jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Dem bones


So another Halloween has come and gone, and I’m left with a pile of candy that I’m trying not to eat and the image of those paper skeletons that you fasten together at the joints so that their bones can move every which way.


Last year I wrote a post that talked about where my femur inserts into my hip (farther back from where I thought it would be). This year I am conjuring up that image again, which helps in moving my left femur deeper into the hip joint. The place where the top of my femur should insert into the hip is not really where I thought it was, but farther back and around to the side.


I am struck by how little I have to move my femur in the hip socket in order to make everything function so much better on the ice. Just a few millimeters and degrees of rotation, and I am suddenly over my hip. I can even turn out my leg (well, not a lot, but still. . . )

Everything feels dramatically different. I am working on many of the same basic things, but it’s like I have an entirely different body.

Each year is different. Two years ago at this time was full of competition plans and choreography and costume designs. Last fall I was in full damage control mode. I was in a lot of pain; between my mom’s death, getting injured, and other unfortunate events, I pretty much felt like the world had fallen in.

This year I’m marveling at how exciting it is to get my femur so nicely situated in its socket.

This leads me to wonder what life will be like a year from now. Will I still be obsessed with alignment? Will I ever make it back to ice dancing? Will this blog be filled with graphic anatomical drawings or attractive skating photos? Will I still be skating at all?

Que sera, sera. Lesson items coming up now.

  • Alternating forward outside edges. This is to practice a consistently strong upper body position (with correct arms checked and strong and complete rotation of the core through the half circle).  I also need to work on setting the outside edge from the get-go (not dropping the knees in), bringing my foot in and staying in a T-position, and really bending.
  • Forward swing rolls. I need to have a strong checked initial position, then use the rise on the skating knee to allow the swing happen more naturally, rather than forcibly swinging my free leg.
  • Push back on outside edges with arms (1) at 90 degrees and (2) open. Use the arms and upper body to shape the edge. (Note to self: Laurie’s advice from a previous lesson is to work on the push to a good outside edge–really load the pushing foot, then allow it to travel back and around. Also keep the free leg turned out and think about the free hip and skating hip as being in tension, but the free hip wins).
  • New exercise from Ari: forward inside 3, cross in front, change edge, cross in front, back inside three; switch sides.
  • Three-step inside mohawk pattern (lean towards new direction; feet together; more speed; march, don’t fall to new edge)
  • Inside mohawk, push to back outside (set outside edge and get good push), back outside three (make sure head and upper body are rotated and simply turn rest of body into checked position)

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 “Dem bones

  1. I hope you continue skating and get back to ice dancing. And no matter what you’re doing on the ice, I think understanding the human anatomy is important. It helps us understand the “how” and “why” our coaches are asking us to do place our arms/head/legs/etc in certain positions to achieve the desired result.


  2. Thanks, Eva! I’ve been having so much fun blogging that it’s hard to think about giving up on these skating thoughts! And the anatomy lessons do help, strange as it seems.


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