PSA 2000 Edge Triples

Damon Allen and Ryan Bradley had the longest day, demonstrating for on-ice seminars from 10 AM until well after I decamped for the hotel pool. As the seminars increased in difficulty from pre-preliminary Moves in the Field up through quad jumps, it was only to be expected that their fatigue started to show by mid-afternoon. In the future, I hope the PSA includes a couple additional elite demonstrators to lighten the load.

I caught the end of a Moves in the Field session, with the advice to "put your best circle last." Damon Allen demonstrated a spiral sequence, forward inside to three-turn to back outside, most of the rink on one foot. Getting to see his edges up close was worth the trip in itself.

Then Peter Dunfield and Roger Glenn lectured on edge triples, with a number of younger female skaters in addition to Allen and Bradley. They started out from a standstill, one stroke into a double salchow. Then standstill, two strokes, 2salchow. Then standstill, three strokes, 2salchow. Then a series of three 3turns into 3salchow -- then the same thing, but with arms folded, which was difficult for all. The point of taking away the arms is to teach how to control edges and timing, rather than relying on the swing into the jump plus muscle power.

Dunfield then asked the girls to try 3salchow with right arm only up -- he had them hold a skate guard in their right hand to hold the position. He tweaked Bradley's jump, saying that Bradley wanted to jump in the shadows (near end of rink), but should move that beautiful 3salchow into the light (closer to the center). It did look much better there. For Allen, he said, "I get the feeling from this boy" that on the inside, he thinks "I don't give a damn" -- which would result in many missed jumps in competition. He praised Allen's beautiful form and edges, but advised that he should stand up with confidence rather than tension. Allen did so, and the jump was much surer. Musing on this, he said that judges must be trained to give credit for quality, not just for landing jumps (big applause here) -- world-class judges do, but younger ones don't.

On to loops. Dunfield said more than half of all skaters take off two-footed on a double loop (and being in the majority doesn't make it any less of a deduction). To fix this is difficult, especially for older skaters who've been doing the triples longer. One exercise he tried was to have skaters do forward three-turns, lift the free foot in front, then do 2loop. Next, he asked for inside three turns into 2loop-2loop. There are no secrets to learning triples, he said; it's just the basics, reinforced. Therefore, a triple cannot be properly on one foot unless the doubles are first.

Dunfield concluded quickly with axels, advising against the skater giving himself too much time to think -- "do it fast, on instinct," he said. To warm up for a triple, he had the skaters speed into their double axels, with quick takeoff to improve the explosion factor.

I liked very much that Dunfield closed the session by thanking the demonstrators respectfully, saying, "We learn through them."

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