jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Misplaced priorities


So on my last lesson Ari commented that on my back inside three turns I had more rotational speed than “directional” or “linear” speed. Wow! No wonder he is always telling me to go faster and lean more, and I keep thinking that I’m just zooming along when actually I’m just spinning in place.

Okay, not really in place; however, it is a case of putting my energy into turning when I should be just moving ahead. I try to do the turn by twisting my entire body into it, which means I basically come to a grinding halt after I turn. And twisting into it means I gotta twist out of it. Lucky I’m not a pipe cleaner!

This is yet another case in which I thought I had all the right priorities, but wound up going in the wrong direction. Like today when I went to Trader Joe’s: when I looked at the receipt, well over half of it was for chocolate.

I did get bananas and an eggplant, I swear. And it was dark chocolate, the good kind. Well, most of it.

Let’s not dwell on my chocolate addiction, okay? Now that I have this realization that I actually have to skate forward or backward into the edge rather than turning my body into my edges, I think I will finally have the idea of “checking” down.

My other big reveal is from my lesson with Laurie, when she pointed out that I am not extending my right leg back properly when I push onto a forward left outside edge. By properly, I mean that I am not engaging my glutes to lift my right free leg; instead I am dropping the free side down, which in turn pulls my hips out of whack. This sounds suspiciously like it’s tied to problems with my left hip misalignment. But I’m determined not to fixate too much on that old problem and instead tackle this as a new one–even if it’s related.

So a new priority is to work on arabesques and spirals again. I’ll be scouting around for some good off-ice exercises. If anyone has one to share, please comment!

Lesson notes:

  • Twizzles (inside edge entry): open body on entry, don’t do a big deep inside edge, free foot travels back first (doesn’t draw in from side)
  • Exercise 1: Mohawk, back inside three, extend free leg, cross, repeat  (this is the one where you need more directional speed). Also work on hitting the same position as you on that cross, cross, cross, deep outside edge exercise (open to outside rather than letting your hips go square).
  • Exercise 2: Back cross, inside three, back cross, change to outside edge, back cross, inside three on other side, repeat. Work more on those back crosses (try the sickle  foot; keep hips forward and under).
  • Pre-juvenile perimeter back pattern: weight on bent knee inside edge, free foot slightly ahead, draw foot in, push.

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 “Misplaced priorities

  1. There is nothing wrong with buying lots of chocolate. All those antioxidants are totally good for you (at least that is what I tell myself). For spirals, you can try an exercise that ballerinas use for their arabesques. Stand with two hands on a waist to shoulder-high surface (like a couch or low counter). Face the couch/counter with your body completely square to it. Swing one leg forward and then forcefully kick it behind you like a pendulum. The goal is not to slouch your upper body and keep it still. Repeat 10x on both legs and try doing it daily. It *should* help you get those spirals/landing positions higher. 🙂


  2. Ooh, Eva, good one! I just did the exercise you suggested and I can feel the glutes kicking in. It’s pretty easy to do, too. Now for some chocolate…


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