jo skates

Skating in the key of life

At the boards


So I went to slice up some chicken for my favorite chicken shawarma recipe today. So easy, so quick–unless you get distracted. After a minute of doing this, I realized that I was using the wrong side of the knife. Nice indentation, but no results. Luckily once I realized what I was doing, the rest of the cutting was easy. Into the marinade went the chicken, and now, a few hours later, I just popped it in the oven. Delicious!

Similarly, I have been realizing that some of my many skating faux pas involve some basic errors in position and their accompanying misconceptions. Take that cross behind (tuck behind) from forward outside to forward inside. I was trying to cross by putting one leg in back of the other, which leads to both inconsistent and precarious edges. The correct position is knees basically side-by-side (although one is slightly back) rather than one behind the other.

Every so often my coaches tell me to go over to the boards and I know it’s going to be some  fundamental correction. For cross behinds, Laurie is having me practice (1) the action of bringing in my new skate so that I touch my ankle to the back of the old skate, (2) getting my new skate in the correct position (heel down), and (3) simply bringing up the old skate, rather than trying to step forward onto it.

(That last move feels like I’m rubbing my calves and shins together, which makes me wonder if some of these errors have developed out of a body-aversion thing in which I have successfully avoided ever really bringing my feet together–but I’ll save that for another post, maybe post-therapy.)

Once I am board-certified in these positions (haha!), I try to do the same thing moving on the ice. Whoa, that was scary!

Sometimes the benefits of these corrections don’t kick in until much later. For some time now, I have been trying to get better lean on my edges, mostly by changing my upper body position.  But the aha! moment on my lesson this week was when Laurie told me to try pushing my skating hip down and out farther into the circle underneath me. Voilà, much better lean!

I remember an earlier lesson with Laurie on this position at the boards (as well as a scary exhilarating lesson with Ari on progressives on a circle in which he pushed on my hip to try to get me to feel this position). So now it’s finally kicking in. Hooray!

Better lean makes for some really enjoyable edges. Can’t wait to try this out this week–and eat that leftover chicken shawarma when I get done. One basic rule that we learn both at and away from the boards: hungry skaters need fuel!


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 “At the boards

  1. Some how it’s never occurred to me that I could practice tuck behinds at the boards–thanks for the tip!


  2. Are the “cross behinds” essentially backwards cross-strokes? If so, yes, they are hard. Most of us want to put those toe picks in rather than the heel. They feel less secure with the heel down first, don’t they?


  3. They are more like cross steps–no pushing involved. It does involve what feels like putting my heel down first. I don’t think they are meant to be hard but for some reason doing them correctly has eluded me. Maybe I’ve just learned to do them in the wrong way and can’t get my head around doing them more simply. Grrr!!!


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