Friday, July 13, 2012

The Sweet Spot (Edited)

(Edit) I had a lesson with Coach Cruella a week after I wrote this post. I found I'd misunderstood her in a lesson, so now I'm correcting this entry.  Yeah, it's a little confusing that I'm editing an old post, but I didn't want to leave a bad process floating around on the net.
So I'm still working on smooth, swoopy mohawks with Coach Cruella. I can occasionally get these on my own, but they're not to the level of Russian Freestyle perfection that Coach Cruella wants. This week, I'm a little bit closer.

So, I've written before about Coach Cruella's pedagogical method for teaching mohawks to adults.
1. Start from a T position, with the weight on the back foot
(edit) 2. Check the forward shoulder by moving the forward arm in front of your chest (I think of putting it over the boob)
3. Bend the knees so a metaphorical basketball (!) can be held between them
4. Push off with the back foot (the strike) onto an inside edge and onto the 'sweet spot' of the forward skate.
5. Skating forward (the checked shoulder will do this for you), bring the free foot to the arch of the skating foot while going deeper in the knee (edit) and check the forward shoulder.(end edit)
6. (This next part I DO NOT HAVE consistently yet) turn the skating foot (Edit) As a result of the check, the skating foot will turn inside the circle. Step down with the free foot, and sort of push the skating foot away while  placing the free foot on the ice, while going down in the knee some more (!). (edit--after I started doing step 5 correctly, I now have the step down for the mohawk solid)
7. Raise the arm that was formerly in the checked position. Smile for the audience.

I've left out all the stuff about leg position that we worked a whole lesson on.  This is not something you can learn from reading a blog post.

Anyway, this week I finally figured out about the 'sweet spot' she was talking about. I figured it out, because I was leaning to far forward in step four, the strike. Cruella fussed at me and made me do the strike over and over. If I was leaning forward she told me I was skating on the ball of the foot, which left me no place to roll forwards.

So, the 'sweet spot' in this case is towards the back of the foot, but not at the heel. For me I feel it's just under the back of the arch of my foot. My body is nicely balanced with good posture (don't look down). I can hold my free leg with nice extension going into the mohawk (exiting the mohawk--still have issues), and I can get a nice 'x' on the ice where the exchange of feet takes place.

Then we started improving the exchange of feet, by turning the first skating foot inside the circle before I drop the exchange foot in.

I got nuzzink for that unless I just get lucky.

I've seen people learn mohawks in a single lesson. I've been working on these for weeks. Mucho frustrado. (Edit from a week later--not frustrado anymore!)
Does this never end?


  1. My mohawks are also a work in progress. Coach has been trying to make mine quieter (translation: "Can we get rid of the huge scrape where you try and slow down before the turn and then scramble the other foot into position when you set it down"). It's pot luck at the moment, but apparently are getting better.

  2. I wide-step big time if I want any speed out of the mohawks, sigh.

  3. I feel your pain, I've been watching kids and adults master the axel in less than a year, I think it's been at least three years that I've been working on it, maybe more. If I actually thought about how long I've been working on it I'd get depressed.