Nov 19, 2013

I hate my music!

My daughter's father is a musician. You can't imagine how this simplified music choices-- her coaches pretty much trusted us to come up with great unusual music and she mostly skated to things she liked.

Ice show programs were often dogs, unfortunately-- she skated to music that I wouldn't blast at terrorists to get them to give up the hostages.

In which case you just go out and skate your heart out for the applause, because the music is setting everyone's teeth on edge.

There is no standard about who chooses music; sometimes the coach is dictatorial about it , sometimes it's the student, sometimes collaborative. It is not worth fighting over. Coaches will often recycle music-- their own or their students. At the very least, this saves an editing fee-- when I still did competitions with my students, I would charge them $50 to prepare their own music, or let them use something from my library for free. Students were not allowed to edit their own music, because they almost universally did a terrible job. Not everyone's dad is a musician, but unfortunately everyone's dad, or 13-year-old brother (not kidding), has access to Garage Band.

Even if you're using "someone else's music" remember that IJS rules change more often than the weather; your choreography will be your own. Even if you hate your music, remember that program length changes at each level, so you'll have a chance to change it within a year, two at the most.

Coaches will know things about music that you won't-- cuts that allow for proper emphasis on elements within the choreography-- a jump at a dramatic cadence, step sequence that matches the mood, etc. Points are awarded, and deducted, for this. The coach might know that judges reward certain types or even certain cuts of specific music. They will sometimes use music to cue the judges "this is a Brian Boitano-like skater." "I want you to think of Jason Brown when you see this skater." "This skater is new and unique."

To you, it's "I don't like this music." To the coach, it's all part of the drive to assemble the point total.

Coaches do not choose music to be mean, or to make your skater look bad, or to pick fights. They choose the music that they feel will show off your skater's skill in the best light.

Have you had music that you hated? How did you resolve the situation?

Nov 5, 2013

Coming back from an injury- emotional

One of the hardest parts of coming back from an injury is the emotional trauma. An injury costs not just physical prowess, but a level of trust-- in yourself, in other skaters, in the individuals advising you. Adults especially become very skittish after an injury.

The most important aspect of emotional readiness is to be confident in your physical readiness. Don't get back on the ice if you are not 100% sure that your injury is healed (okay, 90% because you're more ready than you think you are). As stated in the post on physical injury, this is your call in consultation with your doctor. Not the coach, not the parent, not the calendar.

Here are some things you can do to regain your confidence:

Safety equipment
Head injury? Wear a helmet, or better yet an Ice Halo*. Children (and I include teens in that) are often reluctant to look different than their peers, and yes, a standard skating helmet stands out on the ice if you're older than 6. Further, it is inappropriate for freestyle. But the Ice Halo is designed for skaters. (By the way, don't use a soccer helmet-- the padding is in the wrong part of the head-- it doesn't protect the back.)

Adults should never feel constrained about wearing a helmet if it makes you feel more secure. The dirty not-much-of-a-secret of adult skating is that the people who feel contempt for you (and they are legion, sadly), aren't going to hate you any more if you wear a helmet. Wear it and be proud (and safe). Get a skateboard helmet that is flat in the back.

Other safety equipment are padding-- knee, elbow, wrist, hip. Wrist and elbow pads or splints can be purchased at your local Walgreen's and are fine. For hip and knee pads, get ones that are designed for sports. Especially knee pads need to be appropriate for skating-- the wide, stiff ones can make it more hazardous rather than more safe.

Take it slow
This is exactly the same advice as for physical recovery. Try it out. Go to an empty session and just slowly skate around. "Get your legs under you" so to speak. You're ready to get back into training when you don't get an adrenalin reaction from just stepping onto the ice.

Skate at your comfort level
Don't worry about getting your axel back. After my third foot injury I just decided that I was perfectly happy with my Adult Bronze plateau. I still "train" but I just do it for the joy of the wind in my hair and the elevated heart rate; I'm not trying to learn anything new anymore. I stopped jumping completely (I barely even do bunny hops anymore.) Think about whether your injury has changed your goals, and then go for it. It's not "settling"-- done right it's a positive, empowering step that puts you in charge.

Skate with someone
After my second (third? who can remember anymore) foot injury, I was extremely skittish about skating. My friend and coach Adam offered to essentially hold me up for about a month. I just skated slowly around with him until I got my confidence back.

Wall crawl
This is in the helmets-are-stupid category. Don't worry about what others are thinking. No one is watching you. (Really. No one is watching you.) If you don't have a solid skating friend like mine, use the wall. I predict you'll get 20 feet down the wall and will feel fine and start skating.

How long has it taken you to regain your confidence after an injury? What helped you? What was harder to overcome-- the physical or the emotional recovery?

*Ice Halo gives a 10% discount if you put Xanboni in the Notes field on their Paypal order form. I do not receive compensation for this- I just really believe in the product.