Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Skating 101

I was back on the ice today for the first time since the holiday show (12/5). I gave myself plenty of warmup time before my lesson, about an hour and 15 minutes. It was enough.

For today's lesson, Anna decided we should work on basics:
  • FO edges -- for the beginning of the lesson, I did the best FO edges I've ever done! It was astonishing, actually. I had done some just 20 or 30 minutes earlier that weren't anywhere this good. In particular, they progressed nicely up the line, I had good speed and control, and I actually looked up the whole time! Wow. I finished the line and turned to Anna and said, "I hope you would say those are passable! Those are the best I've ever done," and she just looked at me and said, "I was just going to say that!"
  • FI edges -- these are improved, but I'm still inconsistent with keeping the free hip up. Also my lobe size seems to be a bit inconsistent, they got bigger as I went down the line. Anna says I need to have my weight on my heel a bit more.
  • BO edges -- I thought these were pretty stinky, but Anna didn't think they were that bad. I'm still having to work on turning my head better and getting in position coming back to the line. Also, either on these or the BI edges (or maybe both) Anna suggested that I need to keep my free foot pointed down and that would help.
  • BI edges -- not too bad. Still lacking control, but getting there. Still need to work on keeping the hips open coming back to the line. Also Anna reminded me that I need to work harder on bringing the free foot in and in front at the beginning of the lobe. Which led us to...
  • Back stroking -- Emphasis on keeping that free hip up and making the stroke and picking up the free foot one smooth unified motion. My left foot (not surprisingly) is not too bad, right foot not good. Anna suggested thinking about drawing the heel in to the skating foot before picking up the free foot.
  • Perimeter stroking -- just a couple of laps. Anna mostly wanted to work on getting better extension, really pushing onto the skating foot with weight firmly placed on the blade, and pushing from the heel with the free toe coming off last -- I suggested this is like thinking of some ankle motion at the tail-end of the stroke. There was some improvement, but I'm frightfully inconsistent about this.
  • Forward crossovers -- still working on eliminating the toe-pushing here. At one point Anna had me do them (the CW ones, even) with my arms at my sides. Eeep! That's monstrously weird and difficult.
  • Back crossovers -- Anna mostly wants to see me getting a real cross here. She had me just start them several times, working to get a real cross. The weird thing is that I thought I had been doing the exact same thing (or at least, it felt like the exact same thing!) a while back and then Anna had me change some things. More likely I fixed some other things and now have to go back and get this back to where it was, but with those other things (mostly placing weight on the back foot better) still fixed.
  • Spins -- just a couple of quick ones to finish the lesson. The first one was pretty nice (I did a really nice one just before my lesson, too) but the subsequent ones were not, just a variety of things wrong.
For my homework while she's gone Anna wants me to work on getting a real cross on the back crossovers, and getting a better push & cross on the forward crossovers. I detected a note of .... not frustration, but emphasis that we really need to get some of these basic things in better shape. She's right, of course. I was a little frustrated that some of these things are not better, but that is my fault of course. I need to be more disciplined in my practice time than I have been lately, and crossovers, being my least favorite things, often have gotten the short end of the stick. I like working on back edges (BI in particular) so they have improved fairly quickly; but the forward crossovers... I've given them short shrift. So... that's my homework for the next month or so. Anna leaves on Monday, and I won't have another lesson until Tuesday 1/11.

In all of these basics, I really know what needs to be done for the most part. Most of the corrections I get from Anna are ones I already know (from previous comments etc.). But clearly I have not systematically worked them enough to be able to do them reliably. Fortunately I should have a reasonable amount of time over the next few weeks to hopefully get some good practice in and make some definite improvements that Anna can see when she gets back. I sure hope so.

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