Lesson 7 – Flip Jumps and Footwork

The one jump I remember doing as an adult, besides a Waltz Jump, is a flip. Although, now that we tried them in today’s lesson, I can’t imagine that could be true. However, I went to my YouTube site and watched the video from 2013 and sure enough, it was an attempt of a flip. 

What a difference four years and a few painful falls makes… I spent over half of the lesson trying to get the flip presentable. These are my two of my better attempts, but I’m still not getting all the way around. 

2/25/17 Flip Attempt
2/25/17 Flip Attempt (again)

It started much worse than this. I made the mistake of doing a half-flip and that completely confused me when I tried the real flip. Luckily, one of the other adult students offered some pointers his coach told him. I watched him a few times and eventually I worked up the nerve to try it. My first 20 or so tries involved my free leg touching the ice. I was so excited the first time it didn’t, but then I saw my video and noticed I wasn’t getting all the way around. But, it’s definite progress. 

I practiced my salchow, toe-loop, and Waltz jumps and those all felt good. My back is definitely improving and bothered me much less today.

After getting worn out from jumping, I asked for help on the pre-bronze moves in the field footwork that I am struggling on. My worst skill, by far, is back inside edges. I guess they’re going to just take lots of practice, as they felt just as terrible after I asked for help than when I was practicing them before class started. 

I was happy to see that my reading and YouTube watching was beneficial for my Waltz 8. It’s hard to practice moves such as this on a crowded ice, but I think I was doing it correctly and feel like my confidence improved doing it during class. 

We only have two classes left of this session and then I have to decide if I want to sign up for the next session. It’s only 6 or 7 weeks long, depending on the day, and I’ll be gone three of the weeks, but I may be able to double up before I leave town for a really long business trip in West Virginia. Mental note – look for a rink near my hotel and use that time to practice!!

I hope to take the pre-bronze moves in the field test in August after receiving sage advice that USFSA dues aren’t prorated and renew in July. I will also need a coach by that point, so waiting until then allows me to take two more Learn to Skate sessions. 

I think I know who I will want for a coach, but she’s incredibly experienced, very technique driven, and probably won’t come cheap. I guess it will all depend on if her schedule works with mine and if she’s accepting new students. Luckily I have a few months to figure this all out!

Until then, I’m just thankful I’m improving and feeling better. I finished the Whole30 on Thursday and am to the reintroduction phase. I’m improvising this part a little, as I want to introduce items, not whole categories, but I don’t want it to take forever. I’m also monitoring many variables (weight, measurements, sleep, stress, focus, energy, and mood) to look for changes. Any significant change will return me to the Whole30 to stabilize. I’ve been very pleased with the Whole30 and between this and the Daniel Fast, I’ve lost about 15 pounds! More importantly, I’ve been sleeping better and feel better, physically and emotionally. I’ve also been working on the spiritual side too, and see improvements in my relationship with God, as well.  2017 is off to a very good start!!

Lesson 6 – Focus on Footwork

My back was feeling pretty decently last night, so I started my practice by working on my jumps (waltz jump, salchow, toe-loop) and my scratch spin.  They were okay, I’m still leery of the salchow because I’m afraid it will hurt my back.  Not wanting to push too much, I changed my focus to three-turns and edges during the rest of the time I practiced, and decided that Lesson 6 would be a good opportunity to work on footwork.  I reviewed what is required for the pre-bronze moves in the field test to see where I stood.

Forward Perimeter Stroking (in Both Directions) – I have not practiced much in the clockwise direction, as that would be a hindrance to normal flow, but I should check this out in the near future.

Basic Consecutive Edges (Forward Outside and Inside/Backward Outside and Inside) – My forward edges felt good on my own, but I wanted to make sure my arms and technique were appropriate.  My backwards edges are shaky and slow.  I recognized that I needed some assistance in doing these properly.

Forward and Backward Crossovers – I am comfortable with my crossovers in all directions.  I just will need to learn what the transitions are, as “a swing roll & change of edge to open mohawk to turn around” is an incomprehensible  language for me!

Waltz 8 – I read what a waltz 8 is supposed to be and I’m comfortable with three-turns and mohawks, so this should be doable, I just will want to practice this in a lesson before trying on my own.

Forward Right and Left Foot Spirals – I have these fears of sticking my chest down far enough to get my leg to horizontal, and kicking someone in the process.  It also puts a lot of pressure on my back.  I’ve tried them each week, but they haven’t been anything special.

There were only two of us in our usual adult group, and we decided to work on footwork.  The first item I worked on was brackets.  I’m sure I once knew this, but a bracket is like a three-turn, but you rotate your body in the opposite direction and it leaves a different mark on the ice.  For instance, if I was going to do a left inside three-turn, I would start on the inside edge of my left foot and turn my body clockwise to end up on the left outside edge.  With a bracket, I am only changing the rotation, but keeping the edges the same.  I start on a left inside edge, turn counter-clockwise, and then exit on the left outside edge.  As I experienced, this is easier said than done…

I understand the brackets starting on an inside edge are easier than those starting on an outside edge.  I tried the outside one by accident and it seemed to be of a similar difficulty, so maybe that’s a good thing.  I apparently also did a rocker by mistake.  (I will say that I love when you mess up in figure skating and the messed up move has a name; it’s very comforting to me!)

I found that the right inside bracket was easier than the left inside bracket, but they were both very challenging to me.  I definitely will have to practice these!

Left Inside Bracket

Right Inside Bracket

Next, I worked on edges and learned what to do with my arms and feet.  I did very well on the forward edges, once I learned how you change your arms and that your feet come together before you push into the next edge.  My backward outside edges improved once I learned how to take the push to get them going.  However, I struggled with the push required for the backward inside edges.

Finally, I did spirals and got over my fear of lifting my leg to horizontal.   I felt equally comfortable on both legs.  I think I must have appeared too confident once I figured them out, as the skater working with me asked if I wanted to try back spirals.  Uhhhh – no thanks, not yet!!

Right and Left Spirals

After class, I spoke to one of the coaches to see if staying in the Learn to Skate program would help me prepare for testing and eventually competition.  She said it all depends on the number of people and the level of the class.  Small groups of more advanced adult skaters would give more one-on-one instruction.  The group lessons are (I’m assuming) significantly cheaper than the private lessons, so maybe that’s a good thing to consider for now.  Luckily, I have three more lessons to figure this out…

Over the Hump of the First Session – Lesson 5

The Whole30 has been doing some incredible things in my world. I’m on Day 9 (not counting the 21 day Daniel Fast) and I’ve dropped some weight without even trying to or worrying about it, I feel better, my clothes fit right again, and my emotions feel much more stable. 

My back pain is about 50% of what it was, although it still comes and goes, for reasons I don’t understand. Today was worse than yesterday (less sleep perhaps), but it didn’t feel nearly as bad as this time last week. 

The craziest thing is how uncharacteristically flexible I was at yoga on Tuesday night (my second class in years, and my second ever “real, taught by a yogi” class) and I was even able to relax during shavasana, which is something I’ve always struggled with. It was absolutely amazing!

I was hoping my good feelings would carry on to the rink this week and it was good. I was definitely more comfortable than the past couple of weeks and it showed in my practice. 

I was excited that I was on the ice the majority of the hour session and didn’t feel like I was overdoing it. I practiced stroking, edges, three-turns (holding the final edges), scratch spins, Waltz jumps, the Waltz jumps with the two hop, salchow, toe loops, backward edges, and spirals. Everything was feeling better!! I tried to convince myself to do a flip, but I never completely worked up the nerve, but it was definitely a start!

Here are the two videos I took: 

2/2/17 – Salchow in Practice
2/2/17 – Toe Loops in Practice

This is the first lesson where I feel like I did better in practice than in the lesson. We worked on scratch spins and salchows. At the end of the lesson, we were introduced to back outside three-turns, which was the most awkward move I’ve attempted yet!

I learned that a scratch spin only counts if your free leg crosses in front of the standing leg. Otherwise, it’s just a one-foot spin. I tried to get my leg there, but it sure is scary!! Apparently making an “h” with your free leg helps with all your jumps and spins. This video isn’t my best attempt, but it wasn’t my worst either. Well, maybe the first one, where I was completely off balance was one of the worst….

2/2/17 – Scratch Spin in Lesson

My best salchow was the one I did to show the teacher where I was. It had a little lift; I was balanced on the back outside edge; it wasn’t too “swingy”. The thing I needed to work on was my arms. Apparently they were just kinda there. After that, the more I practiced my arms, the worse my feet got! At one point, the co-teacher, who is like 14-15 years old, broke it down with the “h” position idea. I watched her and it looked like her jump was separate from her three-turn. Her jump was great; I saw her points, but doing them was a completely different story. 

And then there were those weird backward outside three-turns… Backward crossovers, left foot in front of your right foot, and you turn counter-clockwise on your left foot. I’m not sure how to do that when my weight is on my right foot. I guess there will be videos in my future… and practice – lots of opportunities for practice! 

As I was leaving, the coach said not to worry about those because they are a level ahead of where we are. I laughed and said I have no idea what level I am, but I’ll practice them and I’m sure I’ll figure it out!

And now I am home with a huge, painful knot in my lower back on the left side. My husband is experimenting with his tens unit to see if it helps. I don’t feel like I did anything to deserve this pain, no tweaks, no falls, everything felt strong. Sigh… Such is life for now, I guess, but I refuse to let this become the new normal.