jo skates

Thoughts about skating and the practice of everyday life

Standing tall

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How many times does it take to get something right? In skating, this number can seem inordinately large.

But I figured out that it is, in fact, a finite number. In fact, it’s probably less than I would have guessed.

I decided to put this to the test after a lesson in which Ari told me that I wasn’t really straightening my knee on swing rolls. In fact, I had trouble balancing on a straight knee even while hanging onto the boards.

Whoa, imaginary sirens are going off in my head. A paradigm shift is about to occur!

Once I figured out how to stand up over my straightened knee and hold an edge at the same time, I realized that this is another one of those positions that has been entirely missing from my skating vocabulary. It’s sort #$ like trying to communicate !!!@%… using any prepositions.

Okay, so what do I to make this right? The solution is to make myself repeat it consciously until it’s absolutely part of my muscle memory. So today I set myself a target number: do 50 right outside swing rolls.

That target number didn’t include the ones I cheated (bent my knee), or bailed out in the middle. I did about 10 and then realized that 50 is quite a big number. So I went on to work on some other things (like trying this on the left side, which is much easier but still could use some refinement). Then I went back and did some more.

At around 15, my hip muscles started to get really, really tired.

At around 20, the moves started improving. Or least I wasn’t holding my breath anymore.

I maxed out at around 35–that was the point at which I felt pretty consistent but was losing focus.

My hip muscles are tired! So I feel like this is something that is going to be really helpful in making those edges stronger. So my goal to do 25 right outside swing roles each practice session (standing tall!) this week.

Incentive? After I actually stood up straight on my knee, Ari said, “You’re an inch taller!” Okay, I’m fine with being short, but I’ll take that inch!

For a musical number, I tried to find a “stand tall” song but settled on “Stand Back.” Stevie Nicks as inspired by Prince! And those are some awesomely standing tall and twizzling (okay, pirouetting) dancers.

Lesson notes:

  • double threes: engage glute muscles to get on edges immediately following the three turn, remember that the back inside edge shouldn’t feel tilted in. Don’t over-rotate upper body.
  • brackets: work on these two-footed on a small circle. Thinking about really rotating through the core (this is challenging when the navel is moving clockwise, so practice off ice). Free foot is engaged and turned in before the turn. Draw free hand back afterwards (as if you had a marker)
  • progressive, swing roll: stand tall. Free leg shouldn’t have to bend to come through.
  • alternating forward outside edge, cross in front, cross behind, push (like in silver tango): you should be working on keeping weight firmly over skating side (think about standing tall).
  • f. outside three, push back, b. outside three, toe through to repeat on other side: work on getting those pushes engaged.

 

 

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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.

6 thoughts on “Standing tall

  1. I think I heard somewhere that people who are “the best” at something (think Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, etc) spend at least 10,000 hours honing their craft. You and I would be swing roll/bracket/fill-in-the-blank experts if we could ever log that many hours on one element!! 🙂 Keep at it, Jo! Stand tall and proud!

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  2. I sometimes wish I had 10,000 hours (or even 100!) But better some than none! Thanks so much for your encouragement, Eva–you are the best!

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  3. My problem with forward swing rolls is that I don’t allow them to curve around as deeply as my coach wants (she wants us to go towards the boards!) while somehow keeping my shoulders square to the long axis! What? Does she think I’m a 71 year old version of Gumby?! I guess that’s better than having her think I’m chopped liver…

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  4. Those coaches and their demands! They keep asking for more and more, and yet we keep paying them to keep our hopes alive. Sounds like your coach won’t take no for an answer–reminds me of mine, alas!

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  5. Oh, this is me! I love to keep that little bit of knee bend even when I shouldn’t, like in a spiral. Feels weird to be completely standing up, doesn’t it?

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  6. Yes, and the paradox is that I don’t bend my knees enough when I’m supposed to. To bend or not to bend, that is the question!

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