Thursday’s quiz: what do all these ice dancers have in common?
a. Gorgeous edges.
b. Gorgeous skating costumes.
c. Gorgeous partners.
d. Gorgeous flowing (or sculpted) locks.
e. Ankles that bend past 90 degrees.
f. All of the above.
So guess which of these answers I’m obsessed by these days?
I’ve been religiously doing my ankle mobility exercises and calf raises, doing ankle massage to reduce scar tissue, and dutifully allowing my ankles to bend and my shins to press forward whenever possible. The result is that I have realized that my lack of ankle mobility and my imposter edges are related.
When I bend my ankle more, my weight feels like it shifts forward towards the ball of my foot. That means (a) that I can actually apply pressure, or “press” into the ice, in order to deepen my edges, and (b) that instead of being back on my skate, my body is centered more towards the part of the blade that has more curve to it: not as far up as the “spin rocker” but farther up than I have been skating.
I feel like working on getting more ankle bend will lead to a win-win situation. This helps me feel more connection between my blade and the rest of my body (including being able to push much more through my entire leg). I also feel like my turns happen more easily because I can deepen my edges by using my ankles rather than the rest of my body.
The challenge will be to maintain and ingrain these new habits of ankle-bending. I have been trying to make myself hyper-conscious of what I am doing. It’s like having to rebuild my entire skating repertoire from the ground up again.
So I’m starting from scratch–and not even doing a spin! Will report back with lesson notes and maybe an update on my flowing locks as well.
May 12, 2017 at 8:25 am
Ankle bending is hard – it’s not intuitive and I know several of us struggle with this. Keep us posted on your progress, Jo!
May 12, 2017 at 8:57 am
I’m curious to know whether this is more of an issue in ice dancing than freestyle. Will definitely try to figure this out! Thanks, Eva!