Nelson figure skating coaches Yoshie Measures and Sarah Gower have focused on improving the club’s programming.

Figure skaters hit the ice

A new skating season has been launched for the Nelson Figure Skating Club with programs for first time skaters to seasoned competitors.

October marked the launch of a new skating season for the Nelson Figure Skating Club with programs for first time skaters to seasoned competitors.

Canskate, the club’s flagship learn-to-skate instruction has been redesigned by Skate Canada.  The New Canskate aims to help kids progress faster through constant movement.

“In a 45-minute session there are lots of ways we ensure kids are always moving,” explained coach Sarah Gower.

“With the use of a fast track, a circuit, props and games children are always using their stroking to acquire sound fundamentals faster. They achieve speed and better fitness sooner.”

Gower emphasizes that Canskate is a sound base for all ice sports and has added drills designed specially for kids looking to play hockey.

“We offered a condensed Canskate program in the summer and I was amazed with the progress in only five days.”

Gower and fellow coach Yoshie Measures have spent the last six months rethinking all aspects of the clubs programming. This summer they premiered a re-tooled summer camp designed to establish the NFSC as a regional centre of excellence in the off season. The coaches invited fitness specialists to develop a broad-based strategy to help skaters improve strength, flexibility and overall fitness.

“We want to develop the complete athlete,” said coach Measures. “By adding flex, yoga and dance classes we complimented a rigorous on ice program with what the other instructors were doing.” The formula proved successful with the largest summer enrolment the club has seen in years.

One key area the club wanted to rethink was the Junior Academy Program. Designed as a transition from general skating to figure skating, the program has always had to serve skaters in transition and with a broad range of abilities. The coaches decided to utilize the higher requirements of the New Canskate and keep skaters in that program longer. Skaters moving into Junior Academy will now possess a firm base to learn the rigors of figure skating.

For Measures, a jump specialist, it’s all about developing solid skill sets at every level.

“We are teaching skating that focuses on proper crosscut technique, and most importantly improved fitness through on-ice cardio sessions. We’ve noticed a difference since the summer. Skaters are pushing harder, going faster and have more stamina.”

All those benefits will be appreciated as skaters begin to prepare for the upcoming competition season. Led by veterans Christina Champlin and Charley Defouw, the club will send a team of skaters to Kimberley, Rossland, as well as representing Nelson at the Kootenay Regional Championships in January, 2014.

The Super Series Final in Kelowna in March is a treat for skaters to participate in. Performances will be live streamed allowing friends and supporters to watch the action wherever they are.

The finale of the season happens in the spring when the club will put on the much anticipated ice show.  All skaters that register for the spring session, including Canskaters, are included in the event. A highlight of the season, the ice show allows skaters to shine and show off their accomplishments over a season of hard work.

For more information about the Nelson Figure Skating Club, please visit nelsonfigureskatingclub.ca