jo skates

Skating in the key of life

One size doesn’t fit all


So another adult skater asked me some time ago about my Transpack skate bag. I told her that I appreciated having my skates in those mesh pockets and separated from the inner compartment. While I wish there were some separate compartments for organizing and a bit more space for clothes and stuff, it’s fairly comfortable to carry around and I can even stick my laptop in there if I need to.

What I said must have convinced her, because she got one too. It’s also purple, but she was kind enough to put a ribbon on it so we could tell them apart. I took a picture of them together and noticed that hers is slightly thinner and taller. What’s with that?


This got me thinking about how everyone’s journey to skating excellence–as well as the baggage they carry–is going to be different. In a week in which it rained every single day, and the temperatures have dropped back down into the forties, and I have to wear four layers of clothing at the rink (only two of which come off after warming up), that is important to remember.

It was also a week in which I wiped out several times doing fairly basic moves, and in which I just couldn’t seem to get over my edges. I still have what feels like a little glitch or delay after transferring my weight or doing turns. I am working on trying to feel connected and aligned more immediately when I change my position or shift my weight. Getting better, but it clearly is a multi-stage process, with lots of ups and downs.


Hate the downs! Really hate them! But let’s have a little reflection. I know I am really good at reflection, even at time when I am not so good at skating. I could have avoided some of this frustration.

I can deal with being off balance and not feeling aligned.  I’ve been dealing with those things my entire skating life. But what I get worked up about is feeling like I don’t know what to do to make things better, when in fact I know very well what to do in order to improve. Two areas in particular that I didn’t follow through on: making sure I am sufficiently warmed up and doing my foot/ankle exercises.  This week I got really busy with some work projects, and rushed or neglected both my on- and off-ice warmups. I also spent way too much time hunched over my computer and stressing out about work.

This really made a difference in how skating felt. And if there’s anything that brings me down, it’s when work interferes with skating!

So hopefully this week will calm down a bit and I can report back on a happier ice time. In the meantime, it’s lesson notes!

  • inside threes (engage glutes and hamstrings, not quads; let upper body follow curve)
  • rising and sinking on progressives; really extend through that push (think about making the big “ice cream scoop”); work on really pushing on that right inside edge (go for the “c”)
  • Viennese mohawk, hold firm on that outside edge and bring new foot in (practice just this part); don’t push off with free leg too far behid
  • three step inside mohawk pattern
  • outside three, push back, back cross, back outside three, toe step and repeat (bend and push out of the three)
  • outside three, two back crosses, step forward into forward cross, repeat
  • forward inside three, back outside three (make sure you do an actual back outside edge, don’t rush to get into the rotation for the back three)
  • forwards and backwards perimeter stroking (think about the pattern)
  • inside mohawk, back outside three (really push onto that back outside edge)
  • forward inside three, back outside three (allow free leg to rotate open and then come behind)
  • European man’s pattern: skate through, not around the three.

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.

8 thoughts on “One size doesn’t fit all

  1. I love the insights you drew here – how we are all on a different journey and carry different baggage. That is so, so true! Even when you have a bad (skating) day, remember that any day on the ice is better than no days on the ice. And that there is always someone out there who wants to skate like you. Keep your head up – you are making wonderful progress!! It’s just hard to see on a daily basis. 🙂


  2. Ah, Eva, thanks for the great encouragement, as always! You are so right that any day skating is so much better than no skating at all. I would even miss being a grouch about skating! Even if there’s baggage involved, it’s still my baggage after all!


  3. I have to remind myself a lot that everyone learns at different rates. Some people pick things up right away. And others, like me, not so much. I suffer from the comparison bug, but the only person I need to compare myself to is my prior self, to see improvement. And even then, sometimes I have off days. Easier said than done sometimes, tho.


  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one out there feeling like improvement is taking a long time. On those off days, I even compare myself with my (better) self! The comparison bug is hard to overcome–wish we had some kind of repellant we could just spray on. Hope you’re enjoying the skating nonetheless.


  5. Love The Graph!!! 🙂


  6. Hmm, checking out that graph makes me think it might be tough once I finally get around to learning the European. I hope you can connect with the joy of skating, the simple freedom of the glide, on some of those tougher days. (BTW my son has the Transpack, too, though not in purple).


  7. Mary, you HAVE to have a better time with the European than I did! Lots of my skating friends actually really like that dance. And there’s limited amounts of suffering to go around, so I’ve used it up (just kidding, fortunately, there’s endless amounts of whining available). You will have to report back on how it goes. And my graph is going up this week, so thanks for your good wishes!


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