Monday, September 13, 2010


Ice Mom had a question about tights too...and since I have only a minute I thought I'd do a quick share.

There are several options out there:
  • Over the Boot tights. Great for skaters with short legs (like me). Also great for skaters with things they need to cover on their boots. Not so great for skaters with big feet in proportion to their body or really long legs. Also great for synchro skaters because it makes all their skates the same.
  • Footed tights (or in the boot tights). Great for skaters with long legs (or just those really skinny lanky legs - every kid tall or short goes through this stage). Also good if you need an under pair of tights - they work will for those who prefer thicker tights in their skates. Not so good with those of us with short legs. The distance between the skating skirt and the skates makes your legs look stubby and unflexible. Trust me. Not so good if you freak out that your skates are going to come undone.
  • Stirrup tights. They're a little 90s, but I preferred them, especially for practice, over OTB - they made me feel better that my laces are secure. 
  • Over the Ankle tights. Personally I think these are good for no one, but if you insist on keeping your laces safe and want your boot showing, this is where it's at.
The other "cool" style for synchro skaters right now, I've been informed, is:

  • Over the Heel tights. For synchro I kind of like this look, as long as the white skate is sticking out. I think it looks neat. 
  • And black tights are making a comeback. They hide knobby knees (like mine) for sure, but I'm not sure how I feel about the 90s making a comeback. It brings back too many bad memories.
Now the real questions...

And...I bet you know my answers if you've been reading my appearance posts.

Does it matter?

Nope, not really.

Do I notice?


Do I think someone shouldn't be wearing a certain kind of tights?


Do I notice a hole in your tights?

Most often not.

Does it bother me when you wear over the boot tights and it slips up and I can see your white boot?

Are you going to lose marks because I hate your tights?
Nope. It won't change your position - unless it's distracting. In which case, I might miss something or pay more attention to your feet. So just remember - if you're attracting attention to your feet or legs - you better have straight knees and beautiful crosscuts.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More Questions from Ice Mom - Skates

Continuing on with some questions from Ice Mom from

(I promise...Transitions soon. I know you can hardly wait!!! I completed a seminar for a group of about 12 kids today on Transitions and I think they thought I was a little crazy I got so passionate about transitions. they're my new love!!!!)

DIRTY SKATES/FUNKY SKATES:  I was at a test session last week and a judge wrote at the bottom of a skater's feedback form dirty skates. How big of a deal is it? Ice Girl has solid red glitter on the heels and soles of her boots. It's soooooo cooooool. But, she wears over-the-boot tights during competitions and testing to hide the glitter from the judges. Some kids have stickers, photos, or their names in the varnish on the bottom of boots. Is this a big deal?

Well, truth be told - this goes pretty in line with the hair question too. It's not going to put you in last place just because Ice Girl has shiny, glittery red soles...but I think that continuing to wear over the boot tights during competitions and testing IS a good idea? Why? It's distracting!!!

Do you really want to draw attention to your feet? That answer is a big fat no. If you're drawing attention to your feet, you'd best have the most beautiful footwork and crossovers, ala Patrick Chan, I have ever seen. If you're going to make me look at your feet with red glitter, you better give me good reason to be distracted by your feet!!!

I think it's the same with any of those examples up there - stickers, photos, etc.- the judges don't really need to see those because they're distracting and unnecessary. I don't see top level skaters with those things on their boots, so really there's no reason for you to have them either.

But again, that being said, I understand that it's cool and hip...but remember - I'm young and I hope I'm hip. Mr. Man Judge next to me that has judged for 400 years isn't going to like your stickers on your skates and sometimes he doesn't follow the rules - sometimes he'll knock you down a couple placements (especially in 6.0 judging where it's easier to do that) - because he's grumpy and doesn't like it. I'm not saying it's right and I'm not saying that's what I would do...but someone, somewhere has to admit these things.

Another thing I remember doing as a younger competitor was being forced to paint my skates. Truth be told, I won't notice as a judge. But as a skater it gave me something to do the night before a competition and made me feel as though the competition was important and big. Painting my skates was indicative of my "professionalism" in a competitive world.  Anyways - painting your skates is much more time consuming than over the boot tights, but if you want to keep them shiny and white, by all means. I probably won't notice. As for the skater at a test session with the dirty skates according the judge, they must have been pretty tarnished up and dirty for a judge to notice. Again, don't distract and draw attention to your feet (where mistakes are made!).

So, if you're a parent wondering out there - let's make it easy. If your skater insists on decorating their skates, then just wear over the boot tights. However, I can tell you that when my daughter is old enough to have skates she won't be decorating them, cool or not - that definitely decreases the value of them second hand and I'm kinda cheap that way ;)

Look next for a post on tights or transitions. It's a good surprise to come back for.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hair - A Question from Ice Mom

I'm interjecting my regularly scheduled program (of Transitions) for a couple questions from the famous IceMom. This is mostly because I liked her questions, and my transitions binder is in my car - since I live in an apartment, I don't want to walk downstairs to get it :D IceMom asks some great questions and I wanted to answer them. I've divided them into a couple posts - the first starting with "hair."

I need to put in a warning though. I am young. I've been a skater my whole life. I "get" it...or at least I hope I'm still young enough to get it. I know how kids are and I know that some things are cooler than others. That being said - I am not an OLD judge. I am not a 100 years old and I don't have my ways set in stone. I can assure you that if your judge IS 100 years old, has been judging since...well, the ice age...then he will have different opinions then me. Often just the opposite. Keep that in mind.
HAIRDo pink streaks turn judges off? How about a 9-year-old's hair-cutting mistake?  What about ponytails versus buns?

I know that real life happens. I know the teenagers will rebel and die their hair pink. I know that 9-year-olds give themselves haircuts. Mistakes happen. And this is especially something that is personal opinion...I don't really care. Note that I am a person, not some sort of robot - and if you're hair has a pink streak in it, I might think "cool" and/or I might think "that looks terrible." Am I going to take off marks and place you last? Not likely.

But, as I guess the name might suggest (:D), I will judge you. It's human nature and I can't help it. I'm just old enough to think dying your hair strange colors is a sign of rebellion. It's off the beaten path. I KNOW it's not always, but when I see it - I'm going to think, "Man, that kid has an attitude, I bet." I also might think, if you skate badly, "That kid isn't disciplined, as her hair might suggest." If you skate well though, I'll think "That funny colored hair gives her that attitude boost she needs in skating." If your dress and your hair clash, I won't take off marks, but I will most definitely laugh in my head. I'm human.

As for a 9-year-old's hair cutting mistake, I'm sure the mom will do whatever she can to hide the bald spot, etc. And that's life. Again, I might laugh - and I'll probably think, "poor mom", but it's not going to affect your score. However, I probably will note it on my little sheet, especially on 6.0, simply because it helps me remember you...and because 6.0 is a system that judges you one against the other, it will help me remember.

I'm big on ponytails versus buns. That's an important aspect of figure skating - presentation. It IS about how you look. Again, I'm not going to put you last because you're wearing a messy ponytail, but it really doesn't add to your appearance. If you don't look confident and proud, a) you probably won't skate that way and b) if you do manage to skate well and another girl skates similarly and looks better, even if it is subconscious, she'll probably place over you. Why? She looks the part. I know it doesn't sound fair, but that's the way figure skating is. If you don't like it, you're in the wrong sport. Yes, skating is athletic, but it is also pretty and artistic. 
So which do I prefer? I prefer a neat and tidy bun with a scrunchy or matching hair piece. With gel. I hate seeing whispies flying all over the place. It's a personal thing, but in my opinion it looks like you didn't take the time of day to prepare yourself and look the part. If you don't care, why should I care? And yes. I know the pain of whispies. I have curly hair. It has been a painful, mucky skating career for me ;)

If you're not going to have a bun, please don't have a floppy ponytail with clips everywhere and bangs flopping in your face. Again, it's your choice, but it truly looks like you don't give a care - it looks like you rolled out of bed and showed up at a competition. If I have to get up and look nice, wear dress clothes, and groom myself appropriately, then you do too. If you don't care, why should I care?

I also really like creative, cute hairstyles. I'm not going to lie. They stand out. I can tell you about a girl I've judged at a competition in a little pre-preliminary event three or four times. Her hair ROCKS. It's in double french braids twisted into the side in a bun. There is ribbon weaved in. And I marvel every single time about how perfect her hair looks. Every time. Does it help her placement? Not necessarily. Did I consider her hair in her mark? Nope. Absolutely no relation. But does she look awesome? Yep. Do I remember her? Yep. Might that help her in the future? It could. Oh, and if you have a ponytail and you've curled it or done something cute, I notice that. I like that too.

And when using 6.0 for judging the younger kids - I'm going to write something down to remember you by. A floppy ponytail is not a good thing to be remembered the 20 seconds I have to compare you to the last 12 skaters, I can't read over every note I've written on every skater - but if I see floppy ponytail it'll probably be associated with a negative though. Just telling you the truth!!

So in summary? No, you're not going to come last because you have pink hair in a floppy ponytail. You're not always going to skate better because you look good - but my thought has always been look good, feel good, skate good. I think my biggest example of hair in the competitive world is Joannie Rochette versus Mira Leung. I'll admit off the bat that I am Canadian and a big Joannie fan, but I know you'll agree with me.

Who looks like the confident, strong Olympic bronze medalist? Who looks like the nearly-retired forgotten Olympian? 

That's what I thought. You can't possibly disagree.
Appearance doesn't make the skater...but sometimes it breaks them.