Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Competition #2 or The Evil Salchow

A Salchow is one of first "full" revolution jumps taught to beginners. I have quote marks around "full" because the jump is really only a 1/2 to 3/4 turn at most. It is a weird combination of a three turn and waltz jump. You do the forward three as an entrance and then from the back inside edge you start swinging around and when you are sideways you jump and land on the other foot going backwards. This is supposed to be easy. Turns out it is very difficult to do properly. I can do an amazingly crappy Salchow at speed. If I am trying to do them properly I have to go slow. Unfortunately I need this dam jump for my next competition on April 10th and due to the twisted ankle I wasn't able to jump them until a couple of weeks ago. I did practice the entrance over and over again which was a good thing since I keep tipping forward after the three turn. To make matter worse I was on vacation last week and lost eight hours of ice time and a lesson while away. (I had a great time BTW. I highly recommend going to Santa Fe, particularly if you like rocks or stars not so much if you like ice skating.)

Anyway, for the competition I need the following five elements: lunge, forward crossovers, Salchow, Waltz jump, and a single foot spin. Four of the five elements I have a strong consistent grip on. The Salchow is still dicey. I fell on it last night during my lesson. The coach just looked at me and said "you shouldn't have fallen on that. You did everything right. You had a good entrance but you fell anyway." In some strange way it was comforting to hear that I shouldn't have fallen. It was great to hear that I finally did the entrance correctly. I don't know if it was just nerves since this jump still scares me sometimes; the little guy in my head telling me that I'm going to die that freaked me out; or if the little toe on my landing foot was numb (never ending nerve problems from the blasted car accident years ago). Who knows. Sometimes I just fall. I swear the little guy in my head causes brain seizures. I get so wound up about jumping and he gets so loud I just freak out and botch the jump either not taking off at all, doing it poorly or just plain falling down. Why is this so difficult?? Why is this so scary?? I should be able to do this. I have landed a bunch of them and some of them are even good. I have even landed them at speed. Why do I still get on my freak bus?

I think I need to get some dialog going. I don't have my words yet to distract my brain from the little guy constantly screaming about dying. Today in practice I started counting out loud. That seemed to help tremendously. I am doing a Mohawk turn and three turn prior to the jump so the cadence should be the same. I think I need to start doing six counts for each element so I can't hear the little guy. It will probably go something like this:

Mohawk: 123 bend the knees, turn, 456 hold, step
3 turn: 123 bend the knees, squeeze shoulders together turn, 456 bend and hold, step
Salchow: 123 stand up straight, squeeze shoulder together turn, 456 stand up straight, swing bend jump, hold landing, step forward

Between counting out loud and going over instructions in my head the little guy can't get a word in edgewise. I have used this technique for a while now and it seems to work well. I even found it in the sport training book I've been reading so I'm not the only one that finds it a useful technique. I'll have to try my new words out during my next practice. I have one week to get more comfortable with this. Unfortunately, since I am 47 I can only jump so many times during practice before my legs are wasted. This too will improve with time but for this competition it is a luxury that I don't have.

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