everything harder and generate that extra bit of power — and going into the spins faster definitely helps get them centered and lower. That’s why when I’m tired and don’t get as much speed going in, I have a harder time holding on to the spin. Since the sit is at the end of my program, it’s important for me to have good energy for it. (We tried moving around the elements so the sit is earlier, but I think the program arrangement works best the way it is now, so it’s staying at the end.) When I hit a really good one, I can really feel that deep bend in my ankle.
I’m happy with the progress I’ve made on the backspin. My coach pointed out (and you can see in the video) that while in the spin my head is totally looking left, and I think that’s throwing me off toward the end. Also, sometimes I feel like my top half and my bottom half are spinning at different speeds and I feel twisted up — that’s when I don’t get the timing quite right in pulling in my free leg and my arms at the same time. Right now I’m at that place where I want to eke out as many revolutions as possible, but sometimes I hold on for a little too long and can’t exit properly, so I have to work on the exit timing too.
And as for camel… well it wasn’t really a camel kind of day. I wish I could blame my newly sharpened blades for throwing me off my entry edge, but honestly they just have good and bad days and the camel just isn’t quite all there yet. Bleh.
I do have another video from the same practice with a few more fun elements, but I’ll put that up once I’ve edited it!