I can’t believe that we’re well into August now. Time to start pulling everything together for the fall semester (nooooo!). Time to take that drive up north. Time to figure out what to do with all those tomatoes (I’m thinking gazpacho, a perennial favorite).
Skating-wise, it’s time to think about some goals for the new season (or at least for the rest of the summer). I’m sure I will have more as time goes on, but the only goals I can think of for the moment are the same ones I’ve had for a while. But that is not necessarily a bad thing, unless you’re more inclined to think, like Bruce Springsteen, “Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself.” No one can write exciting songs about boredom (or flick his arm) like the Boss can!
Bruce, I’ve felt your pain, but I’m going to stick to the same old, same old: my clothes, my hair, my face, and my skating routine. So here are some of my practice goals:
- I’m trying to use both sides of my body more evenly. Now that I have my hips aligned, it is easy to tell when one edge or push is weaker than the other. For instance, Laurie went over my counter-clockwise chassés in great detail this week, pointing out how my inside edge kept moving off the circle.
- This brings me to my next goal: I need to put my weight over the correct part of my blade on both sides. I have been working hard at this on my left side, but these chassés-in-a-circle revealed that one of the reasons my right inside edge goes a-wandering is that I really am not over the middle of my right skate either. Luckily, understanding this issue on left side has set me up well to correct this right-side problem as well. It’s back to those off-ice exercises–only on the right side!
- My final goal is to improve my overall posture: making it more about the glutes and less about clenching my hamstrings, and improving my upper torso and head position. Laurie is having me do outside edges without rising on the skating knee: just bending my free knee to bring the free skating into parallel, and riding the edge (you can also do this trailing the free toe). This makes me realize how much I don’t yet trust my body just to hit that correct position; instead, I am still fighting for balance some of the time. The correct position actually feels much more relaxed, especially when I have my upper body position more upright (which feels like I’m leaning back).
The good thing is that I can really work on these three goals regardless of what moves I am doing. I can do this in warm-ups, in all my exercises, and in compulsory patterns. And I’ve been doing a variation of these ideas (in a modified way, of course) off the ice as well.
But wait a minute, are we really talking about goals here? Given that these are less like recognizable skating achievements and more like enlightened states (almost said “skates”) of being, how will I know when I’ve made progress?
When I first started skating, I thought that I would get a certain amount of expertise and then I could just be “good.” Ha! I didn’t realize that skating is not like stamp collecting (or like Neko Atsume, which, by the way, I have completed: all cats with pictures, all the possible remodels, all the goodies, all the mementos, all mine!)
In skating, getting better means then having to put in even more time to get better still. Ack! When can I rest on my laurels and just spend my time looking at pictures of puppies and kittens (Scottish Folds, so cute) on the internet?
Will Jo ever achieve her goals, or will she simply wind up with chassés that meander off their circles (and maybe adductors of steel)? Tune in for the next less-than-exciting reiteration!