Haydenettes’ founder Lynn Benson nominated for U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame

The official ballot for the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was announced today, and I’m thrilled to see that Lynn Benson has been included. Lynn formed the Haydenettes in 1979 and remained with the team until the end of the 2004-05 season, when she passed the torch to their current coach, Saga Krantz. In her years with the team, Lynn created a foundation for excellence. The Hayden organization has grown to include teams at multiple levels, and the Haydenettes are now 19-time U.S. Champions and two-time World Bronze Medalists, having represented the U.S. at every World Championship since the first ISU-sanctioned event was heldĀ  in 2000 (as well as at each of the World Challenge Cups, held from 1996-99).

It’s wonderful to see this kind of recognition for synchronized skating at such a high level. Lynn’s inclusion on the 2012 ballot places her in good company–she’s been nominated alongside skating legends such as Michelle Kwan, Rudy Galindo, and Lori Nichol.

The full list of nominees is here. The elected Class of 2012 will be announced on December 15, and the induction ceremony will take place at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January.

Congratulation to Lynn and Hayden Synchronized Skating Teams on the nomination!

November is the month for reality checks and finding balance

Ah, November. In all my years of skating, it didn’t matter which team I was on, who was coaching me, or what category I was competing in–November sucked. The anticipation and excitement of the early part of the season, when everyone was fresh and anything was possible, had been replaced by debilitating stress and total panic. A handful of skaters still didn’t know their steps. The intersection that had once been disguised as “challenging” now revealed its true nature: impossible. Elements were over-rotated one day and under-rotated the next. The program didn’t have an ending. There was at least one injury. The dresses either weren’t ready, didn’t fit, or were hideous.

Memories I hold near and dear to my heart.

The intent of this post is not, however, to reminisce. Rather, it’s to speak to a few key points coaches need to keep in mind during this very important month. An optimist might say November builds a team’s character. A pragmatist knows that choices made in November can have a big impact on the trajectory of the rest of the season, and prepares to make adjustments. (more…)

Requirements and summaries of calls and GOEs, oh my!

I wrote with great excitement about the publication of ISU Communication 1678 waaaay back in May, and had grand intentions of further dissecting and analyzing the new rules here…and then I blinked and all of a sudden it’s October. It has only been within the last two weeks, however, that the final pieces of this season’s rules pie fell into place. With the publication of the ISU Summary of Calls and Communication 1696, officials can finally become fully acquainted with the 2011-12 regulations, and subsequently provide comprehensive feedback to teams as monitoring season approaches. But it’s not just officials who should have requirements and deductions and GOE guidelines dancing in our heads–coaches, you must be accountable to yourself and your skaters to get intimate with these documents, so you can provide training and choreography that will help your teams reach their full potential. The number of documents to keep track of can be overwhelming, so here’s a snapshot of what you should be reading, and what purpose each piece serves (with a decidedly Canadian focus–apologies, international friends): (more…)

Deadline to register for B.C. clinic with Cathy Dalton extended

The deadline to register for the B.C. Section’s summer synchro clinic with Cathy Dalton–featuring on-ice sessions, and an ISU technical update–has been extended to June 30. There’s more information about the clinic in my previous post here.