Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weak Side First Revisited

A while back I wrote a post about practicing my weak side before I practiced my 'fun side'. Clockwise back crossovers--fun side--so I start with counter-clockwise back crossovers. Left mohawks--fun side--start with the other side.

I read an article years back that even elite skaters spend more time doing their fun skills than the hard skills. But statistically, those that practice their weak skills proportionally more, are in the top contenders.  Weak side first is my little way of forcing myself to at least spend some time doing my weak skills than I would if  I started out with my strong side.

Does it work? Well, yeah. Otherwise I'd never make any progress on my weak sides.
Without weak side first, this would be me.
 Now, I'm doing a variant of that to improve my back stroking. When I get on the ice, I do a single lap around the rink, then do a 2 foot turn and start back stroking.  Yeah, practicing evil back strokes almost as soon as I step on the ice.

I used to wait until my legs were nice and warm--or that was my excuse to myself--and that was why I never got comfortable with back stroking.  My stroking is pretty sucky, but at least I'm doing it with my upper body half turned to look over my shoulder. I never used to be able to do that. So, baby strokes and I improve.


  1. My coach got mad at me for even mentioning a weaker side. I had to work really hard to even things out, especially for my last Moves test. She said that skaters should not have a weak side - at least that is the goal. Easier said than done!

  2. Everyone has a weak side. I mean, eventually you can get it to where the perception is that there is no weak side, but one side will always be stronger. The trick is getting your brain to conveniently forget that fact before you try something scary so you can get your body to actually do it. Also helpful - try the strong side, then switch to the weak side and try to make it feel the same. It won't, but if you can feel/figure out why it isn't the same then you can work to fix it.

    Also, warming up with the hard stuff - it isn't fun, but it works. Also good is trying the hard stuff, then do something easy/fun, then try the hard stuff again. Don't know why but it feels much easier the second time around in a practice session and some of the good habits start to stick.

  3. CCW is my weak side. I turned myself into a CCW jumper and spinner to force myself to work the weak direction. CW is still the better direction for turns, although now jumping in that direction is scary and attempts to spin CW leave me incredibly dizzy.

    Coincidentally, I've also been thinking about deliberate practice and I'm currently rereading Ericsson's seminal research article on the subject (now over 20 years old). I'm also reviewing later published work on the subject which debates some on Ericsson's theories. I'll blab (blog) about it soon.

  4. Next you'll be adding the evil mohawks for your turn from forwards to backwards and then everything gets practiced as soon as you get on the rink. But well done for knowing that you HAVE to do the hard stuff.