Guess What? More Ice Follies.

Yes, I’ve been continuing to make progress so there’s stuff to talk about.

In class we’ve been somewhere between “Basic 3” and “Basic 4” in the “Learn to Skate USA” skill level progression.  When I looked at the “official” curriculum, I noticed that we were doing a number of Level 4 items (Forward outside edges, forward inside edges, forward crossovers) when I hadn’t learned most of the Level 3 stuff.  Now that’s entirely doable.  In many cases it’s not a strict progression–after all, back when I was a kid I was doing forward crossovers and edges (I cannot emphasize enough, it’s not like riding a bike) without having learned to skate backward at all.

At Level three the only things I could have said to have learned at an appropriate level for where I’m at (which is a long way short of “mastering”) were forward half-swizzle pumps on a circle and forward stroking showing correct use of the blade.

So, I decided I needed to go in and fill out the Basic 3 stuff so the lack wouldn’t come back to bite me later.

First thing I started on was “Slaloms”.  The class where that was being introduced to my daughter and me was one where I took a bad fall, landed with my right curled up under me so my full weight came down on my ankle.  Yeah.  I was done that for that day, that week, and the next week as well.

So, during “public skate” I went to one end of the rink and tried slaloms.  Properly done, they look like this:

I surprised myself by actually managing it.  I was, of course, much clumsier and far less graceful than the young lady in the video but I did manage it.

The remaining techniques that I needed all involved backward skating (backward one foot glides, backward snowplow stop, and two foot turn on a circle forward to backward).  I’m able to do it, but not very well.  I start to feel like I’m going to overbalance backward, overcompensate, and end up dragging the toe picks (those “teeth” at the front of figure skating blades) which brings me to a grinding halt.  The trick is to keep my weight right over the center of the blades.  And I think mostly that takes practice.

There are two techniques that I have been learning for going backwards.  The first is a “backward swizzle”.  Done right, it looks like this:

Again, I’m nowhere near as graceful as the young lady.  I get there, albeit with many a grinding halt from dragging the toe picks.  Also, I have trouble with the “bending the knees” portion of that.  Strong like willow.  Limber like oak.  But, working on that with off ice exercises.

The other method of moving backward I’ve been learning is the “backward wiggle.”  Once again, done properly it looks something like this:

And, once again, I’m nowhere near as graceful as that young lady.  I use more separation between my feet, which gives me more “push” as I go back and forth.  If I can learn to stay off the toe picks I’ll be doing this pretty well.

So what I’ve been doing at public skate is just going to one end of the rink or the other.  There’s a red line across the end (part of the hockey markings) that I use as a guide.  I do slaloms across, then do one of the backward techniques back.  Back and forth, just practicing those techniques.  I’ve gotten pretty good at the slaloms just over the one weekend but the backward’s techniques?  Let’s just say that they need work.

Occasionally, however, I’ll actually get a bit of momentum going backward, manage to avoid getting on the toe picks, and I’ll try lifting one foot for a backward one foot glide.

It should look like this:

Let’s just say it doesn’t.  My best, so far, is about 1 second.

So, practice, practice practice.

We’ll get there.


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