So at the end of my lesson this week Ari and I were talking about my left inside edge. Well, actually, it started out being about my left inside edge and then progressed to some words of wisdom about other things in skating, and then became a conversation about life in general.
Usually on my lessons there’s not much time for philosophy. But this week I had a lesson later on the session, which meant that I had already been skating hard for close to an hour beforehand. By the time my lesson got going, I was already feeling a bit tired, and by the last ten minutes of the lesson I was ready to get into conversation mode.
Okay, I admit that talking while doing some leisurely laps is not a good use of my limited time on the ice. But it actually was a very helpful conversation.
I am still working really hard these days is (no surprise to you regular readers!) on consistently maintaining strong edges on my left side. I’ve gotten to the point where I can actually figure out how to make this happen much of the time on outside edges (especially if I shift my ribcage towards the left rather than scrunch my left side and don’t over-rotate the edge). And I am beginning to feel it on inside edges as well, especially if I think about engaging those inner thigh and glute muscles so that I hit the edge immediately.
But perhaps an even greater challenge is letting go of old habits that feel right just because I’ve done them so many times. These include trying to balance over my skates rather than actually doing an edge, and letting my hips go out. Oh, and not actually pushing onto an edge, just because in the past there hasn’t really been an edge to push onto. (Chicken or egg? Chicken or egg?)
So here are some words of wisdom, paraphrased from Ari.
In skating, you have to let yourself try to do things you haven’t done before (like skating faster, or really leaning, or really using edges). You can’t let the fear of doing it wrong stop you from doing it at all. Don’t get stuck on getting the perfect position. You just have to keep moving. Don’t worry about “hitting the right edge”–just push and make it happen.
There are no records of what you did before; no one is watching and judging and video recording each moment. So don’t worry about what you did in the past; just think about what’s happening now.
Okay, too much talking! From this moment on, only hoop-de-doo songs and classic Bob Fosse choreography.
- outside edges using the ribcage shift to help create lean (rather than “scrunching”).
- outside-outside mohawk exercises: practice just placing new foot down (like a T-stop) in the correct position.
- three turns: maintain curve on entry and really refine the twist.
- inside mohawk: think about the curve in and out being equal, and move core underneath your body; don’t turn your entire body into the turn.
- back inside edges: think about keeping your push in front of your new foot (pushing directly back rather than sideways).
- changes of edge: learn how to move your skate underneath your body with those edge pulls.
- Alternating directions: inside mohawk, push back, back outside three, inside edge change to outside, tuck behind, repeat on other side. Work on getting that edge pull
- Alternating directions: inside mohawk, step forward, outside three, step forward, outside three in the other direction, step forward, repeat. Make sure your feet are together after the mohawk.
- Inside mohawk, change of edge (want to hear it!), cross front, change of edge the other way, cross front, step forward and repeat.