Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Group: I Learn some Mechanics

Coincidentally, Moves Coach is also the Freestyle 1 group coach. She's determined to get me to jump. Helloooo! 60 and 50! (60 years old and carrying an extra 50 lbs, and I'm wearing dance boots) Jumps are not in my future. Still she teaches me the mechanics of the half flip.

Pick behind. Half turn, catch the other pick step forward.

I think.

I'm so traumatized by the whole thing, that even though I never let go of my death grip on the boards, my memory of the steps is blocked out by the memory of my life flashing before my eyes. Still I practice it one way and then the other while Moves Coach goes to another student.

When Moves Coach gets back to me, she has me do a two foot spin. It's a good day; I  get two and a half revolutions CCW. CW I can get three. Stately, elderly lady spins.

"So, you can spin both ways?" she says.

I then realize that Dance Coach has drilled into me the fact that I have to do everything both ways in dance, so I just practice everything both ways regardless.

I know coaches have ways of determining which way a skater will jump and spin. The problem with my spins, is even though I'm more comfortable with CCW spinning, I actually spin better CW.  There's the same effect with my (board assisted) half flips. Moves Coach has me picking behind with my right foot,  which feels safe, but when I pick behind with my left foot, it's smoother. So even though my right leg is the stronger and dominant leg, I actually seem to be better balanced when I'm turning in the opposite direction.

The 'why' of  this phenomenon rather baffles me. Although I'm right handed/footed, I'm left eye dominant, but I don't see how that can affect my balance. It's a puzzlement.

I kind of like learning things both ways. I never know what I'm going to discover.


  1. I am very right side dominate. My left leg muscle imbalance is so large you can see it visually and sadly my pt has used me as an example of lack of muscle tone on the inner quad for students (since they can feel the right leg for easy comprising to the left leg). But I skate lefty.

    My rotational preference is so strongly clockwise from years of dance. I can't fight it.

    I think this is why I am so stuck on a loop...I need the left leg strength.

    Good luck on the half flip. I think it is a good skill to have. As you dance up the chain toe pick movements start sneaking their way in.

    1. When you say that you are right footed, do you mean that when kicking a ball, that you would prefer to use your right foot to *kick* the ball, or to *stand* on while your left foot kicks the ball? The leg that you prefer to stand on while kicking is the leg that you prefer to balance on, and for most people this will be the leg they prefer to spin on (or have forward when snow boarding, skate boarding or skim boarding). Another test that snow board rental places will use to determine the balancing leg is to have a person to stand relaxed with the knees slightly bent and then give the person light shove in the back - the leg the person uses to catch themselves is the leg they prefer to balance on.

      Good for you for learning the beginnings of jumping and spinning in both directions. I think it will be helpful to your ice dancing.

      While the half flip feels scary at first, you'll probably progress with it fairly quickly. One thing that helps is that you're moving from foot to foot and landing on picks, so you have the option of cheating on the rotation not doing all of the half turn while going from the back edge to the first pick, and then doing the rest of of the turn as you move to the second pick. While this isn't the best form, it can make it easier to get comfortable to do it without hanging onto the boards, and then once you're more confident, you can improve the form.

      For me, as a teenager, the real challenge came when I started on the flip jump, which takes off and lands on the *same foot*, so there was no way to cheat the rotation when first learning. It took me a lot of work to get it down, but was such a thrill when I finally had it mastered.

      I've been really enjoying your blog entries since finding them a few weeks ago. It's got me motivated to get going on getting skating back into my life, after about 25 years off. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Anonymous 04:34. Those are some interesting tips. Unfortunately, my kicking leg is also my good balance leg. I must be wired wrong.
    I'm glad you enjoy the blog. I hope you'll be back. Good luck with the skating.