Basics of Using Champion Cords (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating specialist coach and inventor Sheila Thelen teaches a class of beginner skaters to use her Champion Cords. She begins by explaining and demonstrating how to attach a cord to a skate and then how to hold the cord properly to maintain control of the cord and minimize discomfort. She also offers a helpful trick for “shortening” the cord for young skaters.

After putting one cord on each skate, Sheila has the class put both cords on their left hands and do a forward crossover drill to the left. This is a good drill for helping with undercut extension and turning the shoulders toward the circle. Sheila does the same drill in the other direction after having the skaters change hands with the cords. The third exercise has the cords behind the back and going to opposite hands, so the cords make an X behind the skater. Sheila then has the class do simple forward stroking and focus on leg extension. Notice the tendency for the skaters in the class to drop their arms, thus reducing the benefit of “feeling” the cords. If the cords are properly tensioned, skaters can more easily feel errors such as a bent free leg or improper toe point.


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