Here’s to 2014 and Better Skating!

9 Jan

I’ve been skating over the last few months a lot, indoor, outdoor, small and large rinks. We are talking about at least 3-4x times a week up until the holidays. Now that the holidays are over again, I am back to the rink! I’ve skated twice this week with another two sessions planned. A year ago this would have been a dream and now it is finally a reality. My knees while not perfect are so much better now then what they were and now that they are I can practice everything I wanted to do two years ago.

This is so exciting to me! I’ve been taking lessons weekly and have been learning so much and big surprise, none of them have been about freestyle. The younger me would’ve freaked out by this and I admit, I am still dreaming about those doubles and layback spins but for now I will focus on my basic skating skills like a good student ūüėČ and soon I will return to lessons on beloved jumps and spins.

This blog has been left to it’s own devices for a few months again and this time I am determined to update regularly. I think it’s important to keep a record of skating lessons as we go on because it is so easy to forget the details and we all pay so much for them!

So to begin with, the last few months have been a whirlwind of technique changes in stroking, crossovers and practice patterns for the silver mif test. ¬†And…yes, I am still working on that same test. I am happy to say, that now with my knee pain under control and with so much diligent work on my stroking that I have improved in leaps and bounds and can honestly see and feel the change in everything I do skating wise. I can also say laying off of the jumps and spins probably gave my knees a break as well. While I will still practice my freestyle, it is only for 15-20 min of an hour or hour and a half long session¬†and I do believe that has helped. ¬†I have also been seeing a massage therapist every week or so and that has helped relieve a lot of my muscle tension in my IT band and back which I believe has been a large driving force behind the knee pain. If you have patella femoral syndrome (runners or jumpers knee) I highly recommend seeing a massage therapist. It may take some time but you will see a huge difference in the knee pain. Targeted Stretching (I mentioned Bikram too in earlier posts) before and after skating, vitamins (yes, I am talking about glucosamine) and a change in diet has all helped my knee pain. I will go into this in more detail in another post but suffice to say, everything is so much better now that the knees are under control and I am able to skate pain free for the most part. (Knock on wood! ha.)

But back to the skate lessons, my warmup every day on ice is to stroke around the perimeter once or twice to get a feel for it and then I launch into what is essentially the pre-juv and adult bronze Forward and backward perimeter power stroking. These consist of¬†alternating forward crossovers with a strong inside edge hold down one side of the rink, two crossovers around the end of the rink into a right inside mohawk. Then going down the other side of the rink I start alternating back crossovers with a strong back inside edge hold till the end pattern which consists of 4-5 back crossovers and then turning forward and stopping. I do that at least 5-6 times sometimes even more in a day. When I first started doing it, it was not a warm up, it was half my session! It’s not even on my test but when I first started doing them I could barely control my forward inside mohawk and my left forward crossover took me down more then once on a a session as did my first back crossovers because I neglected my underpush. ¬†I’ve been doing back crossovers for 10 years confidently however, with technique changes I struggled to change the way I did things. This move is not on my silver test but this alone has improved my basic skating skills so much that I wanted to note it here for future reference. I realize now that when I took my bronze test that I did NOT do these correctly. That may be why I barely passed that test! You should have speed and power and each crossover backwards and forwards should point you towards one side of the boards or the other never diagonal. 3 months of doing these sometimes for 15-20 min a day has made forward crossovers 10x better and faster and they will make yours better too, I promise. Just make sure you do them right aka get a coach to show you and wow, what a difference in just getting from point A to B going to do a jump or stroking.

This is my base to warm up everything else for the silver moves. In one of my next posts I’ll talk about the silver moves, at least the ones that I have somewhat mastered. Exciting stuff. Yep, I know. Where has the young freestyler gone? Well, she hasn’t gone anywhere, just waiting for her chance to leap high in the air once she masters the basics! I’m chomping at the bit but holding myself back!

My boyfriend bought me tickets to the Figure Skating Nationals in Boston for the Women’s and Men’s free so I hope to see some truly awesome skating to inspire me even more! I’ll be taking photos and I hope to post some here as well.

Here’s to 2014 and better skating!

Till next week.

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