Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jan 14 Lesson: I Discover Fire!

I'm going to embed an important skating point in this post. Unfortunately, there's a lot of rambling before hand.

When I was learning to skate somethings were easy, some were hard. I learned things out of sequence of the learn to skate curriculum. My skating guru, the Big Guy, told me that it was normal. He learned mohawks in an afternoon, and took a summer to learn FO3. He was the one who inculcated in my the spirit of "Learn to Skate is not a race."

But since the broken ankle I had to relearn everything: proper stroking, proper crossovers, three turns, mohawks. For some reason, I couldn't do FI3. I tried at the boards, I tried in the center with coach providing assistance. Many times if I hadn't had something to hold me up, I would have fallen and hit my head.  I finally found a coach at Lake Placid who forced me to center my mass by keeping my legs together,  head up, and arms spread to balance me.  She also had this ankle action in the turn, I can't possibly describe. She got me doing FI3, but I didn't like being far from the boards. I still had a tendency  to fall off the back edge but it was 1 in 4 rather that 1 in 1. It was progress.

But my problem wasn't physical, it was also in my head. I'd developed this mental blank spot with FI3.

Over the last couple of months, I worked every session I skated on the FI3. I gradually worked my way away from the boards. I used behavior modification to desensitize myself to the fear I felt from falling. Then in Saturday lesson, Dance Coach said, "Let's try forward inside 3."

I popped one out. It was a proper FI3, with arms, body and legs in the right position. Dance Coach was delighted, "I never thought you'd get it!" Me, I thought I'd go to my grave without it. But in that moment, I felt like I had invented fire. I had got over my skating block.

I have Forward Inside Threes!
What did I do?
1. I practiced what I could every session. Even though they scared me.
2. I watched videos and tried what suggestions were presented
3. I followed the coaching advice I was given
4. I got over bad habits (looking down, hunching, not being centered). In fact I forced myself to get over bad habits.
5. I desensitized myself to my fear by slowly increasing the distance to the boards when I practiced. 

And now I have FI3, something so easy that most people learn it in a lesson. Learning to Skate isn't a race, it's a journey.


  1. YAY for you! Congratulations.

    For me, this is the salchow. The thing that has helped me the most is to stop working on it so much. I know that sounds weird, but I got to the point where I was so over-thinking it that I could NEVER land one. Then I quit working on it at all and started working on back-inside c-pushes for the MIF edges, and other things that were similar but not the jump. Now, the first few times I do it, before I think about it too much, it's a better jump than it is the more I practice it. My takeaway is not NOT to practice. ;) But it is that sometimes we over-think, and anything we can do to get out of our own heads will make the skill better.

  2. I agree that over thinking an element can be counterproductive. From my point of view working on the parts of the element is one of the ways I desensitized myself of the fear of the element. My weak area was the push onto the inside edge. I did a lot of edge drills outside and inside, and I think that helped (although I still worked on that darn turn).

    I now have to apply all this to the BO3.

    I envy you the ability to jump.