jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Ms. Stiff


Okay, I know that sounds like a tongue twister. But it’s really the only way to describe how I’m feeling these days on my forward power pulls, especially on the right side. Laurie said today that it looks like I’m trying to skate with my hips locked in one position, which means that basically I am in the skating equivalent of a straitjacket.

There is only a fine line between refined and restrained. I have been so focused on trying to keep my body positioned in a certain way over my hip that I’m not allowing the proper movement in the joint. Laurie had me doing power pulls with my hands clasped behind my back so I couldn’t use my shoulders to pull my body around. After the initial terror wore off, I was able to do some tentative edges. But it felt completely weird.

This got me thinking about how much of skating is controlling one’s every move, and how much is going with the flow. It is so hard to know when I can just be loose-goosey, especially when I feel like certain body parts (arms! head! free leg!) are constantly flying about in unexpected ways.

But too much control is not good for the mind or body. For one, it’s exhausting to try to control everything all the time. Brain gets that fried feeling, and finally gives up. For two, body can’t handle all those different commands. Muscles clench and stumble. I may as well have smoke coming out of my ears.

It’s the skating equivalent of a tongue twister. Speaking of which, here are my two favorites (especially the second):

The sixth sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.

Miss Bixby licks mixed biscuits.

And just for fun, I’m going to put in this video that my son told me to include. I was going to save it for an other post on falling down, but that seems like jinxing myself. So here it is now.

Oh, for 16.6% of Earth’s gravity!

Lesson notes:

  • swing roll, change mohawk, change of edge, step forward (work on just the change of edge to get control over the flat part, try with foot in front, then behind like in Fiesta tango)
  • inside brackets (work on turned in position)
  • three turn, change edge, cross in front, step forward and repeat (work on better curves on change edge part)
  • inside mohawk, back outside three (make sure you are always pushing immediately from inside edge to mohawk)
  • forward progressives (don’t twist too much, awareness of hip position, work on loading feet)
  • back crossovers ( weight inside, real push, real transfer, don’t let arms get too high)
  • forward power pulls (don’t lock hips, allow for movement of hips and ribs, arms down; do these with feet, not with rest of body)
  • backwards power pulls (eyes 75 feet ahead, use free leg on edge to define direction)

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.

4 thoughts on “Ms. Stiff

  1. Ah, the dreaded power pulls with the hands behind your back! I’ve done those, plus ones with the hands above the head. They are HARD! Sometimes I wish I had a straitjacket while skating – it might actually improve my upper body posture and prevent my arms from causing bad/incorrect positions. From your lesson notes, it definitely looks like we are working on the same things right now!


  2. Glad to have your company on this one, Eva. I have not tried hands above the head, but may have to throw up my hands in frustration! Be sure to report back on progress on your power pulls!


  3. You two have both done power pulls with your hands behind your back (shudder)? I have such a big tendency to overuse my shoulders that the idea fills me with fear. I just keep hoping that practice, practice is going to keep the smoke coming from my ears (or more true to me, the blankout). That first tongue twister is indeed one of the hardest, the second I hadn’t heard of but how fun to know! We’ll have to practice at dinner. And as for the astronaut video, I’ll share that too .The dadgum it is so delightfully retro, and my husband has a huge soft spot for the space program.


  4. Mary, I use my shoulders so much in skating that when you take them away, I have no idea how to do anything! Love the idea of the blankout, it’s probably a better body part to keep in mind when skating. Maybe some smoke signals will put things to rights, hahahaha! Glad you liked the video!


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