This past month has been a challenging skating month. I’ve been away from the ice for a week or so at a time, and on this last trip I came back with a bad cold that still seems to be hanging on. Ugh.
But the skating I have done seems to be moving in a really good direction–literally! For one, I am much more aligned than I have been for a long time (more on that in a minute). I also feel like I have much more awareness of what’s going on in different parts of my body. Rather trying to balance in a hit-or-miss fashion, I am actively moving over my skate.
Instead of hitting an edge and then having it slowly decay underneath me, I am using knee and ankle bend to change depth or even accelerate. I don’t have perfect control over this process, but it’s a start.
The other exciting development this month came after a lesson in which Laurie told me that I was still pitching forward a bit. This definitely was more subtle than the bobbing bird thing I used to do, but still there nonetheless. We talked about trying to keep my core more stable and ribcage lifted, and I suddenly remembered something that PT Sarah has us do in her Pilates class: to create space, or lengthen the space, between the “back dimples” and the kidneys.
Despite my having a sister who’s a nephrologist, I was only vaguely aware of where my kidneys were before Sarah kept talking about them. If you’re like me, this diagram might help. They’re roughly the same plane as the bottom ribs in the front.
Anyway, thinking about lengthening this space in the lower back really helps to stabilize my core while skating. In fact, it puts me into a much improved skating position overall.
I have done two practice sessions now focusing on this back-dimple-to-kidney ratio (BDKR) as well as trying to maintain flow over my edge. And do you know what? The half-life of my edges is now really, really long. I can just keep going and going and . . .
Sort of like the opening of this Ray Chen video (love the eyes)–just when you think the music has died away, it takes off.
- inside loops: don’t try to make them so deep, or allow the skating foot to move away to the outside of your body (don’t fall into the circle).
- back crosses: stabilize core and don’t allow shoulders/arms to dip
- inside threes: work on timing and pressure of inside edge, don’t over-rotate or fall into circle
Pictures of my friends!