Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Physical Therapy

I had my first PT appointment today. I had brought one of my skates with me to show the therapist, but as it turned out she was a skater herself in her youth back East so she actually knows what real skates are like.

It's kind of hard to tell what the prognosis is at this point. She did verify that there are some definite things wrong, although it appears that it might not be my tendons in either case. In my ankle she thinks it's more likely a stretched/strained ligament, and in the shoulder that one of my bursa is somehow messed up (didn't quite understand that part). I have another appointment tomorrow morning to go over more stuff.

The one piece of good news that I took away from this was that she didn't see any need for me to curtail my skating, but that rather it was probably a very good thing for me. Yea!

Monday, December 29, 2003


I went to the evening public session tonight. I had intended to go to coffee club but I was attacked by the sleep monster :-) and wound up sleeping very late.

The session was not very crowded at the start; it got a bit thick later but never got really bad. I worked pretty hard on various things, mostly crossovers, FO3s and the RFI open Mohawk. I made some good progress on the 3-turns; I had long felt I was pushing them too hard. I realized that part of it is that when starting them from a standing start I rotate and then try to do the turn; even when doing them moving (which I can do for the LFO3) I tended to turn into it and then get "stuck". So I tried just starting from an LFO glide in neutral position and then doing the rotation smoothly and firmly until I got it "all the way" and then doing the turn; this works very nicely and feels much less jerky, more smooth. I'm very pleased at this but of course I need to work it more.

I spent a good amount of time on the RFI open Mohawk and I am making progress. Probably the most significant progress, which to a non-skater would seem stupid, is that I'm not afraid to try this move now (or at least mostly not afraid :-)). I worked on it enough that the idea is familiar and I can sort of do it but it's not smooth and it's still an effort to coordinate the rotation of the upper body with bringing the free foot to the instep. Still it's definitely progress!

In talking with one of the coaches during the session, she mentioned that they've been told no one is allowed to do any jumping during the public sessions; not even a waltz jump! That's just stupid. I can understand the desire to keep order, but any skater able to do a jump is, in my experience, pretty careful about watching out for others. And of course those skaters are not the danger to the skating public that the blazing fast hockey boys and the clueless 6-year olds with their EZ-skaters are. *sigh*

I also heard in passing someone mention a rumor that the rink might be sold to the Polar Ice chain (which has two rinks in Phoenix). If it's true I hope it's a good thing. A big corporation might be willing to invest in the rink a bit, which would be helpful; at the same time though it might not be the best thing for figure skaters, especially us adults. Hmmph.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Skating Dreams

I often dream about skating; both daydreams and actual nighttime dreams. I've noticed that a while back my dreams were mostly edges or glides; then recently they were crossovers and 3-turns. Now they are mostly waltz jumps. I don't know what it means, but it is interesting.

Last (Group) Lesson

I went today to have a make-up lesson for my 12/31 lesson since I don't expect anyone to be there New Years Eve. As I anticipated, since Allison wasn't there I was lumped in with the Adult Freestyle class taught by Linda. I've been seeing a lot of Linda lately :-). For the first part of class we worked on FO edges in MITF style, which I've done a fair amount. To work on it Linda had us try doing them without the swing roll, and keeping the free hip/shoulder pressed back the whole time. MUCH harder!

After edges we spent some trying a waltz-3. A waltz-3 is done on a lobe like edges are, it's basically a FO edge, 3 turn, two-foot backward glide to a one-foot BO edge and then a step forward, and repeat. My 3 turns are not really up to this, nor is my step forward. Oh well, at least I know how it goes.

After the lesson I had some lunch at the rink, and then skated the whole afternoon session (1 - 4 p.m.) I worked on pretty much everything, but especially my forward crossovers. They are definitely improving; I'm getting a better lean and they are more deliberate. However, while I can do them fairly nicely on the circle, doing them while stroking around the ends of the rink is still problematic and I'm not sure why except that I'm probably going faster and not getting as deep an edge. I'll have to work on it.

I spent some time on the RFI open Mohawk and it is slowly improving. I need to do a cajillion more of them of course.

All in all it was a good, long skate. I was pretty tired at the end. I'm skating again on Monday (coffee club + afternoon) since I'm off, and then Tuesday I have my physical therapy appointment to look at my ankle and shoulder.


Friday, December 26, 2003

Skating Presents

I got three skating presents from my family for Christmas...

  • A copy of Michelle Kwan's book, "My Special Moments". Very neat. While it's written more for kids there are some cool pictures etc.
  • A very nice Nike exercise jacket and matching sweats, in black. I'm going to try 'em out tomorrow and see how warm they are.
  • A very nice Samsung Yepp YP-55 MP3 player. This is really cool, it's very light, comes with a neck lanyard, has 256MB of flash memory, and it has an FM tuner and voice recorder built in as well. I'm planning on using it when I skate (uncrowded sessions only of course...)

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

A Skating Picture

A friend of mine took a picture of me skating that actually turned out more-or-less okay. It's from August of 2003.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Coffee Club Crossovers

I went to coffee club today, since I was off from work. Linda gave the lesson today since Cecilia is on vacation. We worked on crossovers the whole time. They are starting to improve. In particular I spent a fair amount of time during the lesson on my CW crossovers, and I finally started to feel a good edge in the last few minutes I worked them. It was a good lesson.

After coffee club I had lunch at the rink and then skated for another hour or so. I worked on crossovers and a bunch of stuff. I tried a few RFI open Mohawks and actually had a couple that were not too bad. I'll have to keep working on them.

Friday, December 19, 2003


I had the day off today, and went to the afternoon public session, where I skated for about 1.5 hours.

I worked mostly on (forward) crossovers, and a bit on 3-turns and 2-foot spins. The crossovers are improving; they are markedly less clunky. My balance is still not sufficiently intact that I can keep my back hand from coming forward when I do the crossover, however. I worked mostly on the CCW crossovers; the CW ones are still very icky.

I spent a little time on the RFI open Mohawk, with a little bit of improvement. I still need to spend much more time on it though.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Annnd the Winner Is....

Okay, "winner" is a poor choice since it wasn't a race, nor a contest. That said, my choice for my instructor is Anna.

While I enjoyed my lesson with Melinda, and my lesson with Linda was quite good, it didn't match my enthusiasm and positive impression after my lesson with Anna. Still, it wasn't an easy choice and I can recommend all three instructors highly. They are, as I said, very knowledgeable and professional and I would do well with any of them. But I had such a positive vibe with Anna and was able to relate so well to/with her that she's the clear choice. I'm really psyched and excited about starting lessons with her. My first lesson will be Friday January 9th.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


In my lesson tonight we really looked at a lot of stuff. We spent some time looking at the RFI Mohawk, which actually is starting to come along. I need to practice this more! I can almost do it. After that we went to 3-turns (not much progress there), then to backward edges and landing position (BO edge with free foot extended). After that we went on to learn the bunny hop. My bunny hop needs work, I find that I don't want to land on the toepick.

From there we went on to... waltz jumps! Yep, again. We did them against the wall, and then tried one on the ice. Classmate Ashley did a pretty good one, but I was too chicken. I did manage a very small one but it was more like a step than a jump. It would probably help to work these on dry land and against the wall more. I really need a solid RBO edge though, and I'm a long way from that. The LBO is almost okay, but not the RBO.

After that we finished up with T-stops (good), hockey stops (good), and lunges (quite good). And that was that. It's either my next-to-last or, probably, my last group lesson. I've paid for one more but I'll probably just let it go. At the end of the lesson we thanked Allison (she's going home for Christmas and won't be back 'til January). I couldn't stay to skate, but as it turned out they did a Z-break at 7:30 anyway so I didn't miss anything there.


Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Trial Lesson #3

I had my trial lesson with Melinda today. After a brief discussion of my goals etc., we looked at:

  • Edges. We first looked at forward outside and inside edges on the line. Melinda said I need to bring the free foot forward (ideally from behind to in front). I knew this (I'd read it) but I'd never done it. Actually it makes the edges easier to do. Then we worked on arm positions; for outside edges it's the same hand forward, then doing a sort of scissors action so that by the time you come back to the axis you've switched to the opposite hand (which will be the correct hand for the next edge). We looked at my inside edges, which are a bit weaker but not too bad.
  • 1/2 swizzle pumps on a circle, forward and back. We looked at these as preparation for crossovers. On the forward ones, she suggested trying to get my outside foot pushing back more, and having a feel of pushing from the heel more. She also suggested being more turned into the circle with my upper body.
  • Crossovers. We specifically looked at getting down in the knees more, and getting a better stroke before the cross. She also had me work on skating in the crossed-over position (e.g. LFO and RFI crossed over), which is something Cecilia had had me look at quite some time ago (I've been working on these a while!). This was actually much better than the last time I tried it, and after a few abortive attempts I was able to do it a little bit. It's definitely something to work on.

After skating, I asked some questions. She's been skating since age 3, and teaching for 4 years. She's tested through (I believe) intermediate in freestyle, and novice in MITF. She's not teaching adults right now. I thanked her and I told her I needed to think about it and I'd let her know by the end of the week.

My general impression was quite positive; she has a very straightforward demeanor and I didn't have any problems following what she was trying to convey to me. She also clearly was able to note what I'm doing and give me feedback on what I'm doing and how I can make it better.

Now that I've had these trial lessons I'm going to sleep on it and make up my mind tomorrow or Thursday. As I said after my 2nd trial, it's not easy. All three of them are well-qualified for what I'm after and they are smart and talented. I'll have to review my notes and my impressions. Keep reading to see how it comes out!


Monday, December 15, 2003

Monday Night Madness

After caroling tonight, I had time to get in 1 hour and 15 minutes worth of skating :-) at the public session. Going skating was a great decision since, as luck would have it, Melinda (the coach I've been trying to reach) was doing a lesson. When she saw me she said very apologetically that she had gotten my message but hadn't had a chance to call.

I spent some time warming up, stroking etc. When Melinda was done with her lesson we spent a couple of minutes discussing times that we could get together, etc., and settled on tomorrow at the public session.

After that I spent the remaining time working on my various nemeses: backward edges, 3-turns and forward crossovers. I made some progress, amazingly enough, on my backward edges. At one point I almost thought that I'd made "the breakthrough" but when I tried it again later I couldn't quite get it. Still, I think I have enough muscle memory to remember what it felt like -- it was like my weight was concentrated, not on the ball of my foot, but juuust behind it in a way I can't explain. This is actually a little behind where it tends to be when I'm skating backward (which is too "turny") and was combined with a really good kneebend (I know it was good because my leg started to ache after a while). So I have something to work for.

No real progress on 3-turns or crossovers. I also did a few edges and some spins and a couple of lunges just on principle.

I'm really excited about getting this lesson in tomorrow!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

"Up" Lesson & Saturday Zoo

Saturday morning I did a "make-up" lesson in advance (my lessons are Wed. evenings and I did a make-up for 12/24 since I don't expect anyone to be there Christmas Eve). One of the instructors was sick, so when it came time for class, the instructors decided to combine the Basic 7/8 and Adult Freestyle classes, and to put me in with them since the Adult Basic class was all people who were much more beginners than I (a wise and thoughtful decision). Linda (who I've had a lesson with) was teaching Basic 7/8 and Adult Freestyle.

Our combined class worked first on Mohawks, which I have already been exposed to but still can't really do. I got some good advice on the Mohawk, namely, to think of the free leg/foot like a golf club that needs to swing forward to the instep as the upper body is turning. After Mohawks we went on to the back Mohawk, AKA BO to FO transition ("step-forward"). Since I have very very weak back edges, not surprisingly I struggled with this and wasn't able to do a good one.

For the last part of class, we hit what was for me new territory, and started walking through a waltz jump (!). Yea! I probably need to walk through these on land first, but at least now I understand the basics: LFO edge, elbows back with lower arms hanging free, then swoop right leg forward (not out, just straight forward, a "scissors" action) and jump off the left foot, turn and land on RBO and scissor left foot back. I was really excited to see how this jump works though of course I can't do one at this point. I can't even do a bunny hop yet.

After class I had some lunch at the rink restaurant, and talked with some of the rink moms etc. After lunch I skated at the public session for about 2 hours (so about 2.5 hours of skating). I spent most of my time working on forward crossovers, edges, and my LFO3. The crossovers are actually starting to improve; especially, for the last part of the skate I was finally getting a rhythm of stroke-crossover-uncross and repeat (lather, rinse, repeat? :-)). This was on the circle. I'm really trying to get down in my knees more and that seems to be helping a lot; also trying to get on a better edge. I've noticed that sometimes even though I am technically on an edge (i.e. I'm turning) it feels very flat and I can tell my weight placement is not really on the edge. So I worked on edges a bit to try to get that better. Finally I spent a good amount of time on my 3-turns, and especially the LFO3. This is starting to improve even from Friday. The main thing I tried to add (besides the deeper edge) was to not force the turn but be sure I'd actually turned all the way into the circle; and also to really try to consciously bend my knee at the turn. These two things seemed to help me get a better check and better control on the exit (although I'm still having to put the free foot down). I'm doing these mostly on the hockey goal circle or a similar size edge.

I've not been able to get hold of the remaining coach (Melinda) re: a trial lesson; but she was the one who was sick Saturday so I guess it's not suprising. I'll give her a couple of days to call me and try again maybe Monday afternoon or Tuesday if I've not heard back. I need to get this resolved by Friday so I can start planning; plus I don't want to leave the others in suspense.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Foreign Ice

As I hoped, I had some time this afternoon up in Phoenix, so I went skating at Polar Ice in Chandler. I skated for about 2 hrs. 45 minutes. It was a reasonably good skate. I don't like the ice there much though, at least not on the rink they use for public sessions there. It seems thinner and colder than my home ice, and I could have sworn when I was out on it at first (after the Zamboni) that I heard it actually cracking underneath my skates. Maybe it's a figment of my imagination.

I worked on the usual stuff. The session started out uncrowded so I did some backward skating, but then it filled up. I worked on crossovers, my lunge, 2-foot spin, general stuff. I spent a fair amount of time on my LFO3. One of the instructors had drawn a small half circle with the top marked, so, remember what Linda had suggested about trying a deeper edge, I tried it on that. It helped a bit! I'll have to try working on them on the hockey goal circle at Gateway tomorrow. It wasn't until I was driving home that I remembered what Anna was saying, that I'm pushing it too much. In my dream I know how it should feel, but in real life I can't get my hips to do that quick flip-reverse thing. Hmm. I'll have to think about that tomorrow.

There was a young boy there taking a lesson at the beginning of the session. He was Asian, about 10 or 11. He was very good. In particular I saw him do some of the most amazing spirals I've ever seen a male do -- really nice extension and height on the free leg, good arch in the back and head up. Really nice!

I was a little amused to look around during the thick of the session to realize that there were maybe 30 kids on the ice, and maybe 6 adults -- and I was the only one adult who was neither a parent nor an instructor. Hmmph.

Thursday, December 11, 2003


One thing I meant to comment on last night was that I was (and am) feeling really enthused about my skating right now. In general, of course, I've been pretty enthused, but I have my ups and downs like everyone. Sometimes I feel like I'm a clod, I'll never get anywhere, I'm too old, etc. But yesterday I was really up about it all. I don't think it had anything to do with my lesson (even though doing a spiral was fun) as such, it's a combination of realizing that I will be able to make good progress once I get a coach, and also realizing before my lesson that I really am making progress on my backward edges. There haven't been any major breakthroughs on them, but slow, gradual improvement. The point being that while I still can't skate backward with the alacrity of my forward skating, I at least have reason to believe that it's coming, and that I'll be there in a matter of weeks or months, not years. That's good stuff.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Spirals At Last

Today at my lesson, my usual classmate Ashley was not there. However, I didn't get Allison to myself, as there was a beginning adult skater, Peter, there (he's in the Saturday class normally). Still, I had the chance to work on a bunch of stuff I wanted to work on. I spent time on crossovers (including a brief segment on back crossovers), more time on my FO3s, and forward edges. At one point she asked me what else I'd like to do, and I told her I'd like to work on spirals but needed her to hold my hand. So we did... actually my left-foot spiral isn't too bad. My balance on my right foot was a little iffy, though, which I expected. Of course my free foot is not (yet) at hip-height, but I'm hopeful that with continued work and especially with the help of my yoga classes I'll get there.

After class I only had about 15 minutes to skate before I had to leave for choir rehearsal for the Christmas choir I'm in. I didn't do anything particularly exciting, although I did do a lunge just to keep my hand in, so to speak. I really should have tried a spiral on my own, but wasn't in the mood to risk a face-plant.

I am going to Phoenix for work on Friday; with a little luck I should be free in the afternoon to skate at Polar Ice. Saturday I'll be doing a makeup lesson (in advance) in the morning, then skating in the afternoon. Saturday night is the rink's holiday show, which should be a lot of fun.


Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I'm Too Stubborn

I went to the doctor this afternoon to have him look at my ankle and shoulder since they still hurt from my fall in October. The news was not all that bad, but not great either; and I really wish I had gone sooner. I am way too stubborn that way. He said I had definitely injured the tendons and nerves in my ankle, and my rotator cuff (shoulder). He prescribed some anti-inflammatories that he wants me to take for a couple of weeks, and gave me a referral for physical therapy. That's the bad news. The good news is that I should eventually heal just fine. The bad news is that although with exercise I should be able to strengthen the muscles (especially in my foot/ankle) to help prevent re-injury, he says that once the rotator cuff gets messed with the chances of re-injury are much higher. He did say that if I do my PT and strengthen it I should be able to avoid re-injury for many years though (otherwise he thinks it's more like months or a few years).

I'm upset, but not too much. I don't think it's going to seriously affect my skating, which is the only physical exercise I'm really concerned with right now anyway. And it's my left arm so my promising baseball career is safe :-). Anyway, from my dealings with my doctor so far I've determined that he's usually right about these things, but also that if I really do the things he tells me the prognosis is usually better than it seems.

In other news I have lost 13 lbs. since last April. I attribute that pretty much exclusively to skating. Good stuff.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Trial Lesson #2

I had my trial lesson with Linda at coffee club today. We looked at (shockingly :-)) many of the same things:

  • Stroking. Linda suggested I should try to think, not of going straight ahead, but actually pointing at first one side of the rink, then the other. Strangely enough, this simple notion seems to enable me to get more power from my stroking and be smoother too.
  • Crossovers. We spent a good 10 minutes or more looking at crossovers and related issues. We looked at the ubiquitous 1/2 swizzle pumps on a circle, and she tried various means to get me to feel more of a weight-shift between the push with the swizzling foot, then the glide on the inside foot. We also tried doing a chassé with the push to see if that would help me get the idea. I'm not sure I really got that. From there we looked at the crossovers and she held my hand a bit while I worked on getting my crossing foot to be not-so-far-forward. I had some success with this but I suspect I'm still not getting a good enough edge. We also tried the clockwise ones and she said something that Anna had said, too -- the clockwise ones are a bit stiff but in some respects better than the CCW ones. How bizarre. Anna had said (if I remember) that it was perhaps that I had fewer bad habits in that direction.
  • Edges. We spent a couple of minutes looking at my edges on a circle, and she said my LFO (I think it was) was "not bad." Coming from her that's a good compliment, I think. The inside edges are actually rather weak. I never work on them, and it shows...
  • 3-Turns. We spent our last couple of minutes looking at 3-turns. She spent some time talking to me about body position etc. and how I can approach these. She also suggested that I should try to get a deeper edge to make it easier while I'm learning these.

That was all we had time for. I spent a couple of quick moments at the end and asked her how long she'd been skating (since childhood) and teaching (7 years). She said she had learned school figures as a child and has recently (last couple of years) taken up dance. She's a biochemist by profession which explains why she is able to analyze things so well.

It was a really good lesson, and I can see that my choice is not going to be an easy one. The woman is good. I guess the positive way of looking at it is that it won't be a choice between qualified vs. not, or even good vs. better. It will probably be "good that I relate best to" vs. "good that I relate less well to". That's a good position to be in.


Sunday, December 07, 2003

Saturday Night Disco Fever

Okay, not really disco fever. I went to the public session last night since my schedule is getting wacky and I couldn't go Sat. or Sunday afternoon.

I didn't get on the ice until almost 8; I'd been there maybe 20 minutes or so when they turned the lights off and just had the disco lights (fortunatelyf for me they left the strobe off!). I had a lot of stuff I wanted to work on from my lesson Friday with Anna but in the dark I found it hard to do much of what I wanted. I did work a little bit on the LFO3, and I'm able to more-or-less do it without cheating but it's scrapey and rough. I also worked on crossovers and some other stuff. It was relatively crowded so I didn't skate backwards much.

I stayed until 10 but it wasn't a very productive session. I'm looking forward to Monday's trial lesson with Linda.

Friday, December 05, 2003

We're Not Soft!

A few days ago, Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen wrote an article critiquing the UA football team. In that article he said, "The Wildcats have become as soft as a figure skater". I wrote him to object to his simile, but didn't get a response. Today's paper contains a letter that says, in part:

By the way, Hansen's simile, "The Wildcats have become as soft as a figure skater," is ill-chosen to say the least.

The figure skaters I have seen are superbly conditioned athletes, with muscles of steel and courage to match.

For most of them, training began when they were relatively young children and required daily hours of practice, an awesome level of conditioning (physical and mental) and a passionate commitment to becoming the best that they can be.

Trial Lesson #1

I had my trial lesson with Anna today at noon. I really wanted to title this entry


or maybe


I am that jazzed about it. I'm going to try to write this down in detail so I'll remember it all.

We started by discussing my goals -- she actually asked me first what my goals are (always a good sign) and we discussed that briefly. From there we went on and looked at a number of things...

  • Stroking. She suggested I need to think more about "edge pressure." This is an important theme in Anna's technique, and it makes a lot of sense to me. For one thing, instead of focusing on a means (i.e., "bend your knees") it focuses on an outcome ("edge pressure"). To attain the outcome you have to bend your knees, but also do other stuff. It really resonated with me because one of the revelations I had some time ago (I think I blogged about it but it was probably months ago) was that it was hard for me to really just put my weight into the edge. Instead I often felt (and sometimes still feel, especially backwards) like I'm skating on eggshells, so to speak -- this is something Anna actually said, so major kudos for the insight.
  • Crossovers. We looked at them and she suggested that I really need to go ahead and turn my body more, and that my weight is still not firmly over my inside skate. She suggested just skating some edges and holding my free foot in front to get the feel of having my placement on the blade in the "juicy spot" as she put it.
  • 3-Turns. She had me do first a two-foot turn and then 3-turns (LFO and RFO). We spent quite a bit of time on this. She said that I'm trying to force it too much, and that I'm trying to do too much with my upper body and not enough with the actual edge. We worked on it for probably 10 minutes or more, with some improvement even on the RFO. As for my "cheating" issue, she didn't think it was too crucial but that it was something I needed to clean up. She also emphasized that I should feel like I'm being "pulled along" by my leading hand, and that I need to keep my head up (something mentioned elsewhere also).
  • Backward glide. We only had a few minutes for this but she said I'm not really getting my weight firmly over my skate, and that I need to feel more of a conscious change-of-center for it as I do for forward edges. She also suggested keeping my free foot straight back instead of to the side and pointing the toe. Mostly though she talked about sitting more firmly on my blade ("edge pressure" again!) and not feeling like I'm so much on the ball of my foot.

After that we had a couple of minutes to ask questions. She has competed at nationals (ice dance) and has been skating since she was 4. She grew up in Detroit and skated with Tara Lipinski and Todd Eldredge among others; as she put it it was just the right place to be. She did freestyle as well until age 12. I then asked if she was teaching any other adults besides Nicole, and she mentioned another skater (presumably a teenager) that she teaches "like an adult" -- which led me into my next question, what is different for her about teaching adults vs. kids. Without the slightest hesitation she said that adults need things more analytical, not just "do this" with a demonstration. After that I asked her if she was going to be around for a while (since I know she's in school) and she said at least for the next 2 years (which is plenty long for my purposes) and perhaps longer. I told her I had a couple other trial lessons to do and that I'd call her before Christmas and let her know. And that was the end of our lesson!

I am very, very impressed. She clearly is able to relate things to me in ways that I can understand and implement. She not only knows her stuff but she can both demonstrate and analyze for me, break things down in ways I can grasp. If I were not the thorough creature I am I would have signed up on the spot! I'm really happy and exhilarated, it was a great lesson.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Cheaters Never Prosper

I had a meeting before my lesson today, so I only got about a 5 minute warmup before my lesson -- not optimal. I usually try for 15 or 20 minutes so that I feel comfortable.

For our lesson, we started with forward crossovers, then moved to back crossovers. I still can't really do them at all, but I think it's mostly a failure of nerve. I can do the back 1/2 swizzle pumps on a circle relatively well, so I ought to be able to use that to at least do a basic crossover.

From there we looked at a number of things. We touched on the lunge again (mine is decent), then looked at a spiral. I wasn't really willing to try it full bore (a face-plant seemed too likely). I think to really try it I'd have to get somebody to hold my hand the first time or two, which Allison doesn't seem motivated to do (although to be fair I didn't ask). Classmate Ashley was able to do a reasonably okay spiral. From there we went on to look at 3-turns (they are still where they've been) and then spins. We reviewed the 2-foot spin and then tried lifting up one foot during the spin, with okay results. I'll need to practice it obviously. The lesson finished up with looking at the Waltz 8. I can't really do one since I can't do a moving 3-turn (and certainly not the RFO) but Ashley was able to more-or-less do one.

After the lesson I was able to catch Anna and remind her about our lesson on Friday, and also check on her fee and preferred method of payment. I'm really excited about Friday.

After the lesson I skated for until 8:45. It was not very crowded at all and the ice was pretty good -- it had been Zamboni'd before skate school, apparently, so it was still holding up okay. I spent a lot of time on my backward glide and backward edges. These are really coming along. They are not at the point where I can, say, glide backward for half the rink or anything (so, nowhere near my forward edges) but they are becoming more stable and reliable.

The title of this post relates to a discovery that I made about my 3-turns, and why I was having problems with the RFO3. I'd noticed already that my free foot was always too far from my skating foot on the LFO3, and I had to put my free foot down right after the turn. I spent a little time really thinking about what I was doing, and I realized that I was cheating on my LFO3. I wasn't really doing a turn-and-check like you are supposed to, instead of was sort of swinging my free leg around in order to get my body to turn. The result was a very nice trace on the ice, but the lack of check and the distance between my feet had the results I've noted. Having seen this, I tried doing some where I basically took the edge and then planted my free foot firmly behind my skating foot and left it there. Sure enough the turn was extremely difficult! I think, though, that this is an important discovery and I'm really glad I got it. I'm really tempted, though, to try it with my instructors and see what they say/notice.

I left at 8:45, but not willingly -- they kicked us out early (session was supposed to run 'til 9:30) due to hockey. I was annoyed, especially since it was relatively uncrowded and good skating conditions. Oh well.


I have not skated since Saturday. This is driving me bonkers! I'm going to have to find a way to skate on Mondays or something.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Cool Articles

Here's a cool article on adult beginners -- Rule No. 1 of ice skating: Learn to fall -- correctly.

Also, a neat article on a 5-year old skater with big dreams. Her home rink is the sister to our rink here in Tucson.