jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Creepers and the boot-thing


Things on my left side seem to have improved quite a bit in the past few months.

I feel like I can finally get my left hip underneath me a certain percentage of the time. My left forward three turn has improved to the point that, even though I am still holding my breath, it is sometimes better than the right forward three. (Maybe I should try holding my breath on the right side.)

I’m really enjoying a lot of these exercises (especially the back crossover, back inside to outside change edge pattern that no longer includes a little Charleston on the free leg). I’ve also been working on stroking again and actually enjoying it. Laurie has been stressing the full rise up on the knee (coming all the way up in order to stack everything up) and how to keep my speed by doing what she calls a “glide pull” (like an edge pull). I have to think about a rope tied to my skating ankle, pulling it forward. This is really fun and helps me keep the pressure into the ice. I’m not quite flying yet, but I think I have more speed and control.

But then again, I got several new exercises from Ari:

  • left outside f. three turn, change edge, left outside b. three turn, push to right inside f three turn, change edge, right inside b. three turn, back extension, cross stroke, repeat
  • do a swing roll into other side and repeat the previous sequence starting with a right outside three.
  • alternating double threes (f. outside, b. inside)
  • b. crossover onto outside edge, b. outside three, f. inside three, change edge and repeat on other side
  • b. crossover onto inside edge, b. inside three, f. outside three, change edge and repeat on other side

Argghhh! I’m fine on the right side, but on the left I lose all my speed. And my lean. And my balance. And my dignity.

I turn into a creeper, slowly moving down one corner of the rink.

Excuse me for a moment while I figure out how to do a left back outside edge and then turn my head counter-clockwise (again, that Jo-prioception is totally missing!). This is so that I can turn a back outside three without pitching forward. Midway through the lesson, I was wondering when it would all be over.

Luckily, practice today got better, but I am still a creeper. So I soldiered on and muttered brave words to myself under my breath. Keep your hip underneath you and remember where you should be on your blade. Keep your feet in parallel (or turned in on b. inside threes) rather than turning your free foot out. Do the edge with your skate, not with your body. Look in the direction of travel. Use the force, Luke (oh wait, how did that get in there?)

And then I remembered the boot-thing. You know, that thing that Ari keeps talking about, when you check whether you are on an edge by feeling the pressure of the top of the boot on the opposite side of your ankle. It’s fantastic for back cross strokes, by the way. And it really helps on the Kilian too.

Anyway, the boot-thing helps with these exercises too. Until I’m brave enough to get a little more speed, it will at least help me get on an edge when I’m only on what Star Trek calls impulse power (geek alert!)

Until I get some more confidence and speed in these booster engines, I’ll just have to keep on creeping on.

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.

2 thoughts on “Creepers and the boot-thing

  1. Wow – those exercises sound incredibly challenging! Although I technically passed the double threes in my test, I still feel like they could use a lot of work. Ari’s exercises sound like they could definitely help!


  2. I’m so impressed to hear you passed the “double three” challenge. We could all use some work, but that’s a milestone!


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