Thursday, February 9, 2012

Onward and Upward

My next set of group lessons kicked off a week ago.  This time we have four adults.  The other three are learning about two foot glides and snow plough stops while Mike has me off to one side practicing forward outside threes and forward inside Mohawks. Kinda reminds me of the four room primary school I attended as a kid.  We had more than one grade per class in some rooms. 

Since I'm familiar with these turns they're returning fairly quickly--at least in one direction.  Oddly, the easy direction for me is turning out to be on the left leg (going clock-wise).  But hold on--I'm right handed.  Is it common to be right handed but "left leg-ged"?

Be that as it may, I'm looking at several sessions of "deliberate practice" to sort out the opposite direction for these common but important turns.  The FO3s and FI Mohawks, plus the ability to perform a hockey stop in one direction are the requirements to pass the Gamma level of ISI's program.  I'll miss the lesson just before the test in mid-March when boat racing season kicks off so I'll need to stay on top of practice.  In April our ice rink has an abbreviated four week lesson series before closing for the months of May and June (the city melts the ice and does annual maintenance on the building and equipment).  The rink then reopens in July.  I was hoping to pass delta level before the melt down but that might be a stretch.  We'll see.  I'm checking out what other rinks are within reasonable driving distance to keep myself from going backwards over the months when my home ice is unavailable.

Also I'm looking for an off-ice exercise to do as a warm up before my lesson.  Our rink doesn't bake in any time to warm up by perimeter skating prior to the lesson.  I arrive at the rink straight from work with plenty of time but but since earlier lessons are in progress I'm stuck with sitting on the bench until it's our group's turn out on the ice. As a consequence I wind up wasting the first 5 minutes or so of valuable lesson time just getting my legs to not be wonky.  I've never liked stretching--I know, I know, it's important.  I still don't care for it!  I'm thinking about buying a jump rope and skipping rope for 5 or 10 minutes after I arrive at the rink before going inside.  What do others do as a warm up other than skate (or stretch)?


  1. If it's nice outside I go for a short run. If not I find a flight of stairs and run up and down to get the blood going. If warming up for a competition then I do some jumps on dry land. The skipping rope is a good idea too, as long as you can find space for it. The new trend for stretching is that you don't need to do alot, just go thru the motions of the particular sport you are doing.
    So in my case that means stretching my back as much as I need it to do a layback, or stretching as much as I need for a camel spin.


  2. Thanks Lori. The jump rope idea will get it's "work out" soon but I like your suggestion of running up and down stairs. Simple warm ups appeal to my simple mind.


  3. Jumping jacks are a good warmup too. And stretching is good, but if you're still "cold" be careful and don't overdo it.

    There isn't a direct correlation between handedness and preferred directions for skating. Most skaters prefer to spin/turn counter-clockwise (thus it's the common direction for public skate to go CCW around the rink), so the LFO3 would be more comfy than the RFO3.

    I guess I'm a little confused by your statement, since an LFO3 turns CCW. Were you doing an LFI3?

  4. Gordon: You're absolutely right in being confused because I'm a confusing guy! When I typed that sentence I didn't have my thinking cap on quite straight. Upon reflection it's a directional thing rather than a leg thing--for some reason I just naturally prefer turning right. Always the odd guy...I suppose that means I'd never make it in NASCAR either!

    I'll try some jumping jacks along with a bit of fast walking before going inside tonight as I've been too lazy to get around to buying a jump rope yet. Good suggestion. Hopefully I'll be nice and loose. I'm determined to work on left turns tonight whether I like it or not!

    1. I prefer turning right too. I can do pretty much any turn CW, the leg doesn't matter.

      The only thing I do equally well (poorly?- just equally...) is back outside 3s.

      I wish I didn't like to turn CW, but now it has become an issue- it didn't become a problem until I got to loop. I'm so right side dominant, taking off from my leg leg is just impossible. I wish I could go CCW, but I've tried that and the 3-turns are so weak the jump entries won't work.

  5. Jessim: I've thought about whether or not my normal inclination to turn CW will become an issue as I attempt to climb the skill ladder and I've come to the conclusion that it's, at least for me, probably not a big deal since at age 65 I don't plan on doing much "aviation". I'll probably be unable to resist the temptation of occasional half-rotation jumps but I'm very fond of my knee, hip and ankle joints--they currently work pain-free and that's how I hope to keep things! The issue for me is that as an aspiring dancer I want to be able to execute footwork smoothly in both directions and so I toil away on the weak side. Right now I'm more worried about back inside 3s than whether or not I'll fly. I think there's gonna be an ice halo and a pair of those gel hip pads in my near future!

  6. There is some connection to handedness and preferred direction of turn. I am very strongly left handed, jumped "lefty" back in the day, and twizzle better CW. I did figures as a kid so most other turns are about equal because of the forced repetition. Learned twizzles as an adult so the lefty-ness reappeared. Keep working the weak side, it pays off.

    1. A month later and my CW FO3 is well controlled but the CCW one is still a work in progress; it's getting there. Mohawks seem to be even-steven. Thinking back to my earlier days of skating it's interesting that I don't recall this as a problem then. However I probably am mildly dyslexic and had the typical initial problems reading in grade school. I'm of that generation that got their knuckles rapped for using the "wrong" hand and dyslexia wasn't recognized; we were just slow trouble makers. When our son had problems reading in grade school we had him evaluated and yep, he was. He also was ambidextrous when small and we and his teachers let him decide which hand was the dominant one. For the longest time he pitched ball lefty and wrote with either hand before settling on using his right hand. Both my wife's brother and their mother are left handed so the apple truly doesn't fall far from the tree...

      Interestingly, the specialist who diagnosed our son indicated that dyslexic individuals tend to go into fields such as architecture due to their ability to envision three dimensional objects in ways which non-dyslexic folks can not. The good doctor told me that this tendency was so strong that if he was introduced to an architect at a cocktail party he would assume that the individual was dyslexic until proven otherwise!