You Don't Got to Love it, You Just Got to Do It!

Today's lesson is on a Friday again, and I have to admit I love how empty the ice rink is. I am also getting used to skating twice a week. I have some time before my lesson and I use it to burn off a little bit of work stress. I skate round the rink with a fair bit of speed (this is a first for me as speed usually equals loss of control). But I know I need to clear my head before my lesson starts.

When it is time for my lesson we start off by doing a lap of the ice rink before doing a second lap skating backwards. John has noticed that I appear to be stressed and distracted and he offers a listening ear. It turns out that a good coach doesn't just push you on the ice, they notice when you are preoccupied and offer their help.

We skate into the middle of the rink and I start with practicing forward runs. After my last lesson I am feeling more confident about my runs although John repeatedly tells me off for not bending my knees. I am trying to the bend them, really I am, but my knees just don't want to play ball. There seems to be some sort of aversion to bending them. We keep practicing my runs because apparently I am not bending my knees enough. I swear I am bending them but John disagrees. I tell him that I don't like bending my knees and his reply is "You don't got to love it, you just got to do it!" This is not a theory I want to subscribe to. My other problem is I won't (or can't) relax my shoulders. Trying so hard to stay upright (this is always my priority) followed by concentrating on what I am doing with my feet means I am constantly tense and it shows. I know it isn't an attractive look but if it means I stay on my feet and dry then I will put up with a bit of shoulder tension.

Eventually John moves me onto two footed turns. Turns! Two footed or other is not something I feel comfortable with. In fact I am a little bit scared. John shows me what I need to do and then I am supposed to be replicate it. I try and I don't even manage to turn 90 degrees! This is not promising. I try again and I make it to 100 degrees, which is progress but still not good enough. I keep trying but I end up looking like I am trying to do some sort of doggy paddle on ice.

My lesson is split into two half hours with a break in between. At the end of the first half hour John leaves me to practice my turns and for the first time since I have started skating he has given me permission to practice near the barrier! I am shocked but also relieved that I will have something to hold onto should I lose my balance. I eventually manage to complete a 180 degree turn (without paddling my arms) and I am feeling immensely proud!

When we resume my lesson the section of ice that had been previously coned off for the DOI skaters is now free and John uses the opportunity of good ice to set me a task working on my outside edges. I'm supposed to skate on a left outside edge in a half circle before rotating my arms and then skating a right outside edge. I manage to complete the first left outside edge but when I try to do the right outside edge I can't bring myself round in a circle I just seem to go in a straight line before grinding to halt. I clearly need to work on pushing with my left foot. I'm not a fan of this particular exercise, it's even harder than crossovers. I do keep trying but I can't seem to make my right forward edges work. This is clearly going to take a lot of practice!

Diary of a New Skater :: by Sara Bertie