jo skates

Thoughts about skating and the practice of everyday life

Stop action

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So happy for my skating friend Joe who just got back from Adult Nationals 2017. It was his very first competition and he got a gold medal in his event! Hooray, hooray!

Here’s my selfie with the AN 2017 Men’s Bronze 1&2 Gold Medallist.

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Joe the Champ!

I have been just getting back into the groove myself after taking some time off for a work-related trip. Always good to take a break, even if it means my skates feel very strange when I put them back on.

Another thing that I realize is how quickly I lose those skating muscles even if I am doing off-ice exercises and using that hotel gym. My hips and glutes are sore today! It might be because I’ve had a couple of lessons that really focused on body positions and actions that are particular to skating. It’s hard to work on this properly off the ice.

I have three of these ideas that I’m excited to work on in the coming weeks. The first is to keep my hips in a more neutral position so that my knee and ankle bend happens more easily and I stay on the optimal part of my blade. I’ve been working on this in power pulls, and it really makes a difference in how much I can control the blade.

The second idea is to focus on my skating side being more mobile, and to reduce the amount of swinging or flinging that happens on my free side. This is particularly necessary on my back pushes and edge pulls. Instead of just turning out my heel and pushing, it’s like the Highland Fling takes over. Not efficient and not safe.

The third and titular idea is to stop the “stop action” skating that I’ve been doing. This means all the little pauses and sub-curves that happen because I don’t transfer my weight, maintain my lean correctly, or trust my edge. Chickens came home to roost today when Ari gave me a new exercise: back edge pull, change edge into a double three (back inside, forward outside).  I kept getting stalled out before the double three. The problem was my back inside edge; I wasn’t really on an edge and thus couldn’t turn my body in the correct direction to continue the rotational energy.

Some of this “stop action” has to do with the “imposter edges” that I have relied on: when I am not actually on an edge, but just sort of perched precariously over my skate. I eventually get on an edge, but not immediately, and by then it’s too late. So my skating feels (and probably looks) like there’s little pauses everywhere, moments when I stop moving and just sort of hang there.

Not a great thing for flow. And flow, as you know, makes us go. Especially when our names are Jo(e).

Lesson notes:

  • power pulls (settle into neutral position, don’t clench thighs).
  • outside 3 back inside 3 (don’t let hips come around to far, isolate push, turn foot out and push to send weight back; don’t push around).
  • cross strokes (leave some ankle bend in reserve for after you’ve brought your foot in, then push under and get a full extension by pushing your foot away).
  • back power pull into double 3 (back inside 3, forward outside 3).
  • just try double threes if this is too frustrating!
  • three step mohawk pattern outside-outside and inside-inside (strong positions, get on an edge right away, more speed, placement of new lobe is not diagonal).
  • inside mohawk, back outside three (placement along circle, check inside edge).
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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.

4 thoughts on “Stop action

  1. Congrats to the other “Joe” from your rink! Our rink has a rather limited number of Adult skaters and while a few are probably good enough, none are motivated enough to make the cut for Adult Nats.

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  2. Thanks, George–I’ll pass along the congrats! Competition is another world altogether–while I found it motivating, at the same time I don’t really miss it. I’ve been enjoying working on aspects of skating that have nothing to do with looking good for the judges!

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  3. I am so happy for Joe. He skated in my friend’s event and did really, really well. We knew from the get-go that Joe would win (our guy placed 4th)! I also met your friend Chris W. Your club was well represented at AN!!

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  4. Thanks for cheering Joe on, Eva! Between Joe, Chris, Tam, and several dance teams, we have quite the AN contingent this year. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures there too; am doing my AN vicariously!

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