Which is more difficult ballet or figure skating

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Summer training

In our new magazine article we want to take a closer look at the summer training and answer a few questions about it.

Unfortunately, ice skating is very often dependent on the outside temperature, so that you can usually only train regularly in the winter months. Many ice skating fans do not have an ice rink in the city that is open all year round, so they rarely get on the ice in the summer months. In the following article we want to find out who summer training is suitable for and what you can do in addition to ice training.

Summer training is never a bad thing, because it gives every ice skater an advantage. When you take a long summer break, it is always a bit difficult to get used to the ice again in the first few weeks afterwards. Beginners in particular always need a few weeks to "break in" again. You start again a little more carefully and don't practice the difficult jumps right away. At a certain level, it is even very difficult to find your way back to your old skills if you haven't done anything for a long time. Most of the time, there is also a lot of sore muscles and you wish you had never stopped ...

In the summer all ice skaters can train, but which type of training is chosen and, above all, how often is up to you. Of course, you can sometimes actually ice skate in summer, but that's not the point here. We want to introduce you to a few alternative training options.

The closest "related" to figure skating are ballet and off-ice training. In classical ballet, posture, tension and balance are trained in almost the same way as in figure skating. The posture is mostly identical to that of figure skating and almost the same muscles are used. That is why ballet is a very good form of staying “close to the ice” even in summer. All exercises that have to do with the thigh muscles are particularly good. The most important muscles in figure skating are the thigh muscles, the buttocks, the abdominal and back muscles. In ballet there are many exercises (e.g. a simple plie) that are suitable for maintaining the muscles in question. Ballet is suitable for all skill levels, but beginners in particular have the opportunity to get used to the necessary posture even better. For advanced users, it is more about maintaining the muscles and mobility. Other types of dance (standard or jazz, modern, etc.) are also very suitable.

Off-ice training is of course specially tailored to the needs of figure skaters. Specific exercises are done to support the learning of the ice figures. These can be jumping exercises, but also flexibility training, strength endurance or fitness. Off-ice training is particularly suitable for advanced skiers, as the jumps can be practiced to a certain extent and the stamina is not neglected. A well-put together off-ice training covers all areas necessary to survive a certain period of time even without an ice surface. The only restriction is with the jumps and pirouettes, as these can only be really effectively trained on the ice. But special off-ice training is very close to that.

If you don't have an ice rink in summer, you can still work very well on your stamina and muscles. Swimming is very popular with ice skaters because the thigh muscles and back muscles are trained very well, but at the same time without putting any strain on the joints. Jogging is also very popular, especially if you want to maintain the condition for a freestyle. Frequent jogging at a fast or slow pace (alternating) keeps you fit and you have no problems starting again on the ice in autumn. For very ambitious runners, a fitness studio is of course not a bad choice. There you can have an individual training program put together that optimally prepares you for your return to work in winter.


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The search for the right trainer - which trainer is right for me?
Undoubtedly, if you want to be successful in a sport, you have to employ the skills of a coach. The trainer gives you instructions and tips and should help you to perform better. But how can you tell which coach is good and which isn't? Just as there are different types of runners, there are also different coaches.
First of all, it has to be mentioned that the trainer should always be chosen by the runner himself. Parents can advise their children on the choice of a trainer, but competitive athletes and advanced runners in particular should choose their trainer themselves. After all, you have to work with him too. Most clubs also have several coaches to choose from.
The most important point is the professional qualification. The better the runner, the better and more experienced the trainer has to be. In the case of difficult jumps and pirouettes, it is important that the trainer has mastered these elements himself or at least has mastered them once. This shouldn't be too far in the past. This is because with more difficult elements, the smallest subtleties are important. These little subtleties decide, for example, whether a jump succeeds or not. If a trainer has mastered this jump himself, he can tell his student exactly what the subtleties are. Purely theoretical knowledge of a trainer is no longer sufficient when learning double jumps at the latest.
Now, of course, it takes a lot of training to be able to master double jumps. Since trainers often no longer actively run themselves, it is understandable if they do not master all the elements on demand. Nevertheless, a good trainer should be able to at least partially show and describe all elements. For example, when training a double or triple jump, the trainer should be able to show the same jump at least once or twice. Only in this way can he specifically address the student's mistake and illustrate it with his own example. Even when it comes to step sequences, it is important that a trainer can demonstrate certain elements. The basic qualification of a trainer should be interdisciplinary, i.e. he should know basic elements from each discipline.
In no way should the impression arise that the trainer should always be tested by demonstrating jumps and pirouettes, e.g. by parents. To become an ice skating coach, someone has to meet very high requirements, which always require good qualifications.
In individual cases, however, it depends on whether the student can ultimately see where his problem lies with an element or not. A trainer who only stands by the gang can give theoretical advice, but the final touch is always left to the student.
A training course is usually structured in such a way that the student mainly practices elements and these are assessed by the trainer. That is why a trainer can of course stand by the gang. There should only be the possibility that a trainer can show an element correctly once you get stuck.

From warming up to putting together the freestyle
A coach's ice skating skills are important, but not sufficient for the best possible success. Ice skating training has long since not only taken place on the ice. Many other factors such as ballet, strength training, conditioning training and flexibility training support ice skating training very strongly. Therefore, a good trainer should also have anatomical knowledge or know about the medical or physiological aspects.
For advanced runners, it is often necessary to create a precise training plan that includes both ice training and other areas, including nutrition. Therefore, specially trained ballet or fitness trainers are often employed in clubs.
Basic knowledge of off-ice training is expressed, for example, in how a trainer designs a warm-up program or how training is structured on the ice.
The training structure is a very crucial factor for success. You have to find the ideal mix between improving known elements and training new elements. A good trainer can recognize when a runner is ready to learn new things or when one should consolidate more familiar elements. He advises the runner in the selection of a freestyle music and he can give assistance in putting together the freestyle program.
Educational background
Sport is always associated with victories and defeats, as is figure skating. A trainer must be able to adjust to his pupil and adapt his training to the mental state of the pupil.
With children, playful learning must be in the foreground, so that the children are not overwhelmed. Here the ice skating performance of the trainer is less important. It is much more about giving children playful access to the sport and patiently practicing with them. Especially with children and beginners, it is important that a trainer encourages and praises the students.
For competitive athletes, it's less about making training playful. At a certain level competitions become important and pressure arises very quickly, be it time pressure, competition pressure, etc. A trainer must be able to prepare the runner mentally for a competition and support him in both winning and losing situations.
The relationship with a trainer is crucial. On the ice, the relationship should really be limited to training, even if you are friends or relatives outside. During training, the trainer must perform his or her task as a teacher. Private problems should be settled for the time of the training.
The pressure must always be realistic. There is a widespread cliché of trainers yelling around who stand by the gang in fur coats and give military instructions.Shouting around is an extremely bad calling card for a coach. Certainly you have to communicate with increased volume in an ice rink, but yelling around shouldn't become permanent. If a trainer is too strict, the runner will only be intimidated and trained under fear. There is no way that should happen. The trainer has to be very empathetic, especially with children. Insults and other strong emotional expressions are out of place in training.
However, a coach can criticize from time to time. A good runner becomes good only by working on his mistakes and correcting them. If he doesn't make an effort, it is of course legitimate for a coach to get angry or disappointed from time to time.
The rigor of a trainer is a very difficult subject and should be thought through very carefully, especially by parents. Often parents-chosen trainers are too strict on children because the parents want to exert pressure. This constellation only leads to failure.
A trainer should first and foremost be the runner's friend and helper and support him wherever he can.
Every runner has to find the ideal mix for himself. The questions below should help you choose a trainer:
- What technical training does my trainer have (competition successes, etc.)
- What additional qualifications does my trainer have (ballet, off-ice training)?
- What knowledge is there about medicine, injuries, etc.?
- What pedagogical training does my trainer have (training structure, pressure, teaching method)?
- Do I have a personal relationship with the trainer (relatives, etc.)?
- Can my trainer separate personal and professional matters well?
- What kind of support for competitions etc. is possible?

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Competitive sport and school - Interview with Tanja K.
Tanja K. (26 y.) Used to be a competitive figure skating athlete. For eiskunstlaufweb.de she tells us how she got school and training under one roof.

How do you have to imagine everyday life when, as a competitive athlete, you also have to go to school?
Tanja K: Everyday life as a competitive athlete is quite stressful. I did competitive sport from the age of 10 to around the age of 18, which is actually the whole time I was in high school. Time was always very short. At 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. I finished school, after which I always went straight to training. I had a training effort of up to 4 hours a day. Sometimes I wasn't home until 10 p.m. or later. I also had training almost every day on the weekend, and a lot of competitions in winter too.
Wasn't that too much for you? How did you do your homework
Sometimes it was very stressful, especially when exams at school or competitions were planned. I often did my homework on the bus on the way to training or a lot at the weekend. You have to divide your time very well as a competitive athlete, because you have days when you really don't have a minute free. But my parents always made it very important that I do my homework just like all the other students. My mother in particular always checked it. When I did the first national competitions, I was also exempted from physical education. I did a lot of sports, so the two sports lessons that week were actually unnecessary for me.
Did you have time for friends too?
Unfortunately, during all of my time as a competitive runner, I had very little time for friends and I sometimes regret that. I almost never had time to meet up with school friends or go to any birthday party. My training could never be canceled and when that was the case, I studied school material. On weekends, the other classmates often went to parties or went to the country school home. Most of the time I couldn't go to such events because of the training. But over time my circle of friends has simply shifted more to the ice skating club. Then I did a lot with my training colleagues, whom I saw every day. We went to training camps together and did homework together, etc. That was a small replacement for that.
How did you train
I had a lot of different trainings. Of course the ice training, sometimes I practiced alone, but I also had at least one lesson every day. These hours were partly in a group or individually. In addition to ice training, I also danced a lot of ballet (approx. 5 hours / week) to improve my mobility. Sometimes other training sessions were added, e.g. for fitness, especially before competitions. Then I often went jogging or going to the gym.
Did you do well in school anyway?
Most of the time I was good at school. Ice skating has always been a lot of fun for me and I never felt like I had to train so much. On the contrary, I've always looked forward to training and seen it as a privilege to be able to do something like this at all. I've always had a very strong will to achieve something and to move forward. As a result, I was and am a very balanced and satisfied person. It was always clear to me that school was also important. An ice skater can never make a living from her sport and still has to get a good education or a degree. So I always took my time for school and never neglected it. Although I was often very tired physically after training, it was a certain compensation. As a result, I was much more productive and could, for example, still do homework late in the evening when others had long been sleeping. It was always very important to my parents that I take school seriously. The better my grades, the more often I was allowed to go to training. That worked to the end. Finally I finished high school with an average of 1.9.
What is the difference to the everyday life of a normal student?
Apart from the lack of free time for homework etc. you always have to think about your training. You can't go to a party in the evening because you have to be on the ice again at 8 o'clock the next morning. Stays in the Landschulheim or similar are seldom possible because training always comes first. So you do without a lot or have to postpone training. You often have to do your homework late in the evening when others have long been sleeping or watching TV. Long journeys are also not always possible because training camps etc. are the order of the day during the school holidays.
What did you do after school
I went to school normally until the 12th grade. But then I got an invitation from an American training center. I trained there for a whole year and took part in various show productions. But I really wanted to graduate from school, so I postponed the 13th grade for a year. After graduating from high school (in Germany) I went to America and studied sport there. I also worked as an ice skating coach and was a member of a SYS team.
How has your time as a competitive athlete shaped you?
Although I had to forego a lot of what normal young people do, I never want to exchange time for a normal life. Competitive sport has shaped me a lot and influenced my personality. I learned very early on to find my way in the adult world. This made me very independent. As a competitive athlete, you are confronted with defeats every day and training is a constant uphill and downhill ride. You learn to work on something until it leads to the desired success, no matter how hard that is. This knowledge also helps in school. If you are bad in a subject, you keep studying until you get better. Figure skating in particular is a sport that requires a particularly strong will and stamina. An example: You have to jump a double jump an average of 2000 times before it sits. Such accomplishments make you a strong personality and learn to bite your teeth. I am very happy about this ability and it has already helped me a lot in my life.


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