So I must be back in some kind of presentable shape, because this week both Laurie and Ari are telling me to up my game.
Ari assigned me the backward double three (Intermediate MITF) and eight-step mohawk (Juvenile MITF) sequences, complete with introductory and exit edges. The objectives are to skate an actual pattern rather than just do edges in isolation. To that same end, Laurie gave me some exercises to try to get me just to move more confidently and to think about choreography rather than just basic technique. These involve basic edges and turns, but with different arm and upper body movements. Once I started doing some of them, she reminded me that I used to do things like that all the time.
So the fact that both coaches are getting sick and tired of watching me skate tiny circles in a tentative fashion is probably a good sign, even though I have been enjoying my leisure-filled, perspiration-free skating. Okay, I guess break time is over. Sigh.
Some years ago, back when I was still competing in Adult Nationals, Ari used to say, “You’re better than that!” as a way of getting me to skate harder. This past week I heard that again from him, and it reminded me that so much of this process of learning is mental as well as physical. It’s amazing how lazy I’ve gotten, even while I feel like I’ve been working hard.
Some of this is, of course, because I wasn’t really on some of my edges, and had some wonky muscle imbalances. But because those issues have improved so much, I can’t really use this as an excuse. It’s no longer the case that I’m incapable of skating faster and on deeper edges without falling over. It’s just that it’s, well, scary.
I never thought of myself as lacking in confidence, unless you count skating in a dress (that’s a whole ‘other kettle of fish!). When first I started skating, I would jump into things with heedless abandon (and I do mean literally). Now that I’m older and wiser, I have to unlearn some of that caution.
Just to get the adrenaline moving, here’s Cipres and James at the recent Grand Prix Final:
Okay, wish me luck. Woohoo, here I go!
- edges pulls on outside edge: think about drawing skating side hip back to finish off edge pull (practice on outside to inside edge transitions)
- outside three turns (use the skating hip to do the three)
- in circle, with arm movements: outside three, back outside; inside three, step forward
- with arm movements: alternating outside threes (use turned-out free leg and step forward behind)
- backward double three (Intermediate MITF); both starting with outside and then inside back three; weight back more on crossovers
- eight-step mohawk (Juvenile MITF)