jo skates

Thoughts about skating and the practice of everyday life

Hard to port!

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Fellow skating blogger Eva made a comment on my earlier post, “Deep muscles of the core” (as opposed to a future seafaring post entitled “Core muscles of the deep”). She suggested that I get back to freestyle but learn everything left-handed. That would force me to build up strength on my left side.

Hmmm, an interesting thought. I am left-handed in everyday life, but jump and spin right-handed (counter-clockwise) as many lefties do. I just read an article by this 49-year-old tennis player who switched from his dominant left hand to playing with his right after a number of injuries to his left wrist, elbow, and shoulder. It took him three months to be able to play a match. He commented on how mentally challenging this was. I can just imagine!

Unlike tennis, skating is really two-sided; one should always be working on edges and moves in both directions. If anything, these days I try to do more on my left side than on my right, hoping that this will help build equality between my sides.

I don’t think I’m the only skater who’s developed a one-sidedness that then has to be corrected. It’s probably because most of us stop at spinning and jumping in one direction only–or perhaps it’s going round and round in circles with friends during crowded public sessions. And most compulsory dances go counter-clockwise, though there are lobes in both directions.

For extra inspiration to work on both sides, here’s a performance from 1980 featuring John Curry, “After All” (choreographed by Twyla Tharp with music by Tomasso Albinoni). This is remarkable not only for its innovative use of the ice, but also because Curry is so good at doing things in both directions. There is so much to like here: les pas des chats at 3:42 (I didn’t even know you could do those on skates!) and the half axels in both directions at 5:00.

I am also inspired by how obviously he uses his feet to control his blades.  At my lesson this week, Laurie noticed that I was still using my free side to help turn my left three-turn. Oh no! So this week I am really working on some foot action for my turns, on both sides. Will report back.

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Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

2 thoughts on “Hard to port!

  1. Let me know how everything works out. I used to strongly favor one side on my basic skills (turns, edges, etc.). I have worked really hard to even things out, and while it has slightly improved, it’s not nearly as weak as before. Occasionally I work on skating elements “the other way” to challenge my brain and my body. I would love to make sure my skating doesn’t favor one side over the other, but it’s hard! 🙂

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  2. it is so hard, Eva. But you’re right, working on the “weaker side” has really good benefits for overall skating. I don’t think I’ll go so far as to jump the other way, but perhaps spinning? For now, though, just edges is okay by me!

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