Figure Skating/Judged by your peers

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Hi Gary,

"This is an article co-written by Kurt Browning & Shawn Sawyer:

Another example I remember was from Canadian Gary Beacom. Gary had an entrance to the double Axel that was different, but then Gary did most everything his own way. This particular double Axel entrance off of the forward left outside edge was amazing if not ridiculous. Instead of stepping from backwards to forwards, Gary simply glided down the ice forward on one foot and then just launched up into the Axel.  

The momentum we gain by stepping from back to front helps you do an Axel jump. This advantage is basically stripped away by doing this entrance so it seemed Gary had to create this jump from sheer will. Without 20 years of skating experience under your belt, this moment might just slip right by without notice."

When you are coaching someone, how much creativity or "out of bounds" skating skills to you incorporate to the lesson?  I am a big fan of off the wall/quirky/where did that come from? skating and with the new rules (no disrespect intended) find that many of the programs today look the same.  Thoughts?

Answer
Hi John,
I see technique as the foundation of creativity, so even though I have a reputation for innovations, I have focused a lot of time and energy on understanding and refining my technique to be able to do what I do. I also devote considerable time in lessons to getting skaters to appreciate the physics and bio-mechanics of skating. I expose skaters to specific moves and to the spirit of exploration. Although I did not copy very much of what Toller Cranston did when I trained at the same club, I was inspired by his creativity.
The long forward outside edge axel entry was motivated by an understanding that the momentum that Kurt speaks of is not necessary to generate rotation in a jump. It is an application of the physics law of conservation of angular momentum whereby the curve caused by leaning is automatically converted to rotation upon going airborne. My most recent innovation involves a choctaw from left back inside to right forward outside turning couter-clockwise in preparation for a clockwise double axel!
Take care,
Gary  

Figure Skating

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gary beacom

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all questions relating to figure skating technique, equipment, nutrition, training, and performance

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see www.garybeacom.com

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Gary Beacom's Vade Mecum

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bachelor of science, university of toronto

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