Ankles aweigh, my skates, ankles aweigh!
Nothing like a little Navy tune that gets stuck in your head, just begging for another skating allusion. In case you were wondering, “aweigh” here is an archaic expression meaning that one has completed the action of heaving, hoisting, and/or raising. So this is not about how heavy my ankles are. Glad we got that settled.
I watched some gold-level ice dancers take some compulsory tests today. It’s interesting to see what they are doing in both their pair and solo patterns and then try to think about what I can improve in my own skating. In general, they have much more speed, bigger patterns, more controlled edges, and much better extensions than I do. (They also have supple teenage bodies and perfect hair. And gorgeous dresses with lots of sparkle. And proud mothers sitting in the stands watching them and probably taking them out for dinner afterwards.)
There is at least one other obvious distinction that I can use productively. (This is important, since I have no desire to feel envious of kids who are young enough to be my grandchildren and yet who have probably have spent way more hours skating than I have.) They definitely used their ankles to their advantage on both pushes and edges. You could really see the better skaters use their ankles to deepen those curves and get traction on pushes, especially when they got nervous and “slippy.”
So my current obsession with my ankles is more of a development of things I’ve said before than a particularly new revelation. But I am definitely inspired now, both by watching these tests and by some of the things I’ve been reading about the importance of strong and engaged ankles for skaters.
I found a video with what look like very promising ankle exercises.
I don’t think I’ll use the soundtrack (unless I need to get that Navy song out of my head), but I’m definitely trying out the first set tonight.