Monday, April 2, 2012

Fix It or Rebuild It?

I cheerfully admit to being a beginner skater. Oh, right, I've passed Basic 8 and got stuffed into Freestyle 1, but I always felt my basic skills were weak and....sloppy. I can do them, but they're nothing to be proud of. 
You can be both cute and sloppy. But only when you're young
So, initially I tried to get my coaches to 'fix' my weak skills. That didn't work.  Then last summer at Lake Placid, I went to Coach Amazing and said, "Rebuild my crossovers."

She got a big smile on her face. Finally, a student without ego!

I had strong crossovers, but they weren't smooth or with an underpush and attempts by other coaches to tweak them hadn't worked. So in a half hour Coach Amazing rebuilt them into what they are today. I'm still working on the consistency of my Twinkle Toes Maneuver, but they're smooth and powerful. (During my last lesson Dance Coach kept me going around and around the center circle doing crossovers while he stood silently by. Finally I stopped, "What's wrong with them?" He frowned, "Nothing, I was enjoying watching them." Well, yes, that made my day.)

This has become my mantra for my weak skills: Rebuild, don't fix. For my weak skills on my goal card, I plan to rebuild them from scratch as if I had never learned them before. This is my way of breaking bad habits, and constructing skills with the skating knowledge I didn't have when I first learned them.

Now, I'm working on rebuilding my Mohawks with Coach Cruella. She started with the inside edge with bent knee, then bring the free foot to the instep and go even deeper in the knee.

A light went on in my head!

Oh, THAT's what I'm supposed to do?

 For years I'd been unconsciously treating the mohawk like you do a 3 turn--down, up, down--and Coach Cruella said it was down, then down deeper.  No wonder my mohawks are hoppy! There's still some ways to go; my mohawks aren't as strong as my crossovers, but progress is being made. I suspect other coaches have taught me the same thing, but until I was recommitted to rebuilding the skill--as if I had never learned it before--was I able to break a bad, unconscious habit.

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