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A Balancing Act


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We All Fall Down

You are just beginning figure skating and are having trouble balancing on the ice during stroking both forward and backward. You are doing well with your crossovers; however as a result of your lack of balance, you feel as you may fall. And you are scared to dear life of falling. Balance is definitely the key word In skating. Stay focused.

Falling is a part of skating. If you don't fall, you're not trying. You have to get out of the fear of falling. It is not the end of the world. It is no big deal. If you don't fall, you're NOT trying hard enough! Just go for it and you'll get it eventually.

Don't be afraid to fall; or be embarrassed for that matter. A figure skater falls, and you're going to fall. I haven't met a single skater whose butt has not come in direct contact with the ice a few times myself included. I am an adult skater. All skaters fall. All skaters must fall in order to progress. Pilates and/or Yoga classes can be helpful in obtaining better balance. If you're afraid to fall, you're honestly not going to improve in a timely manner. Your fear will hinder your progress. Falling is one of the ways in which to improve muscle memory, and as you advanced t in skating, the more you fall. Crash pads can be one of the ways to go in order to absorb the impact of falling. It may add to your confidence on the ice.

Don't worry about falling! We all fall many times. When you are a figure skater, falling is something that is unavoidable. I have fallen many times. I wear knee pads and elbow pads. It helps a lot. If you're not falling, you're probably holding back, which won't allow you to improve on the jumps because you're stopping yourself holding yourself back. “Teach" yourself to fall. Tell yourself that it's okay to fall. It most likely won't hurt and it's the only way to push yourself forward.

Another important thing you must keep in mind is that most skaters have a ‘strong’ and a ‘weak’ side to their skating. It takes practice and hard work to balance them out and make each side equally strong. Sometimes, it's hard to practice your weak side during the public session. The traffic is too much, or you may have to abide to direction regulation or limited space on the ice. Try to find an uncrowded session to practice on in which you can concentrate on your skating skills! Making sure your skates are tied properly; and having sharped blades will help a lot.

When you practice elements on the circles, start and end with your weaker side so as to get twice as much practice on that side. It really does help! Skate on your strong side, and make mental notes about what you're doing. Then, step-by-step, repeat the action on your weaker side. Hold onto the wall if you have to, but really work hard to master the weaker side skills, especially the glides and pushes. Be sure to keep your knees bent and your arms at waist height and out from your body for balance. Use good posture, arch your back, and hold the free leg behind you after you push. Make sure that your arms are out, and that you have blades that are sharpened correctly. If your blades are blunt, you will travel across the ice. Remember to keep your arms are out nicely in order to be able to help stay balanced. Your skates need to be laced up correctly.

Don't be embarrassed or afraid to fall. Everyone does. Kwan, Meissner, Cohen, Hughes (both), Weirs, Lysacek, . . . just to name a few, have had direct contact with the ice. I am not talking about their blades. You just have to stay positive and keep skating (or falling) as the elites skaters do.

sports figure skating balance

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