jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Everything old is new again


Sometimes right after my lessons I feel like my brain is on skating overload. I’ve actually been getting off the ice and writing down everything I have worked on, then sending it to myself in an email message.

But today I must have hit the wrong button because the message I sent myself was blank.

Have no fear. Most of the things I’m working on are things I have already had lessons on before.  Sometimes I feel as though I should just be able to hit “replay” in my brain to generate a lesson that I’ve already had. I would, that is, if I weren’t the kind of person who writes things down on post-it notes and then promptly forgets where I’ve stuck them. (Or who writes blank email messages to myself).

Where was I going with this? Oh, now it’s gone.

Like the beautiful autumn leaves, here one day and now the trees are like skeletons, holding up their bare branches towards the sky as if wondering where those leaves went.

So beautiful! All gone now. . .

So beautiful! All gone now. . .

My excuses are that there are lots of changes going on in my skating in the past few weeks: adjustments in my posture, tweaks to this edge or that turn, and a skate sharpening on top of that.  And a ton of things to do at work and at home these days. No wonder I can’t remember what edge I was supposed to be on.

But even the days that things are “off” give me some new perspectives on my basics. When the leaves drop off, then the branches are exposed. I can only hope that if I get these basics into my head and my body, they will hold me upright even when I can’t remember what it is that I am supposed to be doing.

So basics (followed by a few leaves as examples):

Don’t wait; get on a real edge. I was working on two-foot and then one-foot rockers, and realizing that I don’t always set my edge right off the bat. This means actually feeling the edge in my ankle and foot, rather than just sort of vaguely steering my body around a circle.

I have also been working on my left back outside edge, which is a problem edge. Laurie has me just striking a back outside edge and then pulsing gently up and down on the knee.  Hey, Bert Wright used to make me do this too! And that was, gosh, twenty-eight years ago?

Deepen the circle before turns. Don’t let your free leg pull you off the circle. I have been allowing my edges to flatten or even change over just before before many turns, instead of deepening the edge (or at least holding steady). This has something to do with the way I allow my free hip to interfere with my skating hip, so it helps to think about keeping my sit bones as close together as possible. I will have to write another entry on this anatomical image, after I’ve given it a little thought.

Lean into the circle. Perimeter stroking. Have a better sense of direction on the circles and some more definite knee action also helps with this.

Don’t allow your torso to fall in or forward. The energy moves through your hips and thighbones on the skating side. As I’m getting a better push and really using my pushing foot, I also have to think about what happens as the free foot comes in: the skating side hip rotates under (“nutation” or simply, “tailbone down“).

Edge going in, edge going out. Both should be strong. This is important on outside closed mohawks (like in the Foxtrot/Silver tango) in which I still tend to drop from one edge to another.

I’m am sure that some of this repeats things I’ve written in this blog before. But we’ll just think of it as the blogging equivalent of my replay button. For my next post, I’ll think of something new and different, promise!


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 “Everything old is new again

  1. Great tips, Jo! I know I am definitely guilty of falling on flats so I need to make sure I follow your “edge in, edge out” tip above. 🙂


  2. Thanks, Eva! Glad you’re back on the ice again–take it easy!


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