Why Attend a Local Skating Competition?

For those who are not quite ready to perform in front of an audience, observing a local competition is a great way to gain insight into the competitive world of figure skating and see different skating disciplines- freestyle, dance, and pairs, and also different levels- basic skills to free skate to well balanced preliminary through senior programs. Young skaters will be inspired as they watch kids of similar age gracefully skating to the music and performing impressive mid-air jumps, flying leaps, and astonishing fast spins. I often catch young skaters mesmerized and oohing and ahhhing over the performers. They especially are dazzled by the beautiful costumes adorned with Swarovski crystals and sequins. Having the opportunity to watch a skating competition provides young skaters encouragement to go out there and show off their skills and talents and join the excitement of shining on the ice. I always try to encourage and convince my students to attend a competition and/or even come see me compete as I could always use the extra support.

One of the largest and most attended skating competition in NJ is the Garden State Games Figure Skating Championship. This competition is the qualifying event for the National State Games of America Championships. Sponsored by the North Jersey Figure Skating Club, the Garden State Games is a two-day event held on June 14-15 at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, NJ. The competition will include basic skills, freestyle, solo dance pattern, showcase, and compulsory spin and jump events. I was told it will be a huge turnout as there were over 375 skaters registered to compete.

Girl Scouts Creates Leaders in Skating

Did you know Dorothy Hamill, 1976 Winter Olympic gold medalist, was a Girl Scout?

I was really honored when I was asked to serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies in this year’s Girl Scout’s Gold Award Ceremony on Wed, May 29th in West Long Branch, NJ. The Gold Award, highest distinction earned by only 5.4% of eligible girl scouts, recognizes young women who demonstrate exceptional leadership in carrying out a community project having a sustained and measurable impact. It was only last year when I was striving and aspiring to be a gold award recipient. Now, I am a Girl Scout Ambassador serving on the CEO Advisory Board, actively involved in promoting Girl Scouts and its programs to younger girls in hopes of developing girl leaders and empowering them to realize their potential.

Girl Scout CEO Eileen Higgins and Guest Speaker Carol Stillwell (President and CEO of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc.) address the 2019 Gold Award recipients. To learn more about my 2018 Gold Award project, please go to https://www.facebook.com/81789241560/posts/10155621180761561/

Since 3rd grade, I’ve been a Girl Scout and I credit Girl Scouts for my success and achievements to date. Girl Scouts encourages girls to participate in sports to help them become more confident. An independent study conducted by Tufts University Character and Merit Project in June 2015, compared character traits of Scouts and non-Scouts over a two-and-a-half-year period. The study found that children who participate in scouting and youth sports are more likely to develop positive social values including ‘helping others’ or ‘doing the right thing’ than youth who only play sports (Scouting Wire, ‘Can Scouting and Sports Coexist?’, Nov 24, 2015)

My years of girl scouting has exposed me to new learning and exciting adventures- exploring different interests, developing new skills, challenging myself, and overcoming setbacks. I’ve built courage, perseverance, and commitment which not only help me become a leader in school and in skating but in life.

I will be forever proud to say, ‘I’m a Girl Scout’

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irl Scouts!

Negative Parental Involvement in Skating

As I was writing my blog post a couple of weeks ago on the critical role parents play in youth sports and the positive influences they can have, I felt compelled to also address the negative impacts of parent involvement in sports. I feel it’s a relevant subject that most definitely deserves increased attention as I’ve observed many instances and also experienced first hand how parents can have a negative impact on their child.

When parents push their child to participate in sports against their wishes, it could negatively impact a child’s emotional development by making him/her stress, anxious, withdrawn, depressed, and even burnout. It also places strain on the parent/child relationship. Oftentimes, parents are blind to see that their child has no interest or is not enjoying or has no talent to be pushed too far.

In the end, the child will not enjoy and will lose interest and develop a negative resentment towards the sport which is the complete opposite of what the parent wants!!! The one thing parents always strive for their kids is to be happy yet when you force the child to participate, the child will end up resenting not only the sport but the parent as well! Please it’s not about the parent’s ego!

Don’t get me wrong - parents should strongly encourage their children to play all types of sports. In fact, I feel they should have their children be exposed at early age to everything from dance to tennis to karate to fencing. BUT once parents see that their child is bored and becomse disinterested then that’s the time to consider stopping and taking a break from the sport.

I want my students to enjoy skating and have a positive experience. I want them to look forward to coming to lessons and practice. Having a positive attitude is important because I strongly feel it will only help them be more motivated and work harder and have more fun learning.

So here are my top three tips for parents/skaters during lesson and practice session-

Positive Parental Involvement in Skating

Happy Easter Everyone! Hope you and your family are enjoying this gorgeous spring day and having an Eggstraordinary Easter! Due to the holiday, there were no group classes this weekend but I was booked solid with private lessons. They were THE best lessons I’ve ever given because the ice was completely empty due to the holiday and my student and I had the entire rink practically to ourselves. I didn’t have to bother getting in anyone’s way and more importantly, didn’t have to constantly worry and watch out for aggressive and reckless hockey skaters chasing each other around and bumping into my students.

I would like to take this opportunity to praise and applaud a parent, specifically my long-time student Courtney’s dad, who unfailingly comes out onto the ice on every lesson and skates while I teach his daughter during the public session. It really is a great effort on her dad’s part to join us because I feel he is being a positive role model, providing his daughter constant support and encouragement on the ice. He’s helping Courtney to nurture a love and enjoyment for the sport by skating himself! I feel having her dad on the ice also shows Courtney that skating is a great family activity which helps bring the two closer together and foster a stronger bond between them. When Courtney’s dad is out there on the ice, he’s also showing everyone that skating can be fun and can be enjoyed at any age!

CONGRATS to my Learn-to-Skate Students!

I’m so proud of all my Learn-to-Skate students who passed their tests this weekend!
Can’t wait to get started on teaching new skills at our next group class.
Don’t forget to sign up for the new 7-week winter session!

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Well Done!


Saturday LTS class
Evelyn - Basic 6
Gabrielle - Basic 6 
Johanna - Basic 6
Rita - Basic 5
Jessica - PreFreeSkate
Eliza - FreeSkate 1 

Sunday LTS class
Angelinia - Basic 4
Carmella - Basic 4
Rachel - Basic 3
Christelle - Basic 6

How to Spin and Not Get Dizzy

This past Sunday, I was teaching my smart and diligent 12 yr-old long-time student, Courtney, how to do a scratch spin which is an upright spin- one of the first spins that figure skaters learn. I demonstrated the spin so she can see how a proper scatch spin is done and told her that once she masters this basic spin, she can then learn variations including a camel spin, sit spin, and layback spin. As I demonstrated all these different spins to her, Courtney asked a real simple but smart question- ‘How do you spin without getting so dizzy?” I stood dumbfounded by my young student’s question. I paused and thought about it for a couple of minutes but had no idea why I never get dizzy and simply replied ‘I’m use to it’. Well, it was clear that my student did not like my answer because she looked confused and persistently asked, ‘How do you get use to it without crashing to the ground from spinning so fast?’

I knew there was a scientific answer to this question and it had to deal with the principle of inertia. But I’m not a science person and will not take physics until my senior year next year.

I knew my student will ask me next week when I review our spin lesson and it’s a question I feel I should know so I came home and immediately googled this baffling question. This is what I learned…

When you spin, you get dizzy because there are fluids which get sloshed around. There are three tubes that are filled with fluids in your inner ear and each tube is aligned with a different motion- up and down, left and right, and side to side. The sensory nerve cells in the hair lining of the ear canal carries signals to your brain which gets interpreted as movement. When you stop spinning, the fluids continue to slosh around in your ear and so your brain still thinks you’re spinning but you’re really not and that’s why you get dizzy.

Figure skaters and ice dancers have the same tubes and fluids in their ears like all of us and their fluids also get whipped around. So then how come they don’t get dizzy and disoriented when they spin or twizzle?! Even if you’re not an elite skater, there’s no way to avoid not getting dizzy- you can’t even disguise your dizziness. The answer is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and more PRACTICE! If you practice spinning over and over many times then your body is trained to get use to it and gradually overcomes the dizziness. Aha!, so I was actually 100% correct when I told Courtney that I just got use to spinning and don’t get dizzy! It’s because I’ve trained intensely for so many years that I can recover from a spin with grace without feeling at all dizzy. There was no scientific reason after all.

Skaters train hard to make their moves look so effortless!