Goth on Ice: Progress report

I’ve been working on a number of techniques lately at various levels.

First there are my backward outside edges. I “passed”, demonstrating them sufficient for level some months back but looking ahead one uses them a lot and so I have been working on getting them better, trying to hold them longer, with proper form, and without dragging toe-picks (a perennial problem with my backward skating):

Next there’s that inside three turn. It’s continuing to be a challenge, that’s for sure. Main problems are getting my hips around far enough and I tend to get onto my toe pick after completing the turn (see above about getting on toe picks with backward skating.

Then there’s my two-foot to one-foot spin. There are numerous problems here. One is that I’m not entirely stable in the spin and tend to “fall out of it” (not actually falling usually, just ending up setting down the foot breaking the spin). I also tend to drag the toe picks of my left foot. You see, if you drag the toe pick, that slows the spin. However, if you get your weight too far back, you catch the edge at the heel and that’s when you do fall, and I mean actually fall. So, my instinct is to keep my weight forward, too far. So that’s one thing I’m working on. Other issues are dropping the left hip or shoulder as I go into the spin or staying in a slight crouch rather than standing tall. There are like about 15 things you have to coordinate to make the spin happen and when you focus on one of them you tend to lose control of the others. So, progress feels slow, but I’m told at some point it will “click”. Fingers crossed on that.

Next we have backward stroking. I can’t often practice this because I really don’t feel comfortable when there are too many people on the ice. However, going forward there’s so much stuff that’s done from backward skating that I really need to get comfortable skating backward. That means skating with control and confidence and…no toe picks! Backward stroking is shown near the end of the lesson in this video. Coach Julia does them straight back. My own coaches want me to do them gliding on a back inside edge rather than the flat so I proceed in graceful swoopy curves rather than in a straight line:

I am continuing to practice my continuous forward edges along a line. The incomparable Coach Julia shows how to do them here. Pro tip: They’re a lot harder than it looks like they’d be:

In addition, there are various combination moves. Most of them are relatively simple: alternating crossovers (front or back) doing one to the left then one to the right, moving in “s” curves down the ice. But the more complicated one is the 10 step “Combination move”. In the Learn to Skate USA materials it’s just called “combination move” but, try doing a search for that on YouTube. Lots and lots of “false positives.” Fortunately somebody pointed me at this video which shows how it’s supposed to look: Supposed to.

And, last but not least, there are my two jumps: the Side Toe Hop (also called the Toe Tap Jump) and the Bunny Hop. I had first done the Bunny Hop just on one side but was advised I need to do this both ways. And, so, I’ve started working the other side and…it’s not going well.

So, those are the things I am working on. A long way from when I started and “forward marching” without ending up flat on my back was a challenge.

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