Friday, March 14, 2014

Pre-Stone Age Skating

Yesterday, the 13th of March, marked the two year anniversary of me breaking my right radius.   That little episode of clumsiness side-lined me four months to the day; I finally returned to skating on Friday the 13th in July of 2012.  I told myself at the time that I still had unfinished business out on the ice.

Since then I've completed ISI's Gamma, Delta and FS-1 skill levels and am currently chipping away at FS-2 plus introductory ice dancing and, although I'm a much better skater now than then, I still have lot of unfinished business to transact.  As I progress, the new elements become harder and harder to master but in addition, I'm accumulating lots of sloppy lower level skills which I need to revisit--important skills which I mastered well enough to get a pass on a test but in truth have not entirely made my own.

At last night's group freestyle lesson, coach M. had me work on the entry for the one foot spin.  After 15 dizzying minutes of that he told me to move on to something different.  He asked if I wanted to work on FS-2 required jumps and I said "No, I'd like to work on foundation skills with the goal of joining the rink's USFSA club and taking the Pre-bronze moves in the field test."  For those unfamiliar with MIF, these tests, to a degree, replaced the skills which were called "compulsory figures" or sometimes "school figures" back in the early 1990s.

We talked about that for a couple minutes with me indicating that preparing for the MIF test would force me to refine all the basic elements like consecutive edges, back cross-overs, 3-turns, Mohawks, etc. which I hate doing in my weak direction.  He listened and then pulled out his water proof marker and drew two co-joined circles on the ice--a basic figure 8.  I spent the remaining lesson time attempting forward outside 8s around those circles.  The CW direction was no problem but hugging the CCW circle really forced me to think about keeping my free shoulder back if I wanted to make it around the circle on a single push without putting the free skate down on the ice.  By the end of the lesson I could just about do three continuous circuits of this "patch".  No, my tracings weren't on top of each other but at least I wasn't putting the free foot down. 

Exercises like this will help me get to the Waltz 8 pattern which is one of the moves required in the Pre-bronze level test.  Short video clips of the various USFSA Moves test elements can be seen here.
The Waltz Eight Pattern

Pre-bronze.  An odd name for a proficiency level. The more advanced levels are of course Bronze, Silver and Gold.  I suppose if I manage to pass the Pre-bronze test that I could claim to be at the Stone Age level of figure skating.  That implies that I'm currently Pre-Stone Age.  Some days that seems about right.


  1. Thanks for pointing out again the importance of basics for learners. We don't have any special adult exam levels in Germany but the videos and explanations are nice learning material for my coaches: often I tell them where to find that stuff on the internet and then we work together on it.....;-) The tests we have by the clubs are more suited for children and adults such as me with having a goal to skate as best as they can mostly work their own elements and patterns out. As long as an experienced coach (the best is a coach with figures experiences - Old School so to speak of course) oversees it, it works fine! My coaches all have figures experience and as artistic roller skating still has figures up to this day it is a nice combination to practice.....:-)

  2. Hi Anne. Glad that my blog provides something others find useful every now and then!