So I had a mind-blowing lesson this week on how to push from one edge to another.
Yeah, yeah, another mind-blowing lesson, which started with forward inside swing rolls and then went on to forward progressives–well, only half a progressive, since we only worked on the pushes from inside to outside edges.
But it didn’t really matter what edges I worked on, because the basic issues are the same. I need to be farther back on my blades (pushing from the heels). I need to bend my ankles and knees more to load my pushing foot. And I need to refrain from transferring my weight to the new foot too early.
Let’s hear that last one again: I need to keep from transferring my weight to the new foot too early.
In French: ne pas transférer tôt le nouveau pied.
In Kseniya and Oleg captioning: most of the force of your push should be exerted before you transfer your weight to the new skating foot.
What I have been doing is putting my new foot down as soon as I begin the push. This cuts off the amount of force I can generate, and puts me farther forward on the new blade than I should be. And it really makes it harder to make the push flow directly into a fully extended free leg.
I’ve been doing the premature foot-thing for so long that now that it’s hard to make this change. First of all, I don’t quite have either the muscles or the timing, so it’s really, really tiring to work on this for more than a few rounds of the rink. Second, because this is so basic, I’m noticing that I transfer my weight too early on nearly every move that I do. No rest for the weary! So I’ve been trying to alternate practicing this with working on left three turns (getting a good free leg position and keeping it there, using only upper body rotation and counter-rotation to make the turn).
And third, this new pushing technique feels wrong, like I’m putting my new foot down waaay ahead of where it should be. It feels like I’m propelling myself forward into unknown space.
Between basic pushes and three turns, it’s been a long week, and no end in sight. Luckily, I can throw in a Zhulin or two when I get discouraged.
But the good thing is that developing a better push should also help with a better body position (allowing me to keep my hips underneath instead of flexed backwards), increased speed and extension, and a more controlled position on my blade and foot.
But leaping lizards, it’s scary!