The annual two-day Summer Splice hosted by the Skyliners is always an enjoyable learning experience, and this year was no exception. The Skyliners coaching staff along with other world class professionals such as John Coughlin, Paula Wagner, and Finnish coaching duo Miru and Ville Penttinen, organized two days composed of a variety of classes targeting integral synchro skills.
Skaters were arranged into different groups labeled as elements based on age and ability. My group, Circle, consisted of Novice, Junior, and Senior skaters. The first day began with a musical interpretation class taught by Skyliner coaches, Josh Babb and Pam May. Although it was only the morning of the first day, Josh’s class allowed for us to bond with one another and expanded our ability to express ourselves on the ice. We focused on how to not only use our faces to express, but to utilize body movement’s to tell a story to the audience.
In Steps, Edge, and Elements classes, Miru and Ville offered difficult yet valuable drills in order to improve edge quality and body position. These classes proved to be tiring for all skaters, but undoubtedly beneficial in the execution of our turns. In elements, we focused on both pivoting blocks and stroking blocks. For both blocks, we focused on maintaining deep knee bend and a strong, confident upper body.
One of my favorite classes was the pairs class taught by former U.S. National Champion and Team USA member, John Coughlin. For the first day, we paired up and focused on exiting our death spirals on one foot as well as having proper positioning. Especially for junior and senior skaters, where there is a required pair element, this instruction by such an experienced teacher was very helpful. On the second day, we attempted pair spins that everyone definitely enjoyed trying. Some of us even got to demonstrate with John, which felt like flying.
In “Pound” class, our instructor Amber incorporated a comprehensive fitness workout with drumming. We were all given two sticks to drum along to the music and our movements, which proved to be a fun and unique way to workout. We were able to take an off-ice class with Paula Wagner where we stretched out after a long day of intensive skating.
Overall, Splice was a great learning experience where we received feedback from various coaches and were able to interact with skaters from other parts of the country. This year I felt that there was an influx of non-local skaters who participated in Splice, such as the Fond du Lac Blades junior team from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. It was great to meet so many different skaters which really elevated the experience. Needless to say, I can’t wait for next year’s Splice!