Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Achy Breaky Foot

Some people are gifted in skating. They can learn even complex skills in 3 or 4 repetitions. The may not be smooth, or graceful, but they've got the basics down.

I take 40.

Coach Cruella has a very methodical way of teaching edges, and particuarly turns. It's very structured and appeals to my need for rigor. She starts with step A and works through to G or F or Q.  I like this approach as it allows me to break a new skill down into pieces. By the time I've worked through the whole thing, I'm really solid and able to enter the turn even with a bad entry, or do things with leg and arm positions that are 'off kilter', or do it dance style vs. freestyle style.

I've found that it takes me about 40 repetitions to get the first few parts of a turn until they're at the 'don't have to think about it' stage. Then maybe another 40 reps, to get the last few skills habituated. But often that last arm position--everything I do seems to have an arm position thing at the end--eludes me.

Coach Cruella just reaches in and moves my arm while I'm moving. Aaaaaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!! Nerve wracking!!!

Usually when I'm learning these new skills, I'm anxious (the whole falling thing) and I tense up. After the first few repetitions my toes are numb and my insteps are aching like they're on fire, which brings brings us to the point of this post. Cruella's recipe for fixing this is to bend the knees and raise the toes. Apparently, when stressed, people crunch their toes and this restricts blood to the arch of the foot, causing that achy breaky foot.

It seems to work. Although as the lesson goes on, I have to do it over and over. As I get comfortable with the skill, I usually stop the toe clenching and my feet feel fine.

So, in summary, to help with the achy breaky foot caused by tension not a boot defect (pain in the arch)

Stand on two feet. Bend the knees. Raise the toes in the boots. It will take a few seconds.

Hope it works for you!

Man, I've got like 4000 repetitions to get those CCW back edges. My toes will see the top of my boots plenty of times!

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