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Focus on 'FUN'damentals

February 5, 2017

Skaters often get bored with working on the fundamentals, and I get it - I do. You've already learned this stuff and practiced it hundreds of times, you want to focus on learning new exciting skills. A few thoughts on the subject from a coach perspective, first of all - it's okay to have a favorite thing to work on. It's awesome to be so motivated to get that new jump/spin/combo/footwork etc, and you WILL get it. What makes a skater a great, well rounded, consistent skater is working on the things that aren't as exciting or fun or easy. We all have a tendency to work on what we like to work on, whatever that is. The skaters that discipline themselves to also spend time on all of the other aspects of their skating are the ones who benefit the most from their efforts. 


I believe that focusing on the fundamentals becomes extra important during certain scenarios:


1. You've been off the ice

2. You're recovering from an injury or illness

3. You're adjusting to new skates

4. You're adjusting to a growth spurt or weight gain (or loss)


Many skaters have found a silver lining in dealing with any of the above situations by focusing on what they can work on and making huge improvements with lasting benefits.


Think about it, something so simple as really mastering control of your edges. Being able to hold any edge with complete control for as long as you'd like, being completely comfortable with any turn in any direction on either foot. This can benefit your jumps and spins exponentially. All of skating is made up of edges and turns and weight shifts, if you can dig in to the basics and know these moves inside and out, know how your feet feel in your skates, how your hips and shoulder feel, you will notice the benefits in everything you do. You'll find that you can even recover better and more quickly when things go wrong.


Some tips:


1. Use your skating binder! Follow the practice guidelines you and your coach set up

2. Watch the clock. Commit to spending 'X' amount of minutes on the skill(s) you least enjoy

3. Make an effort to at least run through the basics of all of your skills at every practice. Avoid going weeks without doing a move

4. Talk with your coach and consider adding other skating disciplines to your schedule such as figures or ice dancing

5. Remember that working on the fundamentals will only help you achieve all of your skating goals



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