It’s no secret that my transition has taken a toll on my figure skating technique. It was a surprise to me in the first place though. After reading through dozens of transition blogs, I’d almost expected just the opposite to be true, that with increased physical strength, rotating jumps would get easier.
I seem to have forgotten a cardinal rule of skating: lighter and smaller are ideal, even in the men’s division.
After a 35lb weight gain (probably a combo of muscle and fat, to be fair) and an objective physical change, particularly as far as my upper body was concerned, employing technique I’d been using since the time of my first puberty just saw my jumps getting smaller and more labored as the weeks wore on.
In December 2013, I finally bit the bullet and hired a coach (after about a year and a half practicing solo). There’s just no replacement for technique reminders when you’re having the kinds of issues I was.
And it’s taken over a year of ass-plants and other awkward moments where I felt like I wasn’t ever going to get back to my past form. I’m still not there yet, but just last Wednesday my jumps started feeling lighter (yeah, it was that noticeable that I can actually name the day). It’s been nine days, and I’ve consistently been skating at a higher level than I have since prior to starting HRT. I still have a long way to go, but at least now I’m noticing a positive difference. Huzzah.
But getting my technique back has been only half the battle. The real struggle is one I’ve been dealing with since pretty much the moment I received my first cassette tape of program music and was told to get into a starting pose.