jo skates

Skating in the key of life

The perils of multi-tasking


Busy weekend! I spent some of my time getting one son ready for camp (forgot registration forms), running another back and forth to an ultimate frisbee tournament (forgot water bottle), taking photos of the tournament players (forgot the sunscreen), organizing drawers (oh, is that where that shirt went!), and trying to get some work done in between (probably better off forgotten).

There are all kinds of alerts out about “acquired attention deficit disorder”: the ways that too many distractions (usually technological) can lead people to lose the ability to focus and complete tasks. So I’m wondering whether trying to schedule college campus visits, answer email (forgot about that one from three months ago still in my in-box!), and write this blog entry (while I’m watching Usain Bolt run really really really fast) will produce a lasting inability to concentrate.

At least they say that exercise is good for the brain. This means that as soon as I learn how to skate without thinking so hard about it, I will be fine. The problem is that these days just doing simple moves can feel like I’m multi-tasking, especially if I try to think about what all my errant body parts are doing.

I’ve got so many issues! There’s my feet (making my left arch short and my right one long). And of course the ankles bending and the knees lined up, and the femur over the middle of the skate, and the glutes engaged so that my hips don’t go back. And there’s keeping my level “Barbie” hips and keeping the front of said hips (or the pelvic “box” or “triangle”) “flat.” And now there’s the making sure my left lower ribs don’t stick out. All this on just a simple edge.

The problem is that I can’t keep even two or three of these ideas going at once without feeling like steam will start coming out of my ears. Luckily, I have coaches who identify the most pressing problem of the moment.

On Friday, mine was getting on edges immediately, rather than setting my blade down on a flat and then rocking over. Ari had me do a new exercise (at least I think it’s new–or maybe it’s one I’ve forgotten!) that involves cross rolls onto an immediate outside edge that goes around in a tight circle. On my lesson I worked on doing this exercise forwards, then backwards.

For now, I have to concentrate on putting my weight directly over my angled blade with a strong foot and ankle position. Then I just have to maintain that strong position. It’s hard to believe it, but in all these years of skating I don’t think I’ve really learned to use my feet in this way before. I have to think really hard about how I set my foot down, but if I get it right, the deep edge just sort of happens without forcing the edge with my hips.

I know that I have written about this before (even posted this picture).


But what has changed is my awareness and control of what’s going on in my feet. By George, I think I will really get it now!

I got some other things to work on, but for now, I will just stick to this one idea. Maybe I will become a skating minimalist. At any rate, I am excited to just have one only goal for the immediate future. Forget trying to multi-task. Imagine Usain Bolt saying “Usain, just run fast!”



Michele and Tam have to hold me up!

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 “The perils of multi-tasking

  1. What’s really interesting about skating is that a lot of it is going off of the ‘feel.’ A coach can explain things and show you how something is done, but until you can experience it yourself, you won’t get it. Plus, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to just shut your brain off and let your body do its thing. Often times our brains get in the way of the body, and that results in failed elements. 🙂


  2. So true! I’ve been accused many times of thinking too much. On the other hand, I also have a tendency to sort of float through things haphazardly (la di dah di dah). I guess finding the right balance of mind-body is the most important thing.


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