Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 6, 2006

(If I have multiple posts in one day, I'm going to just combine them.)
Skating Lesson One
April 5.

Lesson One.

Today was my first day of Basic Skills Lessons, at the Kettering Ice Arena. It was very crowded, which made me worry just a bit. LOTS of little kids, but I was in an adult class, so that’s not a big deal. Angie, the skate coordinator came out, introduced herself, had us fill out a form to register with USFSA Basic Skills (Xxxxxxxxxx-Xxxxx* takes up a lot of space on a form) so we could get out book and badges at the end of the class.

Then Angie introduced our instructors and told us where we would be on the ice. Adult 3-4 was with Leslie, on the far end of the ice, with the hockey circles. It seemed strange that we would be near the wall, rather than beginners who like the safety of the wall, but 3/4 does a lot on the circles so it makes some sense we would be there.

We started off by stroking along a “mini rink”- doing a circle on our quadrant of the ice. (Is it still a quadrant if the larger shape is divided into 4 parts without a center axis?) The point of this was to make sure we were stroking correctly rather than recreationally skating. I pushed off with the side of my blade and held my foot slightly turned out. I think I am supposed to be using a certain edge to push off, but I don’t know which, nor can I tell which. I copied the arms the instructor used, but I always feel so stupid when I skate with my arms up. No one else held their arms up, which made the stupid feeling worse, even though I know you are supposed to use arms. At the turns of the rink we were supposed to do half-swizzles or crossovers. I did crossovers, but we only ever went CCW, which is my strong side. The left side is never going to get better if it keeps going like this.

I need to write down the class as soon as I get to the car. I think I remember everything we did, but I’m a little fuzzy on the order. Hopefully this is an accurate account.

Next we worked on forward half swizzles on a circle. My swizzles were fine and the tracings, when I could see them seemed to be smooth and not have a scuff like was pointed out in my private lesson. The problem with this is we were on the circle so much I thought we would wear it down to the paint! We also seemed to spend more time on the right side than on the left side, throughout the entire class! She split the 2 circles between threes and fours but even still it appeared that everyone would be just behind the slowest person after the first few rotations. That was the biggest challenge for me. I can’t seem to make myself go slow when doing swizzles. I get a big push and I move! After doing the swizzles for a bit she told us to add in edges. My inside edges are much stronger than my outside edges. I can barely hold those, and sometimes when I am holding them I really “feel” my feet and realize that even though the inside leg is lifted, and I should be on an outside edge I’m on an awkward inside edge.

Then we got off the circles and did slaloms across the width of the rink. Once again I feel like I am “showing off” because I travel so much quicker than the class. But to really work on the movement I do a deep push so I am aware of what I am going and that’s the speed I go. I’m not a great skater so I don’t want to be thought of as a show off, but doing the movements without effort doesn’t help me learn anything and that’s the point of the class. Even still it’s very awkward to be so far ahead of everyone when in a group class. On a side note, I love slaloms- it’s just so much fun. No idea if I’m doing it right or what edges I’m doing it on, but the instructor said “good” so I’ll take her at that.

Then we went back to the circles for us to work on crossovers and for 3 to work on 2 footed turns. This is where we spent way more time on one side than the other. Enough that my left foot hurt from doing right crossovers because of the weight I was putting on it trying to bend my knees. (I hate bending my knees). My crossovers are definitely improving. On my right side I am getting much better at the actual cross, but on the left I am still crossing to just in front of my other foot- not much of a cross. I am still picking up my right foot in a turned out movement, and I need to be careful to hold it straight. Leslie did correct me on that, saying if I kept it turned out I would likely slice my leg off when doing it at speed! I just thought it was quite funny that I was told “you have natural turnout, so you need to work to stay parallel” when every Thursday and Saturday I’m told “You don’t have much natural turnout, so you have to work extra hard to increase it and to make sure it doesn’t come from the knees” Ahhh.

Then we went back to the sides of the rink and the 3s worked on backwards glides and the 4s worked on backwards stroking. I would have liked to work on glides, since my left one curves instead of going straight, but I guess the instructor is working on the theory that I passed 3- even though I’ve never done any of the levels. Backwards stroking was the one time I wasn’t nearly as fast as the rest of the group. The man was doing the actual stroking and moving at a turtles pace. The two women were wiggling and keeping up with him, and I was attempting to stroke and going nowhere! I guess the idea is to do a half swizzle, then push off with your edge, but at the first cross she didn’t tell us that!

Which brings my only complaint about the lesson. It seems to assume you already know what the moves are! Like now we will work on crossovers, now we will do stroking. She does it once and we are just supposed to be able to do it! I need to be told how to do it. I’m surprisingly analytical when I learn things like this and like to know what is causing the movement and exactly how to do it. I don’t want to do something that looks like backwards stroking, I want to know how to stroke backwards.

On the second cross of the rink she explained that we were supposed to half swizzle and push off our edge (don’t remember which) and then she asked us to add in a backwards snowplow stop. Something else I have never done. I can see myself getting it on my right side, but I have no idea how to do it on my left side. It also seems backwards that you use the inside edge to scrape- maybe that is backwards, I don’t ever remember which edge she tells us. Anyhow, today at least my snowplow stops did not stop.

At this point we switched to back swizzles on a circle. Those were especially difficult with four on the circle because two of the girls were going exceptionally slow and me and the man in the 4 class were much faster and after the first 2 times around the circle had to practically swizzle in place to keep from hitting them. And looking over your shoulder makes it even harder to tell if you are about to hit them! My right side was great and I get good speed and an even swizzle. My left side is good, but my edge scratches- not good, I assume, and my toes don’t always meet up as well. The nice thing about having to do collusion control was that I couldn’t watch the ice. Meaning I didn’t get to check on my feet, but did get to practice looking up!

The last thing she did was divide us up to practice 2 foot spins or 3 turns. I need work on my 2 footed spin (it does technically do the 2 required revolutions, but WOW is it ugly), but instead I did 3 turns. This was another thing that wasn’t taught, but said, shown once and then she went to work with the level 3s. I will have to practice these Friday. She said to put your feet in a T, wind your arms opposite the direction you are going, to trace a curve, turn around, and trace another curve. And to keep the foot you picked up glued to the heel of the other boot. I did a few bad ones, where my picked up foot came down while turning (never turned on one foot before!) but didn’t really understand the direction. I worked that out in the kitchen at home, how the 3 is made- so hopefully I can get a good idea of what to do in practice.

So the lesson was fine. I think I will learn new skills from it and hopefully will pass the level. The 3-turn, backwards stroking, and backwards snowplow stop are really the only things I have to learn (unless the edges are expected over the entire circle! I can only do over about half of it). The rest just needs to get a bit better. For the level 3 stuff I will have to practice backwards glides and 2 footed spins on my own.

Glad I’m skating again!

*You didn't think I'd put my full name in a public entry? At least not on purpose, although I'm sure it's out there

Oh NO!
I really like to ice skate.

Something about ice skating really aggrevates my foot. I hurt it in ballet, but ballet doesn't hurt it much (except excessive releves) but skating hurts it and then it will hurt in ballet.

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