Wednesday, January 31, 2018

So many bad habits, so little time

Last night's lesson with Coach A. was devoted to breaking down just about every poor excuse for a turn which I have in my tool box: FO3s, FI3s, Mohawks, even two foot turns were dragged kicking and screaming from their dark hiding places.  At one point she threatened to add Bracket turns to the party and I don't even know how to do those--badly yet!  Then she said something about Counters and Rockers.  Yow!  By the end of the lesson I was so self-conscious I could barely stand up let alone turn!  All those erstwhile things that I use as crutches to get me turned from one direction to the other and from one edge to another are being righteously heaved onto the bonfire of the vanities.  I can't say whether or not my various attempts at turning qualify as "occasions of sin" but they all stand condemned under the unflinching glare of Coach A!

Turns out (HA-HA) that me and my ankles (not to be confused with me and my shadow) need to get better acquainted.  Apparently I've been relying on knee bend and "forcing the turn" to get the job done way too long.  Now I've gotta tidy things up and get "hip" with the feeling of rolling back and forth on the rocker of my blades (without engaging the toe picks, of course).  Oh, that plus winding up with my weight on the correct leg after completing the turn in question rather than collapsing and being forced to put the free skate down--can I say "check, please"?   Additionally, my turns all tend to have way too much edge for ice dance, meaning that they curve more than they should.  Coach A. wants to see turns that somehow start off flat (but without skidding) and exit more or less on a straight line.

 After a bit of experimentation with rocking around on my blades she asked if I could feel the muscles in my ankles.  The only sensation I could report was that of the tongues of my boots cutting into my shins--maybe that counts for something?  Meh, probably not the answer she was looking for.  I'm having a steadying glass of rum as I type this.  As Zippy might say "am I making progress yet?"

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The History of Figure Skating Dresses

A breezy look at figure skating fashion:  Hopefully the link will open properly.  Couldn't figure out how to post the actual video. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Tag Team Coaching

Coach A. and I have been chipping away at my wonky CC forward inside Mohawk.  It's improving but at a glacial pace.  Last night she had a little surprise waiting for me.  Her brother, Coach B. is also an ice dancer and after his final student for the evening had departed she had me attempt the turn while he watched.  He suggestion was that I wasn't pre-rotated enough to allow me to control the exit edge.  As a consequence I'm breaking at the waist and then collapsing to my right side as my weight falls into the circle.

Jo commented on my last post that she finds success with this particular turn by mindfully leading with her entry side hip which is another way of saying that I need to rotate more prior to establishing the entry edge for the turn.

I tried it several times under the combined glare of the brother-sister coaching pair and had limited but promising success.  I'll need to try this on my own when I get a chance to skate again later in the week.

Another benefit of having a second coach is that there was a second pair of eyes watching as Coach A. and I practiced chasses and back swing rolls.  Coach B. pointed out that I was wide stepping most of the time--something that his sister can't see while we're partnered.  So, lots to think about and tidy up.

After my lesson was over the brother-sister pair practiced several dances together during the remaining ice time.  A treat to watch! 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wake Up!

Good Morning, Campers! Up with the lark!  It's a new year.
A new year, filled with left over problems from last year, but also the promise of new challenges.  Of course there are those pesky resolutions, generally put forth by perky people with way more enthusiasm than I can muster after a long night with the widow Clicquot; let's deal with all that right up front:  I hereby solemnly vow to make better bad choices this year compared to last.

Not wanting to be part of the slacker brigade, your old diarist went skating on the achingly beautiful first day of the new year.  I knew I had a lesson with Coach A. on the 2nd and figured if I could stand up on skates New Year's day, (actually my hair didn't hurt all that badly) that the lesson wouldn't be a complete waste of our time.

Come the 2nd, we dealt with an old problem--my poor excuse for a  CC inside Mohawk and a new challenge--my poor excuse for back outside edges.  Both of these foundation elements are key to my progress with the remaining two pre-bronze dances which I've left untested.  Doesn't matter if I remember the steps.  Doesn't matter if I remember to smile occasionally.  Without a good foundation this show ain't goin' anywhere.

So, on the 2nd of Jan. I found myself going backwards in both open and waltz hold doing outside swing rolls at dance speed during a busy FS session.  To say that we terrified a lot of inattentive free-style pixies would be a fair statement but no blood was shed.  The good news is that all this concentration on swing rolls left almost no time for Mohawks!

Scrolling on to last night's lesson, the focus was the dreaded Mohawk.  Coach A. had me over at the boards pivoting on my right foot.  Why is this turn such a stumbling block?  After what seemed to be a mind-numbing length of time (must have been at least ten minutes) we switched to back outside edges, but this time performed on the red line at the end of the rink.  There were no great breakthroughs in either department but I now have a couple more practice drills for homework.

So, that's my start to the new year.  Future posts will probably get v. monotonous and whiny, so feel free to tune out for a couple months!