jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Skating through the wobble


So today I set out to make what I thought was an easy round of bittersweet chocolate pudding. I have made this recipe before; it is thickened with egg yolks rather than cornstarch, and is fairly easy to make on the stove. But alas, I ran short of cream and the milk-cream ratio was off. Then, because it wasn’t getting thick enough, I tried adding another egg yolk later. Big mistake. I had to strain the entire thing and it didn’t set correctly.

So now I have a bowl of pudding that wobbles. It is still pretty irresistible, and I will have no trouble consuming it. As dessert, it does the job; after all, you can’t taste the wobble.

I still have the occasional wobble in my left edges as well. Things have gotten way better in the past year: while my hip are still somewhat imbalanced at times, I can usually figure out a way to fix them using one or more of these fixes:

Skating side:

  • KEY: set the blade down at the proper angle (rather than setting down on a flat and rocking into the edge)
  • hip under
  • thigh spiraled out
  • get further back on the blade
  • pull up a tad on arch to correct pronation
  • correct upper body position
  • use foot pressure and ankle bend to deepen edge

Free side:

  • full extension out of push
  • don’t hike up free hip

But that wobble is there, reminding me of a time when I would set down my (usually left) skate and have no idea where it was going.

Hopefully that scary memory as well as the wobble will retreat into the past soon. There’s something comforting about not being able to remember things (like bad dreams and where you put your keys and the fact that you were once terrified of left three turns). But in the meantime I am trying not to fixate on that little shimmy side to side once in a while. After all, it doesn’t affect me that much after the initial set-down of the edge.

Trying to skate right through the wobble, rather than letting myself worry about it too much, is a new practice strategy. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into posture corrections on the local level, but I need to get myself moving again. Now that the new blades feel pretty good and my bruises are healing up (itchy stage, though, ack!), I feel like I need to spend at least part of the time putting things back together again so I don’t look like a stop-action film in slow motion.

I have started on the Viennese Waltz, which is short enough so that I don’t have an excuse to stop in the middle. At some point I will try to do an entry about the dance itself, but for now, these notes are from the last couple of lessons and practice sessions. Feel free to skip ahead to watch the Shibutani’s exhibition program:

  • exercise for cross behinds: slide chassé, cross behind in circle (work on hip position–spiral turnout; cross below knees, don’t uncross when transferring weight)
  • backwards circles for cross in front and push (tight feet)
  • outside-outside mohawk: push into correct body position, just change feet (pivot), don’t lurch over new side
  • outside-outside-outside, strong body position on left side
  • forward progressives: turn-out of left leg on left outside edge, free leg extension (contract quad harder)
  • back progressives: equal length, push on inside (bend ankle, push across and out of circle), free leg comes in on circle
  • stay out of guy’s way on outside edge while he is doing a three turn

This week I also read an article in the New York Times that talked about a study on running injuries. The study concluded that the impact of landing affected how many injuries female recreational runners suffered; not surprisingly, the ones who ran lightly on their feet, like insects running across the water, had fewer injuries than those that pounded along. I think the equivalent for skaters is that fluid, light, continuous motion that distributes force along each edge.

I can’t demonstrate this without the wobbles getting in the way, but luckily there are internet videos aplenty to help illustrate the skating equivalent of the water strider. Yes, “Clair de Lune” has been used a lot for skating, but somehow I never get tired of it, especially when it’s used like this.

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 “Skating through the wobble

  1. I love your tip about stepping on the correct edge rather than starting on a flat and then leaning onto the edge. That’s probably why I wobble on spirals sometimes. Will have to try this out soon. Thanks, Jo!


  2. I didn’t think about spirals, but that makes perfect sense, Eva. You’ll have to report back as to whether it helped.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s