For Want of a Triple Axel

April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

For want of a triple axel, inside/outside edges were lost.

For want of inside/outside edges, transitions were lost.

For want of transitions, jumps and spins were lost.

For want of jumps and spins, the motivation to continue skating was lost.

All for the want of a triple axel.

If I want a triple axel someday, I’m probably going to have to start with just 1 (one) axel first. Before I can determine that I am serious enough to get one axel down, I have to make sure I have my fundamentals down first. To do otherwise would be like teaching a baby to run 5Ks and half-marathons before it can even crawl. Seems legit… ಠ_ಠ

But I want a triple axel now, now, now!

But I want a triple axel now, now, now!

Well alright, Veruca Salt. You first need to show that you got your fundamentals down, showing qualified judges that you know how to do what every other figure skater knows how to do since figure skating first grade.

How Do I Do That?

You take figure skating tests. Assuming that you are a member of the skating club that hosts these tests, then they should be open to you to see what kind of figure skating skills you have.

LOL FUCK THAT, AM I RIGHT?

LOL F**K THAT, AM I RIGHT?

Don’t worry, there’s no essays to write and the only people doing any writing are the figure skating judges. All you have to show in your “moves in the field” test is proper edges (balancing on the sides of your feet), proper posture and extension skating around the ice in both directions, showing off proper height and leg placement in your spirals, and skating what resembles a figure eight pattern. If you’re doing the “free skate” test, you just have to show that you can land some jumps, get three to four revolutions on a certain spin(s), and get your transitions down without look like a clumsy idiot.

That's all I have to do? Why didn't you tell me sooner?

That’s all I have to do? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?

Good Question, Ms. Jennifer Lawrence

All of the tests that require the basic tenets of proper edge work, posture, agility, and noiseless grace across the ice sound simple. In order to complete all the patterns required of you though, these tests require constant practice on and off the ice for months, if not years. The practice time will get you confident with when you go forwards or backwards, when you do every pattern on your strong AND weak sides, memorizing the order of the patterns and actively thinking about every component of the specific pattern you’re skating, and keeping your arm and leg positions where they need to be on every pattern, including the spiral sequences.

609px-Michelle_Kwan_Spiral

Thanks, Michelle. Photographer: Kevin Rushforth

You also spend a lot of the time working on increasing the strength of your arms, legs, hips, knees, quads, and hamstrings. Not only that, but you’re also working on increasing your cardio endurance. It’d be a shame…

... if you failed the test due to shitty cardio.

… if you failed any test level due to shitty cardio.     ಠ_ಠ

Day of The Test

If your home skating club posts the test schedule online, check online or check in with the test chair, the person in charge or arranging the order and the schedule of the test. If there’s a big bulletin board where you can check the schedule, it’d be best to be familiar of when your warm-up is and what time you’re performing your test. That way, you know what time to get to the rink (before the warm-up) in order have time and check in with the test chair, pay the test chair for the test if you haven’t paid yet, stretch, change into acceptable clothing for the tests, and start getting mentally in the zone.

Acceptable clothing for ladies is something they’d wear in a competition, like a sparkly or a more low-key figure skating dress. Guys have to wear trousers (no tights) and either a figure skating top or a button-down collared shirt. Warm-up and practice your patterns while managing to avoid other skaters getting in their final rehearsals. After the general warm-up, get off the ice and wait your turn until you have to perform your test.

Your judges can be anywhere from super strict to a wee bit more lenient. Depending on the level of your test, you may get one judge or three judges to scrutinize your performance. Head over to the judges to go over some procedural things first before you perform your test. After each pattern, present yourself as ready to go to the next pattern but do not skate until the judge is finished writing notes for the last pattern you finished. Other than that, stay loose, breathe, and don’t rush anything to the point where you’ll make mistakes.

After The Test(s)

Unless you’re doing multiple figure skating tests, you’ll review the results and the judges notes with your coach if your coach is present. Thank the test chair for putting on the test, as well as the judges for taking the time out of their schedule to judge your test(s). Generally, the mood is pretty pleasant when a majority of people pass their tests that they’ve been working hard on.

Celebrate!

Boom.

If you failed your test, you have to wait a month before you can take the same test again. If your coach is present, they will tell you what went right and what went wrong according to their observations and a copy of the judges’ notes. If your parents are present, they either support you or berate you for not being focused enough. Because as a parent, yelling at a kid who failed their test makes things a lot better, am I right? ಠ_ಠ

Try not to.

Try not to.

After that, wish the rest of the skaters luck. Acknowledge the hard work that went into preparing for all these tests. Then, treat yourself to a good brunch or dinner because you earned it.

thefigureskatinglawyer

P.S.: I passed my first test this past Saturday. Whooooooooooo!

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