She found a new way to coach her synchro team during the summer


Maja Tandecka started synchronized skating in 2007 at the age of 14 in team Le Soleil from Torun. They competed in the Junior and Mixed Age divisions.

At 27 years old, Maja is certainly one of the few coaches who chose to continue to practise blocks, intersections, and circles... without going to the ice rink. Her team has swapped the blades for rollers during the summer, and even plans to participate in inline competitions soon.

"The hardest was getting used to the much smaller surface of the gym compared to the ice rink," starts Maja Tandecka, head coach of Team Skadi created last year in Bydgoszcz, a city located in the northern part of Poland. This Mixed Age team consists of 20 skaters.

"They are very passionate and hard-working girls, from ages 13 to 23. We placed 3rd at Nationals in the Mixed Age category and 10th at Hevelius Cup 2020 at our first competitive season," explains the head coach Maja who also has a master's degree in physiotherapy.

To be able to continue skating together during the summer, the skaters of Team Skadi decided to start practicing on inlines skates. "Inlines make it possible to extend the skating season, especially for those, whose rinks close very soon. In summer we can still practice skating skills and synchronization, what benefits later on the ice," Maja enthuses.

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"We need to push harder"
At the beginning of May, Maja attended the first inline seminar in Poland led by Elisabet Martin Mora, vice president of the World Inline Figure Skating Association (WIFSA), and her daughter Angela. "I was intrigued by the situation of synchro on inlines and it turned out that it is not popular at all. I also knew that some of my skaters already have inlines, so it motivated me to show people that our beautiful discipline is also possible on wheels. The pandemic closed rinks and longing to skate caused more Skadi skaters to buy inlines and we could start training with most of the team", continues the coach. Indeed, 13 skaters decided to try inline.

"We became so much stronger, because of the friction between wheels and concrete (or even floor). It works similarly to a resistance band. We need to push harder, bend our knees more to perform the same elements as on the ice. In addition, the aluminum frame with wheels is way heavier than any blade. Spirals are tough at first, but then the feeling on the ice is stunning," comments Justyna Kopec, Team Skadi's captain.

Team Skadi from Bydgoszcz is skating synchro... on wheels during the summer.

Twizzles remain the most difficult step on wheels
For the skaters, this new training opportunity is phenomenal. "With inline, the season lasts longer, we're doing the exercises we do on ice but still having some other benefits out of it. The feeling is a bit odd at first, but it goes away quickly. It's a perfect way to make off-ice training enjoyable and challenging at the same time," said Justyna.

From simple steps in lines or small blocks to elements such as pivotings, traveling circles... "Everything is possible!" explained Maja and Justyna. This young team is improving step by step on wheels. "Twizzles are something we're not ready to try on yet, but everything is ahead of us." 

"I don’t know any other team, who skates both on ice skates and inlines," said Maja, the head coach. For her, the hardest part was to get used to the much smaller surface of the gym compared to the ice rink."

On inlines, teams consist of 8 to 12 skaters, but it is still a challenge to create a program with speed and flow. The feeling of the blade is also different and can be difficult for some at the beginning, but it doesn’t take much time to feel confident on wheels", she continues.

Maja's idea is to develop new skills off-ice during the summer that can be easily used a few months later on the ice. "Wheels need more patience and calm in elements due to friction, which results in a greater focus on the correct technique. It is not so easy to cheat, for example, steps. Since we got back to training in May, I see how much my skaters improved in such a short time. I will definitely continue to use this method, especially because WIFSA World Open Inline Figure Skating 2021 will take place in Brwinów, Poland and we plan to compete there with Team Skadi," she hopes.

On the ice, Team Skadi is a Mixed Age team from Poland.

"We wanted to show the similarities between those two types of equipment and maybe encourage other synchro teams to try because it is a very valuable way for us to learn. It's fairly new, so we are aware not everyone is convinced of this method yet, but we hope some skaters will give it a try," suggests Justyna. 

Team Skadi's home rink will reopen on 10 August, and one week later, the team will organize a summer camp.

Synchro: an increasingly popular discipline in Poland
In Poland, the situation with coronavirus "seems to be stabilized," Maja explains. "We have learned to live with the current restrictions and are very relieved to be able to practice together again."

Synchronized skating is developing really fast in this country for a few years now. "It’s great to see and be a part of it. We have now over 20 teams in Poland in many age categories. The level of skating is increasing, which can be confirmed by 9th place of our national team Ice Fire Junior at Junior Worlds in 2020. Their achievement made it possible to give Poland another place at the next Junior Worlds, which will be the next huge step for Polish synchronized skating," thinks Maja.