jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Putting my foot down


So at my lesson today Laurie noticed that I was not following through on setting my foot and ankle down on a good edge. I am good at faking this, clearly; I even fooled myself into thinking that I was doing edges. Here was my ruse: I would put down my skate at what looked like a good angle, but then as soon as I would push, my ankle would give way and my foot would wind up on a flat rather than surging forward onto a brave new edge.


I didn’t realize I was doing this. Holding my ankle and foot strong into the edge made things much better. After I was off the ice, I tried this strong position off the ice. But I will have to keep at this; my left ankle and foot are much weaker than my right ones, and I have to really think about this action in order to do it consistently on both sides.

We are working on making my forwards and backwards progressives run-worthy in preparation for the “run” in the Viennese Waltz. Here’s the instructional video that explains the dance. You will notice that the progressives are quick (one beat for each edge) and light. This means that the edges have to take off right away.

Having stronger ankle and foot action will hopefully also allow for better knee action and better free leg extension. One thing that has been driving Laurie insane is my sloppy free leg, which tends to relax at the knee joint (even doing a little kick if I am not mindful). This problem is easier to deal with if I have a stronger edge and a deeper knee bend; driving the new skating foot forward allows for a force that offsets the extension backwards.

Some time ago, I wrote a post on oppositional tension; this would apply here. Ari used to describe this as the feeling of pulling your skating leg and free leg away from each other. Hopefully this will help me get away from plodding across the ice so cautiously. The goal is to make it look like these progressives are skipping across the ice.

Other must-dos: (a) fix my back progressive so I am actually doing a good back inside edge, and (b) make sure my body is in the circle on the entry for the forward left three turn (I am sooo close to fixing this forever, I swear.)

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.

4 thoughts on “Putting my foot down

  1. I love that you’re self-aware, Jo! I’m sure that I fake a lot of skating elements too (chocktaws mostly). “Fake it ’til you make it,” I like to say! Heh heh… Uh oh, here comes coach to correct me! 😉


  2. That is so funny, Eva! I am blithely unaware of my mistakes, and respond to coach’s corrections with “what, who, me?”


  3. Hmm, as far as the oppositional tension and Ari’s ‘pulling the free leg and the skating leg away from each other,’ my dance coach describes that as a shower curtain rod continuously pushing the free leg and skating leg apart. I like that analogy, I should think of it more often. It would improve my skating!


  4. Wow, that is an effective image. Then if the skirt hangs the right way, it’s like the curtain!


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