First of all, an update on the Jo-on-a-stick idea, which (ta da!) works on and off the ice for lunges. I have never really felt comfortable with lunges on the left side, so this is really a nice discovery. I immediately started thinking about that Righteous Brothers song. You know the one. . .
Second, I have a long list of things to think about from my lessons from this and last week. So maybe some of you dear readers will want to kick back, have that second cup of coffee (or martini), and simply groove with the “blue-eyed soul” of Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley. Or you can do your lunges-on-a-stick.
For my readers who can’t get enough of skating detail, here goes.
- I got some exercises to work on extending the free leg while on back outside edges. Laurie had me doing push-backs and then holding the edge with the opposite arm extended forwards. Ari approached this another way, starting with a back crossover and then really stretching back on the back outside edge. I’m to concentrate on turning out my free foot and turning my head in the new direction. Both of these are challenging; I tend to allow the free side to pull me off my circle rather than holding steady. If I were more flexible, this would be a way into those PNUIELs. But for now I’m settling for a strong upper body, a steady edge and a nice turnout. And some elasticity in my free leg action (you’ve lost that stretching feeling, oh that stretching feeling).
- I’ve been doing lots of work on the three-step mohawk pattern. Today it was inside open mohawks bringing the feet together (heel to instep) right out of the mohawk instead of extending. This is a great test of posture; I kept kicking out my free foot afterwards or pitching forward, which showed that I wasn’t exchanging my feet directly underneath me or keeping my weight towards the free leg on the exit. Ari pointed out that I was bending both knees equally while changing feet instead of bending one and then the other, like marching. This observation made for another one of those light bulb moments!
- I have also been working on outside-outside open mohawks. I am okay with going left to right, but right to left is torturous. I can’t get my left leg to step behind my right. Laurie basically had me start from scratch, really thinking about doing the edge, deepening it so that the free leg can come in at the right angle. To review, here’s a video on mohawks–not of me, unfortunately, since mine are not quite identifiably mohawks. Arghhh!
- Both coaches worked on power pulls. Laurie noticed that I was not keeping my core (body-box) neutral while skating on the right foot (how’s that for a switch?) so that the left arm was locked up and the edges were unequal. A little shifting of my torso and arm positions made a huge difference. Ari wanted more noise–that crunchy sound that happens as you pull the edge. These are coming along.
- Got some good advice on checking and unchecking threes. I’ve been really working on “wringing” my torso and as it turns out, am overdoing this on the left three turn so that I don’t unwind after I turn. Once I realized that my belly button needs to move back inside for the back inside edge, the turn was much easier. I have been challenged by both Laurie and Ari to come up to a straight free leg and turn immediately, so that is my goal for both sides.
- I have been working on brackets, counters, and rockers as well as threes. My aims right now are to be balanced over my foot, to have the proper amount of “wringing” and to feel the bend-rise-bend action that will enable the turn. My right side is soooo much better than my left. I got out my “spin” trainer and have been working a bit on this off the ice. Will report back.