jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Thinking inside the box


So this week I tried the “box” test: standing on my left leg on a fairly low box (okay, step) and then touching down in back, then in front (like this video, only the free leg moves farther back and then forward).

I tried it on the right, too, and it was fairly easy. But the left side was . . . oooh, wobbly.

Okay, I’m just going to say it. I did go through a little round of self-recrimination (“How can you skate? You can barely stand up straight!”) But luckily, I’ve got Eric Franklin’s advice down pat. Treat negative thoughts like unwanted party guests and ask them to leave. Tie them to little imaginary balloons and watch them float away.

There, all gone.

Speaking of boxes, Ari drew a little box for me on the ice to describe what he wants me to change about my stroking. With each new edge, I’ve been turning my body slightly so that I square off. That means that my body turns right with the right side, left with the left, back and forth. He wants the hips to stay forward while the new skate pushes off at an angle, so that I am not doing this extra upper body movement.

I have been trying to think through this idea, since I am struggling with this maneuver as well. You can see this in Kseniya and Oleg’s video on forward perimeter stroking:

But I confess that watching their videos repeatedly fills me with a mixture of rapture (look at their posture, their extensions, their speed!) and despair (no way could I ever do that!)

Unwanted guests and imaginary balloons. Shhhh. . .

So I am just thinking instead of my own little hip box, and trying to imagine how each new skating side moves out of one of the corners of the rectangle (or out of the tip of the triangle on the other stick-figure). . .


and stays there.

I used to think that this was a problem of not having enough turnout. It feels really unnatural to skate with my toes perpetually turned out, like a duck. But now I’m realizing that this is not really what’s going on. I can do the initial push with the required amount of turnout, but when I bring my free foot (and especially right before I bend to do the new push), I allow myself to move back into a comfy parallel position, as if I am a Lego minifig whose legs can’t rotate at all.

I tried to find a skating minifig to represent this, but could only find this one. (My son’s Lego league team actually got me a T-shirt with a similar image). When I did a search for “box hips,” though, I got a stormtrooper!


Okay, what do you think? Scary? At any rate, maybe it will make me work harder on my stroking.

Between the off-ice and on-ice exercises, I will be one boxy lady!

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 “Thinking inside the box

  1. Oh, the dreaded box low box exercises! I can’t tell you how many hours I spent doing those last year during physical therapy! I had to hop with one foot onto the box and properly balance too! UGH!! 🙂


  2. Your comment made me laugh, Eva! Glad to know I’m in good company! Also good to know that you are done with that!


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