December 13, 2010

How To: Treat your skater this Christmas

The festive season is upon us! Hurrah! I'm having the time of my year, despite the severe weather disrupting all my Xmas shopping arriving from all over the world (eBay addict, me? Noo....). Now the big day is almost upon us, have you sorted out a perfect gift for your skater?

Here's my short list of super duper gifts for the tired but dedicated sports-person in your life. Separated into 3 price brackets I aim to inspire you with some cute and some utterly fabulous gift ideas. So lets go!

December 11, 2010

How to: Remember the spirit of Christmas

So the holiday season is upon us. Where did that come from? In any case, I don't know about you guys, but it's my favorite time of the year. The snow, the lights, the music, the mulled wine, the warm buzz inside. If figure skating ever fit into any atmosphere, this is it. So why not make the most of it, and let a little holiday love into your daily skating routine? Here are some ideas to spice up your festive skating.

September 3, 2010

How to: Avoid Paying Big Bucks For Skating Images

This is a subject close to my heart. The last 3 events in which I participated have had professional (to what extent I'm really not sure - could I have done the same job with a tripod and a £2000 camera?) photographers taking staggering amounts of images of each skater. They usually have a stand set up at the event and take orders for prints from the family and friends. Expensive orders. I'm talking the equivalent of $18 for one image.

August 31, 2010

How To: Procure A Partner With Perfect Pictures!

If you or your kid are looking for a skating partner, I don't need to tell you how hard it is to get one. It's not enough that the person needs to live close enough and have compatible training times. Oh no, then come the physiological constraints. Height, weight, mass, ability, and yes, financial capacity (shock horror!).

August 28, 2010

How to: Know When To Stop

Stopping skating is a hard decision. Whether you are the skater, or the parent, the years of dedication (up at 5am when you really didn't want to anyone?), commitment (towards yourself, coach, and the whole entourage) and sacrifice (financial and emotional not to mention the fact you really could have used that money for a family holiday) are a lot to leave behind. It's a bitter pill to swallow. I've been through it. Sort of.

August 27, 2010

How to: Congratulate your skater!

This post has been inspired by Ice Mom who recently showed up in my Twitter feed exclaiming her daughter Ice Girl had passed her Intermediate moves test. Congrats! This got me thinking. I remember that lightheaded buzz a skater gets from passing a test. All that preparation, all that concentration, and then the validation we seek in order to keep moving forward, always higher, stronger, harder, in that search for perfection.

August 25, 2010


This isn't so much a how to, or an informative post, as much as a rambling of thoughts on the subject! Bear with me!

With Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao's on-ice wedding ceremony this month (even though they have been officially married for some years), it got me thinking about tying the knot on the ice. I've recently gotten engaged myself and am revelling in the bridal magazines and hundreds if not thousands of beautiful candy-toned blogs dedicated to the big day. So how could I avoid writing a skating-wedding post?! I could not! *Runs valiantly to keyboard*!

How to: Not Die Of Boredom At The Ice Rink!

Seasoned skating parents have got it down to a fine art, and how best to spend time during your child's practice session is going to be different for each individual. What's common to all of us though is the fairly obvious; cold and humid conditions for hours on end, and a million and one things that need doing at home and/or at work! Heck, I often feel like this and I'm not even a parent. So how can new comers to our sport find a way to make this 'dead time' work for them?

July 31, 2010

Going to see the big guns!

Now I'm back in the seat (or should that be office chair) after a small spell of ill health, I bring to you my first post in a little while - attending high profile skating events! I've been to see a few European championships in my time but never a world event, and certainly not the Olympics. Far too expensive.

July 10, 2010

How to: Get Into Figure Skating As An Adult

You might feel that as you are no longer a 7 year old, figure skating is not an adventure you're allowed to embark upon. You couldn't be more wrong ! Adult skating has grown so much since it's beginnings, and now the Adult World Championships exist, among many other amazing international events. Whether that's where you want to be, or you're happy to dance a foxtrot or two on a sunday morning, skating is something open to everyone.

July 6, 2010

Breaking In Figure Skating Boots: Blisters, Ovens & More!

Breaking in skates is one of the most painful, and annoying, things a skater has to go through. Although many skaters go through a pair of skates a year (or season...) I know a lot who keep theirs a great deal longer.

I got scared out of doing this some years ago when I broke my ankle on a triple flip take off due to boots that had broken down without me realising it. The importance of foot and ankle support is so paramount I don't even know how to express it with words (so unusual for a blabbermouth like me!)!

July 4, 2010

Figure Skating & Ballet Class

I recently read a post on a forum by a beginner skater, asking if it was a given that to start skating it was necessary to start ballet.

There is no easy answer for this. Obviously a person who takes ballet class is going to have some preconceptions about how to hold and carry oneself, but this doesn't by any means make it a prerequisite for figure skating.

July 2, 2010

How To Stay Warm In The Ice Rink

We've all been there. Sat in the stands or upright rink-side, the cold rising through our shoes and slowly turning our muscles to stone (or at least that's what it feels like). As a skater (a childless one at that) I'm not in the best position to talk about my skater-parent experiences, but I have spent a lot of years hanging around giant freezers and I'm currently undergoing long hours of mentoring for my coaching diploma. I thus feel qualified enough to share a few of my heat-retention tips with you guys!

July 1, 2010

Figure Skating Costume Ideas List

Ok, this is going to be a short post. It's more like a list of things to consider during costume conception. It's intended as an aid to designing your costume (whether you'll be making it or not), in the form of a list of styles per element of the costume (piccies included!). 

Drawing for Figure Skating Costumes

As discussed in my previous post on colour for costumes, I love drawing my outfit ideas. The lovely IceMom is also a professed sketcher and carries a notebook with her at all times, as she mentions in her great sewing post that you can read here.

Do you have a love for art, and wish you had more time or simply more ideas to doodle skating outfits? Or are you a klutz with a pencil but need decent sketches to convey your costume ideas? Here we're going to have a look at a few ways to get you off to a flying start. Once you're imagination is flowing you'll be unstoppable!!

June 30, 2010

Colour Inspiration for Figure Skating Costumes

I've been thinking alot lately about costumes as I find them a constant source of amusement and creativity in skating. I make my own outfits and love all the thought processes that go into that final garment. The most interesting step, for me, is the design stage, and this happens on paper with pencils (and when I'm feeling really crazy, watercolour pencils which turn into a wash of colour upon a stroke of wet brush tip).

How to: Participate in a gala event

Galas are often held at the end of a season and open to family, friends, and the local population. It's a sort of showcase of the local talent and gives skaters a great opportunity to perform for fun and let family members see them in action in a less stressful setting than a comp.

Tips for cheaper figure skating travel

Travelling for skating is expensive. You most likely already travel to go to practice sessions, unless you have the luxury of living within walking distance of an ice rink (I've had this experience once a few years ago and it was sheer bliss when it came to early morning patches!). At some point (if you're not already) you're going to be travelling for test sessions. Travelling for competitions. Money, money, money!! My wallet bleeds by the end of a season.

June 28, 2010

Getting Over Dissapointment

Sometimes competitions don't go the way you wish they did. Sometimes, and this is far worse than having a bad skate, the comp goes well, and you still get bombed by the judges.

Politics and favouritism in skating isn't news, and I don't have to tell any of you hardened skaters/parents what it feels like to have truly done your best and get put at the bottom of the barrel. Why does this happen? I've been skating 14 years and I still don't know. It still crushes me when it does (and it happened recently, which is probably where I got the idea for this post).

June 27, 2010

How to: Hair Dress for Figure Skating Competitions

Ok I'm gonna start by saying this post is not going to be of interest for guys. I'm sure you all know how to gel your hair, or whatever it is you do on a daily basis. This here post is for the ladies, and skating mums needing inspiration and guidance. 

So, let's get crackin'!

June 25, 2010

How to: Make-up for a Figure Skating Competition

As you can imagine make up for skating competitions needs to be age appropriate. A bright red lip may look seductive and provocative on a 17 year old, but just plain wrong on an 8 year old. Just use your common sense and go with something both parent and skater are happy with. If you're reading this for yourself, then what you wear for competition will probably depend on how at ease you are with make-up, and what your daily habits are. What's so fun about competitive make-up is that you can go with something you would never otherwise wear, so I always try to have fun with it!

How to: Get Through Your First Figure Skating Competition

You have your confirmation letter, the timetable, your bags are packed and the hotel is booked. Your speeding to your competitive destination, and your adrenaline is pumping! Oh, the thrill of competitive figure skating. Whether this experience is for yourself or your child, certain rules and etiquette apply, and here we are going to look at some do's and don't's to get you through your big day.

How to Choreograph a Figure Skating Program

Every skater has to face the ordeal of making up new programmes - whether it be your very first, or your short programme for your 15th season. There are the hours spent listening to music (95% of which you find boring and tedious), but whats next? Making up the programme is undoubtedly the most important part of the process and can take anywhere between 1 hour and several months! With the IJS judging system coaches and choreographers' job just got alot harder. 

June 24, 2010

How to: Motivate Your Child To Practice "Moves in the Field"

Moves in the field, or field moves, are a hugely important part of skating and can make all the difference to a skater. Learning to enjoy and take something away from your moves practice, and being able to apply the principles of good strong clean edges is something all skaters should be at ease with, and is important no matter what discipline you participate in.

How to: Sign Up For Competition

So you're going in for your first comp? Awesome! Well done. This is always a really exciting time for a skater and there are lots of great times to be had. You've got the joys of choosing music, choreographing the programme, choosing a costume (or making your own, see my post on making your own competition outfit), but maybe the biggest choice of all is which competition to participate in.

June 23, 2010

How to: Sew Your Own Soakers!

{EDIT: New content added to this post, including how to embellish soakers, and ideas on how to use them!}

Soakers are an essential part of any skaters' sports bag, and a really easy little item to whip up with a little stray fabric and 30 mins spare time. Make them as slim or as full as you want, using whatever type of fabric you'd like. Use up odd ends or buy a far-out fabric to make soakers that'll seriously brighten up your bag!

To the sewing machine it is then! *superman arms towards machine*

June 22, 2010

Competition Checklist: 10 Things You Shouldn't Compete Without

Here I have compiled a "checklist" of competitive must-haves to help you on your way to your first (or 100th!) skating competition! These are don't-leave-at-home items which will make all the difference to your big day. Pack your things at latest the evening before C-Day as stress can make you jittery and forgetful - failing to prepare is preparing to fail, after all!

How to: Make Your Own Figure Skating Outfit

I salute you! Making your own skating outfit is a hard task, yes. Especially if you have never done it before. However, it is terribly rewarding when the final garment comes together, and I just cannot describe the sheer pride you will feel when someone compliments your outfit at your competition and woos "ohh, who made that for you?". So let's go my pretties, to the sewing machine!

How to: Get a Competition Outfit

So your coach thinks you're (or your child is) ready to compete! Congratulations, and welcome to the world of competitive figure skating.

Many thoughts are probably currently buzzing around inside your head, such as what about a programme, how do I sign up for a competition, how do I choose music (see post below), and of course, what will I wear!? That's where this post comes in handy!

June 7, 2010

How to: Dress for Practice Sessions

Dressing for practice sessions is mostly a question of practicality, although some skaters also take this opportunity to show off their personal sense of style. I have personally always gone with the comfort aspect of dressing for practice, with an emphasis on safety for muscles in the cold environment.

How to: Start Figure Skating

This may sound like a pretty obvious title but some of you may be wondering how to get into the sport of ice skating. Maybe you want your child to partake in a sport, or maybe you yourself fancy hitting that ice for a quick whiz about. Skating is fun, invigorating, and a long-term source of challenge and fun! For many people its their 'me time' and helps them to escape the daily routine of work, family and other commitments.

June 6, 2010

How to: Choose Figure Skating Music

Choosing music is an important (maybe even the most important) part of a skaters' season. Whether the skater is an international athlete or a beginner choosing his or her first piece the choice is critical as not only does the music need to fit the skaters' abilities, but also their personality.

The main ground-rule when choosing music is to pick pieces that are skater-appropriate. That is, the score from the musical "Chicago" which tells the tale of a murderess by means of sultry jazz, would not be all too fitting for a 6 year old skater!

How to: Dress for Figure Skating Tests

Sitting a test, no matter what discipline, often requires a different look than the one you might adopt for competitive participation. Here we will take a look at the main differences between these two situations and talk about what's suitable, and what's not!

Competition usually implies a myriad of clothing rules and we are, for the most part anyway, all pretty excited when it comes to thinking about what coloured rhinestones we could use, and how we could style our hair for the all-important event. To mention but a few important factors in competitive dress; the outfit itself, the tights (glittered, non-glittered, over-the-boot, footed, stirupped, glossy, matte... need I go on?), hairstyles, hair accessories, eye shadow, lipsticks.. the list goes on. But which of these elements cross over into the testing situation, and which most definitely do not?

A guide to everything in the universe of Figure Skating

This blog is an attempt to group together a useful and broad set of articles related to the sport of figure skating, in a "how-to" format.

We are all bombarded with blogs, sites, information, articles and peoples' opinions of varying expertise, but as of yet there is no one-stop-shop for concise no-frills information regarding fundamental matters we all come across at some point while participating in our glittering sport.

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