jo skates

Skating in the key of life

More on turning in


Day after day I’m more confused
So I look for the light in the pouring rain

I just love that song: “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray. And it just so perfectly captures how I feel about figuring out that I need to turn my toes in more.

For years I’ve been telling myself to turn out, turn out, turn out. And my body was not particularly well balanced, but heck, I thought, I’ll just turn out more and see if that helps. And then, last lesson Laurie told me to turn in my toes and put my heels out, like an inverted “V” and BOOM. Edges.

Day after day I’m more confused. But I feel like my weight is suddenly in the right place, especially on that left skate. And I feel like everything is connected: blade, foot, ankle, lower leg, thigh, hip, and even upper body. I bend my ankle and I can feel my entire body activate on that side. Oh joy. Oh rapture.

But wait! Reality check! Before I go off the deep end of enthusiasm, I suddenly realize that can’t find any pictures of ice dancers who skate with their toes turned towards each other. So what is really going on?

I suspect that what is happening is that this is not so much about turning my toes inwards as it is about the way that this angle allows me to put more pressure into the ice, especially through the back part of my blade. I don’t have to actually turn in; I can get the same feeling if I am in parallel and just push my heel outwards against the ice.


Is this what they are doing?

France Figure Skating

Why else would she be smiling? Unless that’s not really a smile. . . 

I think this is consistent with some of the hip misalignment and strengthening issues I’ve had in the past. Definitely this turning-in business feels like it kicks on some of those inner thigh muscles (I found this post from a site called “Mix Fitness” really interesting). This whole thing reminds me of a post I wrote some time ago about turning inward.

I told Ari today that I feel like this gives me more traction. Traction is good, he said. He must have truly believed that, because after my standard alternating three turns, we launched into a whole new set of exercises.

Lesson notes:

  • alternating three turns (don’t over-rotate three, don’t pitch forward)
  • cross swing roll, quick mohawk (Paso Doble): left inside edge after the mohawk has to be really quick! Don’t let your hips go out.
  • forward cross, tuck behind, forward choctaw (like in the Kilian), back cross, step forward on outside edge and repeat on other side. Remember correct arm positions, work on strong back outside edge after choctaw
  • inside mohawk, change edge, push back to back outside edge, back to forward choctaw (strong forward inside edge), repeat on other side.
  • twizzles from back outside edge. Both sides. Don’t overthink this. No hesitation between turns.

And when my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
And when I’m feelin’ blue
The guitar’s comin’ through to soothe me

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 “More on turning in

  1. Hooray for progress and edges! Keep up the awesome skating, Jo!


  2. Thanks, Eva. Hope your competition went well. I tried to comment on your blog entry, but couldn’t get it to work. I’ll try the next one.


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