Another Breakthrough in the Ice Follies.

The last couple of days the beginning of the public skate session wasn’t too busy.  This gave me an opportunity to do more technique practice.  Yesterday, I worked one of the corner circles to work on my backward skating–half swizzle pumps on the circle and backward outside and inside edges.

To explain a bit, the rink is laid out for hockey so there are five circles on the floor under and visible through the ice:


During public skate times, the skaters for the most part skate around the entire rink counter clockwise.  Kind of like the guy said about how to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:  “put your foot to the floor and keep turning left.”

Well, I’m not in any races here, but that’s the gist of it.   Most of the skaters tend to stay around the outside edges of the rink.  The more advanced figure skaters, doing spins and turns and what not which take them in directions different from the overall flow of traffic work in the center of the rink.

Now, when I’m doing work like backward skating or things that involve turning to the right rather than to the left (a lot of which is done using one of the circles as a guide), I could use that circle in the center, but the folk mostly working there are so much farther along than I am that I really don’t want to get in their way and be an obstacle to their work.  So…I use one of the circles toward the corners.  So long as the rink isn’t too busy and I keep an eye out for traffic–be prepared to veer out of the way of someone following the normal pattern or pause to let people pass–I can get some good work in.

That’s what I did yesterday.

First I did half swizzle pumps on the circle:

Then, backward outside and inside edges:

After a while, however, the rink started getting busier and I had to stop–just too much collision danger–so went to the left hand turn pattern along with everyone else, which is fine in and of itself since it lets me practice the basics of my one foot glide and left-handed crossovers.

Today, however, during public skate, none of the more advanced skaters were present I went ahead and grabbed the central circle.  That gave me more time to practice.  Today’s practice target was forward crossovers in the clockwise (turning right) direction.  This is not something I can generally practice during public skate so my turns in that direction were a lot weaker than my turns in the other.

What it should look like:

in the video she’s turning left (counterclockwise), and I’m pretty good with that these days.  But the other direction?  Well, there was a good bit of stumbling at first but as I kept it up, it started coming together and started approaching my left hand crossovers.  So, much progress was made.

But today in my actual class.  My instructor said “Would you like to try some backward crossovers?”

I went, “Eep.”

Okay, not really, more like a hesitant “I’ll give it a go.”

Backward crossovers look like this:

Well, mine didn’t look like that.  They were clumsy.  I kept getting sideways after the cross.  And I wobbled a lot.  But I stayed upright.  And I stayed, mostly, on the circle.  That is a major, major step forward for me.  It’s one of the big things I need to complete “Adult 5” (the penultimate level in the adult basic skating curriculum) or Basic 5.  I was mostly doing the second type described in the video, picking foot up and over.  There’s a girl who skates there–one of those more advanced skaters I mention–who does that first type of crossover, sliding the foot around in front and it’s just such a beautifully gracefully move as to bring tears to the eyes.  I, really, really would like to be able to do that but…in time maybe.

Still…progress.  And mostly now a matter of practice and keeping my weight over the front to back center of the blade so that I don’t drag the toe picks (something I still do most of the time once I pick up a foot going backward).

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