I have really enjoyed reading Ryan Stevens’ Skate Guard blog, which gives me a regular dose of skating history. This past week it was about the 1966 World Figure Skating Championships, so I got to watch a video of Bernard Ford and Diane Towler. How styles change!
But what really caught my attention was this postage stamp, which appeared on the Skate Guard page:
I was struck not only by the cool cubism of this image, but also how the geometric shapes outline so clearly the position of their hips and legs, which are crossed right under the hips. The inside hip is lower into the circle than the outside one, and the free blade is extended directly out of the circle. I thought to myself, that’s exactly what I’ve been missing.
Some years ago, I would have thought that the major takeaway from this would be “bend your knees!” But in fact, I’m realizing that it is more about the hip positions and less about how low the knees bend. Let’s take another look at something not related to postage.
I thought about drawing a cubist version to describe the (wrong) way I’ve been doing it, but that was too scary on a number of counts (think “The Skating Scream“). Then I scouted around to see if I could find any pictures that would show my flaws. The only thing I could come up with was this.
What’s going on here is that the inside edge is created by (a) leaning out of the circle, and (b) raising the inside hip. This is exactly the opposite of what the stamp-skaters are doing.
So I spent a considerable amount of time on progressives and back crossovers today, focusing on the outside edge pushing under all the way to the inside edge. It’s clear that I don’t have this totally worked out yet. So tired! But before rigor mortis sets in, I’ll finish this post with some happy pictures.
Lesson notes (haven’t posted for a while!):
- Posture exercises
- Progressives: arm more extended and solid
- Backcrossovers: don’t “undo” the angle/lean of your inside edge as you put your foot down for the crossover-continue to lean into circle. Also, make sure you are actually pushing under in the proper direction
- Back crosses: don’t come up to extend-the extension should come directly out of the knee/ankle bend
- Forward progressives: exercise for free leg extension (use glute on free leg), toe lightly touches ice, then draw in)
- Back crossover exercise: only use inside leg to draw and push under, using lots of lean
- Back cross strokes: when on left back outside, make sure right hip (free leg) isn’t dropped, use pushing action to achieve correct hip motion
- Forward threes, back edge: make sure you step forward directly onto the correct part of the hip (with free side held up)
- Back perimeter stroking -think about the pattern
- Tuck behind, inside edge pull, cross – repeat on other side
- Double threes, starting with back outside: work on getting a better push and initial outside edge-don’t rush into the three
- Starting with forward: use calf muscle to do three, rather than just dropping forward on blade. This will give you a more stable back inside edge. Don’t forget to scissor arms. More speed is helpful
- Inside closed mohawk, back inside three, push forward to repeat on other side