It’s getting to be a bit more difficult to get technique practice during the public skate times. As we move into early fall, we start approaching the busy season for the rink. With more people, in particular more beginners and folk who are shaky on the ice, I can’t work back and forth at one end (working backward skating). Just too much danger of running into somebody.
In Saturday’s afternoon public skate, I was lucky in that they weren’t terribly busy. I was able to spend some time on the backward skating I’m working on.
My instructor had suggested, in working on backward one foot glides to use “swizzles” rather than “wiggles” to get going. With “swizzles” I end the stroke with my feet together, which is the ideal position to shift weight to my supporting leg and pick up the other. That’s been coming along well. I do two or three backward swizzles to get moving then pick up one foot or the other. I’m getting a few seconds of glide that way. I think the goal for Basic/Adult 3 is 4 seconds. I’ve done that occasionally, but I can’t really do it reliably.
Another thing my instructor has me trying is some very basic backward stroking. While it’s essentially the reverse of forward stroking (toe in and push out and forward with the stroking foot vs. toe out and push out and backward) but I find it a whole lot more awkward. The video here showing how it works goes from stroke into glide. I’m not doing that (yet). That’s a “basic 6” thing (like the last step before the “free skate” series, where one starts learning serious figure skating with jumps and spins) and I’m working on Basic 3 and Basic 4 stuff. The idea is to get me started on the motion. I get a little push and then go into a two-foot glide. It’s really clumsy looking but it’s a start.
I’m getting a good 25 minutes to half an hour of skating in on each session. Still having the ongoing foot problems but I’m trying to push a bit longer each time before I have to stop and let my feet recover. Right now I’m going about 15 minutes before I have to stop, then give my feet a few minutes rest, then I’m good for another 10-15 minutes before I get tired enough that my balance gets bad and it becomes time to stop.
Okay, Dick Button even at 90 years old has nothing to fear from me. Still, I’m so, so far ahead of where I was six months ago that I think I have pretty good reason to be proud.