Still working on those basics! And I am not even talking about basic moves. I mean basic movement.
At my last lesson with Laurie, two things became clear: (1) I am still not rotating my body and checking correctly on my three turns, especially on the right side, and (2) I am still not pushing correctly, especially from the left foot to the right. These things are of course related (as in, one is bad and two makes one worse). But since they involve different muscle groups, I’ll just target one at a time.
First, the upper body twist. Instead of twisting shoulders against hips and rising to the ball of the foot to turn my threes, I was dropping my weight forward and into the circle. Part of this is ingrained habit and part of it is muscle control and strength. When I finally started twisting sufficiently, I realized how underdeveloped my core-twisting muscles are.
In several posts I wrote three years ago, I described having trouble rotating or even turning my head to the right. Since then I’ve realized that this is only going to get worse unless I actively take myself outside of my comfort zone. This means working on and off the ice to make sure that I am actually using all the muscles (including abdominal, back, and shoulders) that are involved in twisting the torso.
I’ve been working on brackets too, and thinking a lot about the muscles that rotate the femur in the hip joint. But firmly rotating the torso is just as important in making these turns happen.
My second back-to-basics correction has to do with pushing onto my right outside edge. Laurie pointed out that I am doing something very strange with my left pushing side; instead of keeping my left side planted firmly over that inner pushing edge, I somehow release that side and even turn the pushing hip and foot out. This results in a contorted position that somehow has disguised itself as a push.
After correcting this, I realized that some of this may come from that misalignment that I’ve worked so hard to correct. The good news is that I can use some of the same techniques (like activating the adductors, and sinking the femur deeper into the hip joint) to get a better position and more stable push.
The bad news is that I can’t let my guard down on this. Constant vigilance! If I do let down my guard, it’s like I settle immediately into a hip position that is a lot like “man-spreading” and just as awkward.
It will be a week of core-twisting and “unspreading” for me! Will try to report back soon.