Off Ice Programs
In “Fancy Footwork: Two Figure Skating Experts on Injury Prevention,” sports medicine physician Dr. Ellen Geminiani, in response to being asked what needs to change to reduce the number of figure skating injuries, states: “We need to get over the idea that figure skaters have to spend countless hours on the ice at the expense of everything else. Training off the ice helps athletes develop strength and mobility that’s critical to preventing injury. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a culture shift within sports as a whole for many coaches and athletes to embrace this more balanced approach.”
Proper off-ice training is vital to the development of on-ice skills as well as in preserving the longevity of the athlete. Figure skating requires flexibility, muscle strength, balance and coordination, and mobility and range of motion of joints. While these attributes may develop over time with consistency and dedicated training on the ice, incorporating a structured off ice training program into your skating journey will definitively develop each of these elements safely and exponentially.
Combining my knowledge of dance, pilates, yoga, plyometric exercise, strength training, and dynamic movement, my off ice classes will not only advance your on ice abilities, they will increase your overall wellness, health, and proprioceptive awareness.
Off-ice training at SNHSC
I am thrilled to begin offering my Ballet for Skaters curriculum at Southern NH Skating club starting April 10th, 2023! Join me every Monday night after our freestyle session at the Ice Den from 6:50-7:20pm. Classes will focus on mobility, flexibility, posture, movement quality, and performance skills!
If you're interested in registering, please read below for more detailed information about requirements, what to expect, and payment details!
What to bring:
Sneakers, socks, and water! There will also be flexibility floor exercises incorporated into our weekly class curriculum, so you are welcome to bring a yoga mat or towel for added comfort!
How to pay:
Students must first register on the SNHSC website through Entryeeze. The registration cost is $15.
Tuition payment is $100 for the 10 week course and can be paid through Venmo to @Megan-nordle (click the link to make tuition payment!)
A la carte classes are $12 each and can be paid in cash at the start of class, however, it is recommended that students complete the 10 week course to gain the most benefit!
Keep in mind:
- Class starts PROMPTLY at 6:50pm, so please be ready and in class as soon as possible!
- The course content, registration fee, and tuition cost are all introductory and are subject to change each season! Stay tuned for new and exciting courses offered this summer!
-Ballet For Skaters-
Ballet for Skaters introduces students to the fundamentals of classical ballet technique and encourages students to integrate this technique into their development on the ice. In each class, students participate in stretching, conditioning, movement exercises, and dance phrases designed to increase proprioceptive awareness and improve overall execution of on ice skills. Students will discover new possibilities for movement quality, as well as understand how to apply ballet techniques directly to their figure skating training.
METHODOLOGY: This is a participation class. The instructor uses verbal instructions and physical demonstrations to teach ballet, and students are expected to participate fully in each class. Practice and repetition are the primary modes of learning, followed by corrections, clarification and detailed analysis. Participants will learn how to watch, repeat, analyze, and correct. These are important skills for young skaters to develop for future group and private training on the ice, and valuable skills for coaches to continue developing to train their own students.
TERMINOLOGY: Throughout the semester, students will be expected to learn and actively use traditional ballet terms to deepen their knowledge of ballet technique, and expand their ability to communicate through movement. (see TERMINOLOGY example page)
TECHNIQUE: The course begins with an introduction to the fundamentals of ballet: body positions, directions, port de bras, flexibility exercises, and simple, repetitive movement phrases. As the course progresses the pace quickens, and fundamental elements previously learned will be used to execute longer, more detailed and complex phrases.
These exercises will all pertain directly to figure skating skills. For example: a pique turn, when properly executed off ice, directly effects the quality of a FO Twizzle on ice; a grand jete directly effects the quality of split jumps; an arabesque/penche directly effects a spiral/sprial variations. (see BALLET EXERCISES goals 3 and 4).
ALIGNMENT: Students will learn and execute 9 basic positions of ballet as they pertain to the front, side, and back of the body. The positions are used to train proper alignment both for ballet technique, as well as edge and turn positioning for figure skating. (see BODY POSITIONS example page)
PERFORMANCE QUALITY: Students will actively train and advance their ability to use their head, arms, and facial expressions while moving. All of these aspects are vitally important in the IJS judging system for competitive figure skaters, as well as large components for those who participate in the USFS test track.
FLEXIBILITY: Participants will learn dynamic and isometric stretch exercises in class to improve their flexibility, as well as gain knowledge of ways to effectively stretch at home or before their skating sessions to improve overall athleticism and avoid injury.
· Arrive on time and stay for the entire class. Consistency is key!
· Participate in class activities, assignments and discussions.
· Wear proper attire- socks and sneakers are required.
· Proper dance studio etiquette- students are expected to participate in class to the fullest extent of their ability. Due to the nature of the exercises, ‘fooling around’ will not be tolerated and students will be asked to leave if their behavior puts their/other’s safety at risk.
· Students must inform the instructor of any injuries or limitations so appropriate adjustments can be made.
Ballet For Skaters
Speaking from personal experience, and the proven success of my students, ballet is an essential tool for every skater that will refine performance skills, grace, and upper body control. There are myriad similarities between the two forms of movement, and the most skilled skaters reflect their dance training in their performances on ice.
However, often times, the two techniques can contradict each other if an instructor isn't well versed in both genres. My Ballet For Skaters class takes the most effective parts of ballet technique that I have studied for 25 years, and applies it directly to your skating specific training.
Jump Training for Skaters
Properly developing your advanced skating skills requires repetitive and consistent training, and a lot of coordination. Training jumps and spins off ice will allow you the opportunity to condition proper alignment, timing, and control. By incorporating off ice work into your training plan, you can effectively double your progress by adding additional time and focus to your difficult elements without having to be on the ice.
Flexibility and Stability
The ability to take your joints through full range of motion and being able to control that range of motion will allow a skater perform movements on the ice efficiently and reduce injury potential.
My approach and belief is that overall flexibility is best achieved through dynamic, not static, stretching. My classes will help develop greater flexibility through movement, rather than sitting for long periods in difficult positions.