The Goth on Ice is Back!

It’s taken a long time for me to fully recover from the auto accident I was in at the end of January. Concussion from the accident, then pushing too hard to get back to soon leading to setbacks in the recovery and…well, it took time but eventually I got back onto the ice in a limited fashion: nothing that involved any fast head movement, nothing that pushed limits which could lead to a fall, and if the “mental effort” required to skate starts going up it’s time to stop for the day.

Recently I hit a milestone that cleared me for return to full activity. After discussion with my treatment provider, we decided that a good marker is if I could regularly skate 30 minutes without any concussion symptoms (including that marked increase in the “mental effort” required to skate) then I should be good to go. (Please note, this is not medical advice. Consult your own health care provider before returning to the ice after any injury, but especially after a concussion.

One of the things I have been working on in particular has been my two-foot spin. It’s still kind of hit or miss. It happened to “hit” when I was testing for completion of Adult 5 so I passed that…the last element I needed to complete the level. I am now, unequivocally, in Adult 6:

Adult 6

  • Forward stroking with crossover end patterns (Not included in Basic) √
  • Backward stroking with crossover end patterns (Backward stroking is Basic 6, the “crossover end patterns” is not included)
  • Forward inside three-turn, R and L (Basic 6)
  • Forward outside to inside change of edge on a line, R and L (Not included in Basic) (I will note that my current instructor is treating this as “power pulls” which are a different technique but the name in the instructional materials changed from “Forward outside to inside change of edge on a line” to “Beginning power pulls”)
  • T-stop, R or L (Basic 6: R and L)
  • Lunge (Basic 4) √
  • Two-foot spin into one-foot spin (Basic 6)

(Items in bold are the things I’ve already completed.)

Here’s an example of some recent work with spins. It’s not the best I’ve done but a big improvement over where I was. In particular I’m finding the “sweet spot” on the blade a lot more commonly than I was before:

One of the things my instructor had us do in a recent class was this exercise where we were doing forward edges around one of the hockey circles then deepen the edge, which involved deepening the knee bend, so you skate a tighter circle inside the hockey circle and tangential to it. When you return to the hockey circle, you open up the edge a bit and continue on the hockey circle. It looks something like this (forgive the poor artwork):

As I understand it, that’s about control of your edges. I’ve been practicing it some during my public skate sessions. I can hold my forward edges pretty much until I coast to a near stop. Backward…not so much. Still working on that. One online coach recommends as an initial exercise for a more advanced technique than anything I’m working on right now (Back spin, to be precise), doing a backward outside edge while holding the spin body position, all the way around one of the hockey circles. And while I’m not anywhere near ready to start working on back spins (Free-Skate 2, 3 levels above where I am now), I don’t think it’s too early to work on holding my back edges for an extended period.

The other thing I have been working on is the forward inside three-turn. It remains a challenge, in part because I’ve been doing it wrong. That means I now have a bad habit to unlearn before I can start doing it right.

Still…looking back it’s hard to imagine how far I’ve come in just over two years.

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