Saturday, August 19, 2017

The "F" Word

My coach, Miss Bianca, is chasing me around the rink and barking "push harder,", "move quicker!" as I scamper through the pre-bronze perimeter stroking regime.

With Scamper

Sadly, as hard as I'm scampering, she is skating along side of me going, "I'm skating faster than you." Well, okay, I'd be rattled by that except as smoothly and quickly as she is moving, she's doing three strokes for every one of mine. I'm clinging to the pipe dream that as I do long strokes, I'm slowing down faster than she is. "You go faster, when you try," she says.

"Don't say 'faster'," I say, "As far as I'm concerned, it's the 'F word'." 

A few minutes later I'm doing forward spins, and she's metaphorically cracking the whip to make my rotations, quicker, and I get a "probably 2 and a something 1 foot spin," my coach says. You're getting up to the speed you need. when you force yourself." WIN!! She totally avoided the " F word". Unwin? Well, I still have to skate fas.....never mind.

Now back edges, back edges, outside and inside.  "You need to skate  the 'F' word," she says.

Yes, I've trained my coach not to say the 'F' word--FASTER. And apparently, if I work my little legs off, I can do the 'F word' better than ever.

However, she has told me when I go to Lake Placid, I have to take Marc Fenczak's group class on "Gaining Power." I suspect I can't train him to avoid the F Word--I'm going to have to skate faster--and I'll still be at the tail end of the class no matter how 'F word' scamper I go!

Monday, August 14, 2017

My Coach Gets into the Act for "Cue Words"

I'm deep into my continuing adventure with 'cue words'. These are words you select to 'cue' you to perform a certain action. I wrote about them here when I started learning my back 8s.

The cue words do three things for me:
1. Distract my brain. I've got like a hurricane of things going on in my head during skill development.  A cue word makes me focus on one skill and not every skill.
2.  If the skill is extended, like the Back 8, a series of cue words can chain simple skills into a complex skill
3. If I pick the right cue, all the fiddly distracting skills will fall together. I know, it sounds weird, but it's working for me.

So, I'm working on my spins (both ways) with different skills. I need to get my righ free hip to the closed position. My right hip is naturally in the open position, which makes my  left spin very irregular. So, my cue word is "hip" when I spin to the left. This reminds me to get my free hip in the closed position.

I show this to my coach. "Hip hip hip hip" I go. I get a really decent spin. Lift the foot up, hit the rocker, spin--2 really nice rotations. The third rotation eludes me.

My coach stands like Carlo Fassi, hands in her pockets.  She's used to my unusual training activities. "Try 'knee, knee, knee'. I want your knees together. They're not quite there yet."

So, I've done the 'hip' cue word a few times. If I've done it enough I hope the hip skill merges into the knee skill when I hit the first "knee."

I do the two foot entry, and start chanting "knee, knee, knee!". My 'free' foot whips in, my hip closes, the foot raises and suddenly, I'm doing a big girl spin. I can hear my coach cheering "That's the speed I want to see!"

Internally, my body is chanting "slower slower slower!"

Yeah, there's the reason I'm not getting that 3rd rotation.