From the Desk…

Hi skaters!  I would like to personally introduce myself. My name is LambieAnn Wooly. I like to be called simply LambieAnn. As you can see from my picture, I am a figure skater. I am also the main character in the book, The Champion Behind The Champion,  LambieAnn’s Story. It’s a true story! Believe it or not, it is about my skating career from when I was a wee lambie. My story has cute pictures of my friends and I, but it is not a fairy tale. You may think  I am just a lamb, but in lamb world, we lambs skate, grow up and have to learn life lessons too. I learned an awful lot from my skating career. So, aside from the fact I am a lamb, I have a lot of skating information to share with you besides the story of my skating life in my book. .

My creator, author, and illustrator, BarbarAnn Fitzgerald is an accomplished  and seasoned Master Rated figure skating coach, an artist and an author. BarbarAnn claims that I, LambieAnn, came to life one day during a period in her life when she became very ill and was instructed by her doctors to rest, heal up and get well….no skating, no coaching.  So, BarbarAnn did exactly what the doctor’s ordered. However, during her rest, she discovered a hidden talent. She started entertaining herself drawing cute little lambs doing all sorts of skating moves like “Fall Down Go Boom Lambie.” Personally, I liked the “Michelle Kwan Lambie,” because her spiral was so beautiful and high! I will have to work on mine more!

When BarbarAnn discovered her lambs were a hit, she decided to write my story. It started off quite simple. After more thought, however, the events in my skating life seemed to tumble effortlessly out onto page after page. We collaborated, BarbarAnn and I, as I had so much to share about my life as a skater…and BarbarAnn had much to share as an experienced coach.

To continue my introduction, one day several of BarbarAnn’s teenage skating students came over to visit her during her convalescing . She handed them the very first manuscript of my story to read… just for fun. (I encouraged her to share)  As the skaters thumbed through the pictures and the manuscript, they exclaimed, “Oh my gosh (OMG, as in text language), this is my life!” BarbarAnn and I thought,  “Hmmmmm… we may have something here.”

As time passed, my book still didn’t have a name yet. BarbarAnn continued to draw pictures for my story.  One day an extraordinary event occurred. As BarbarAnn and I sat together at her desk in front of her computer, there before our eyes we saw “ME”  actually landing an animated Double Axel on her computer! We both screamed!!! BarbarAnn said to me, it was as exciting as when she landed her first double axel! Wow!!

Our collaboration was off and running, but I still didn’t have a name yet. There were many suggestions, but I remained nameless. Nothing fit. I left Ohio nameless with BarbarAnn to travel out west where we skied the Utah mountains. Up the lifts we went collaborating to the top and down the mountain we’d fly not knowing the end of my story, my name or the title of my book. We returned home to Ohio in the spring empty handed.

One bright sunny summer day soon after our return, a miracle occurred… my name, the story’s ending and the book’s title suddenly became known to both of us. Whoopee!!! Kids, it takes a lot of time to write and illustrate a book!

So, here I am LambieAnn. I have now been asked to share with you all sorts of information about this that and the other thing about skating on a regular basis. I am really excited to write about all the stuff that I know. I hope that it will help make your skating adventure more memorable. I also promise I will allow my creator, BarbarAnn,  to speak up at times if she feels she needs to put in her 10cents worth. I know she also knows a thing or two about lots of stuff and can be a great help. So until the next time… Keep your head up, chest lifted, stretch and extend….skate happy & smile!

Love,

Goals, What Are They?

Definition of Goal: a desired result that a person envisions, plans and commits to achieve an end point

My definition: Bunny sees & wants carrot, adds in hard work to get carrot …gets carrot. Carrot=Goal

Even though I am a lamb, I have great friends who are real bunnies. One day long ago, one of my bunny rabbit friends asked me if I ever heard the expression, ” holding the carrot in front of the rabbit?” Yes,” I replied. ” I did when I was little, but I didn’t really understand what it was all about.” Now that I am older, I know and understand. It is simply an expression about goal setting. So, I thought it would be fun to share the bunny rabbit and the carrot with you:

A bunny sees a carrot dangling in front of her. The carrot is what the bunny rabbit really wants because it looks so yummy, but she can’t seem to reach it. So, in order to get that carrot, the bunny has to do something called work. The bunny may have to make 2 hops to get at it, or the bunny may have to hop 10 miles day after day to get it. It doesn’t matter how, when or where the bunny gets the yummy carrot, the goal is to get the carrot. The carrot is what the bunny is aiming for. The carrot is the goal.

What does this bunny stuff have to do with skating you ask? Well, beside learning how to practice skating skills correctly, I also had to learn how to set goals. Some goals I set by myself and some I did with my coach. When I was little, I think, I was sort of like the bunny rabbit . My eye was on the carrot which was at that time doing a back spiral with my leg straight! If I worked really hard to get my leg straight, I would have learned a back spiral and earned a candy bar as well from my mom, who saw how hard I worked for that spiral.

What more could a little lamb want? A candy bar and a spiral! That was the beginning of my goal setting.  As I grew older, the carrot changed. It turned into an axel, then a double salchow, competitions, tests and a 4 min program. I wanted to accomplish each and every jump, all the spins and even to skate a perfect program. I admit I set the bar high, but that’s ok because my skating goals helped me become a better student and athlete in so many ways. I grew up always working towards something I knew I could do and wanted, just like the bunny. Some goals were closer and easier to get to, while others took a long, long time to conquer. Each carrot I captured was a sweet reward because I worked hard to get it. Although, I have to admit, I, LambieAnn, am not really a fan of carrots but, I thought you’d enjoy my bunny story to get my point across.

May you enjoy all your collected carrots…I mean goals.

Love,

LambieAnn’s Sk8 Equipment Tips (Part 1)

To be a skater, the most important piece of equipment you will need, will be your skates. (Skating attire is important too, but we will discuss that later.)

Your skates must fit you correctly.

Rental Skates

If you are in a Learn To Skate class and don’t own your own skates, here is what you should know:

  • Make sure your boot fits your hoof size. Generally speaking your skate size will be a smaller size than the size of your street shoes. Try on a couple of different sizes of the rental skates to determine your correct size. Correct size means fitting your hoof from back to front…no wiggle room! Big is not better.
  • NO HEAVY SOCKS in your skates to take up the extra room either. Thick socks do not help keep your foot warm. If your skate is too big, your hoof will slosh around inside the boot. With all that padding, you will have very little control of your hoof inside your boot. You need to be able to use your hooves like you use a pencil or a crayon to draw. You will have a hard time learning to skating if you boots are too big.
  • Make sure your boot is laced up snug…not too tight to strangle your hoof, but tight enough for good support. This is VERY important.
  • No hanging laces either. They can be a “fall down go boom” waiting to happen. Trust me, I know this from experience! Wind the laces around the boot and tie them up, if they are too long. (I don’t understand why the skates for beginners have laces that are two times the size needed)…This is a complaint I have now that I am older and busy helping out in the Learn to Skate classes. I see it all the time…  To be continued.

Sk8 Great !

Love,

LambieAnn’s Sk8 Equipment Tips (Part 2)

Purchasing New Skates

When you and your parents decide that you really want to learn to skate better, this may be the perfect time to leave the rental skates behind and invest in your own skates. There are several different ways to go about this.

  • I advise first going to a skate specialty shop that fits and sells good quality skates….not the big box stores.
  • At the skate shop, they will be able to measure your hooves and suggest proper beginner skate equipment. When I was little and really wanted to learn to skate, I was lucky because my mom took me to the local skate shop and purchased skates that fit my hooves correctly. They were perfect, not too big and not too small…Just right.
  • Another method of purchase…If you know your size and what kind of boot you need, look for used skates for sale at the rink. When I out grew my skates, my mom sold them to another little lamb for 1/2 price! Little lambs don’t break in their skates. My old skates still looked brand new. I just out grew them!
  • Having “good” skates that fit is really necessary to help learn figure skating or hockey skills. Since I help out with the Learn to Skate program at my rink, I see all types of skates. The successful students are generally those who have good equipment.
  • It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money on skates starting out, but it does help your learning progress to have skates that fit with good support.
  • Oh, lastly, my best LambieAnn tip yet…In your skates, rental, new or not so new, do not walk on anything in the rink that isn’t rubber coated without your guards. Actually you should always wear your guards when you are not on the ice to protect your blades. Under your skate boot is a blade which you use to glide on the ice. It needs to be sharp and not dull. Walking on cement or other surfaces in your skates will be hazardous to your equipment and to your ability to learn to skate! Your blades will be instantly be dulled and ruined.

Happy Sk8ing!

Love,

LambieAnn’s Thoughts on Off-ice Training…

When your skating instructor/coach suggests you should train off-ice, it’s not just a good idea, but a really important part of your skating instruction! Do you know why? If not, I’m going to share with you a little of what I know because I have lots of experience.

Skating alone does not train your body to do all the skills necessary to be a figure skater no matter what level you are skating at. The students who have had some ballet training before venturing onto the ice, usually pick up the basic skills quickly because they have already had some training in body alignment. What’s body alignment?

 

Body Alignment is learning about balance & symmetry. So, what’s symmetry? Ok, it’s simply understanding when you are standing straight, facing forward , you can line up your nose over your belly button then down the middle of your body through both of your feet. You are divided in half…or nearly so because we humans are not perfect.

ie} Figure 1. ( Mary Marie, in figure 1, is the sister of my main character, Wollard B. Warm,  AKA “Woolie”, in my next book. She is demonstrating what alignment is. Mary Marie, AKA “Mitten Mouth” is presently puzzled about what that curly thing is on the ice and how did a figure skater do it? But that is for another article. She is pretty well lined up, as you can see.

Now…from sideways, your alignment is… straight with your ears over your shoulders, in line with your hips & ankles. No leaning forwards with your head down. *Fun fact…did you know your head is the heaviest part of your body? So, keep your head up for balance when learning to skate!

ie} Figure 2. Little “Woolie” is showing his alignment.

Once you understand and are able to control your alignment, your balance and skating skills can develop.  Of course this is a very simple explanation, but it’s a start to understand your body’s symmetry.  Learning to figure skate is not just standing up straight nor is it particularly easy, but for those who enjoy a challenge, it can become lots of fun to learn.

Love,

The Rabbit Hole

What is the “Rabbit Hole“?

Explanation: The brain, as we know it, is our body’s control system. The Rabbit Hole is simply a dark negative thought spot in the brain that says,” I can’t do this, its scary, I can’t make this come out right, nothing I try seems to work, this is stupid, why even try. etc…..

Identifying the Rabbit Hole : A skater’s Rabbit Hole is known to make itself known when an attempted skill is not accomplished after several tries. The “Hole” often shows itself when a skater is learning something new or a skill that they thought they owned, could do,  but are not having success with their attempt.

The Rabbit Hole’s  persona may be easily identified on a skater by the sad droopy face, whining, downcast eyes, or even sometimes tears. It can also be identified with unacceptable bad behavior like, a foot stomp or kicking the ice. It can also be heard at times with a loud and clear scream of ” I can’t do this, why isn’t this working? Suzzie Q does it, why can’t I? Therefore, because the Rabbit Hole is activated, each attempt at the skill gets worse and further from the desired result. Falling into the Rabbit Hole is definitely not the way to achieve success. There is no room for Rabbit Hole thinking in an athlete’s life. It is a waste of precious training time and effort.

Advice: Danger! Rabbit Hole ahead…. Warning, Warning, Stay Out!

How to stay out of the “Rabbit Hole.”

  1.  Practice the I can do attitude…consider it a challenge
  2.  Stop and review the technical instructions before trying again
  3.  Take a fresh start and keep trying positively and constructively.
  4.  Talk kindly to yourself. Validate your efforts positively even if the attempt is not to your expectation.
  5.  Acknowledge small victories…like, say to yourself, ” that was a little better than last time” and keep moving forward inch by inch if need be.
  6.  When a skill in not budging, move on to another one. You can always come back.
  7.  Remember, the skills you do accomplish come with work, repetition, training and time. The more you do them, the better the possibility of ownership.
  8. Lastly…Enjoy the challenge. Enjoy the process of learning to skate!! Enjoy the success of your hard work because…

There is a carrot for you at the end. 

Happy Sk8ing!

Love,