jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Weight over the inside circle redux

Leave a comment

Did you ever had one of those moments when someone said something to you and the whole world changed?

I feel like that is happening with astonishing regularity on my lessons these days. Today during my lesson I was having trouble holding a back inside edge, and told Ari that I felt like I couldn’t get the weight over my inside edge.  He said, “That’s because it doesn’t go there, it goes over the other leg (that isn’t on the ice).”  As it turns out, I have been struggling to place my center of gravity over the skating foot, when in reality it should feel as though it is over the free side.


The rule of thumb is that if you imagine both sides of your body as defining the lobe (imagine being on two feet and creating parallel circles), the weight should fall over the side that is creating the inside circle. This is true regardless of whether that is the foot that is actually on the ice.

Gracie Gold's triple lutz

Gracie Gold’s triple lutz

So on forward and backward outside edges–say, on the takeoff and landings of certain jumps like axels and lutzes–this seems pretty straightforward because you keep the weight over and lean into the skating edge. But what I wasn’t getting was the idea of having that weight and lean over the free side while on the inside edge. So when I was doing back inside edges out of 3-turns, for instance, I kept shifting my weight so that my center of gravity moved out of the circle, when in reality all I needed to do was keep the weight inside. This is consistent with back crossovers, progressives or chassés; you don’t keep shifting back and forth between the two sides as you change feet. But somehow this I didn’t get the memo about other inside edges; I kept trying to force my weight over my skating side.

What a difference this makes on that left forward inside edge onto the kilian choctaw! I am no longer fighting the edge. And since I’m putting my weight over the right side, I know exactly where that right foot will be for the edge out of the choctaw. You can even see this setup in this charming picture of frogs doing the kilian (you see, I’m not the only one with a whimsical skating imagination, I’m just not able to draw the things I see).

Of course, Ari reminded me that he’s told me this before, probably multiple times. But I seem to have a weird form of skating amnesia, or the skating equivalent of that movie, Groundhog Day. He has to keep telling me the same things over and over.  In order to make it one of my mantras, I’ve been trying to think of a pithy way to phrase this concept.  What it feels like, really, is that I’m now skating with both halves of my body, rather than with one at a time: kind of like two-footing everything, only with only one foot on the ice.  So maybe “skate with both halves?” “Skate on two feet but pick up one of them?”

The phrasing eludes me. So I’ll end with a list of things from my lesson today in preparation for another Groundhog Day tomorrow.  In addition to more three turns, we worked on some step combinations; here’s a list :

  • inside mohawk, back outside, step forward on outside. . . oops, I forgot the rest of that one (see what I mean about amnesia?)
  • alternating inside three, outside back three (on the left side I need to work on allow the skating side to come around and free side to open–turn out that free foot, Jo).
  • inside mohawk, push back, outside back three, repeat on other side. Need more speed.
  • there was a variation on one of these that involved a back inside three after the inside mohawk, followed by a progressive??? Oh dear. Maybe it will come back to me when I’m on the ice again.

In the meantime, Ari keeps saying:

If you don’t skate with speed, what’s the point?

Worth remembering!

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s