Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Skating Progress: One small step for a skater ...

In my copious spare time, I've come up with the 5 Ps of Progress:

(1) Practice,
(2) Perspire,
(3) Persevere,
(4) have Patience with yourself, and
(5) Push yourself out of your comfort zone

Perhaps it will catch on; if so, I hope it's attributed to me and not to some famous person or high-level coach. Just remember, you saw this stroke of genius here on HipSk8 first.

I try to live by these whenever I get on the ice. Lately I've focused on #5, which is easy because just stepping on the ice is out of my comfort zone most of the time. I am trying to push myself to skate faster, turn more quickly, and bend my ankles/knees more.

Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. I don't always know what is going to happen, even when I try something I've done for years. Most things, no matter how many times I repeat them, feel "new," as if I am doing them for the first time every time. This is disconcerting. My body doesn't seem capable of learning things very well.

I still have balance issues which my PT says is a lack of proprioreception because of the new orientation of my legs in relation to my pelvis and the trauma those body parts experienced. For everyday things like walking this isn't a big issue; for an activity that relies on the body's ability to recognize and respond to subtle shifts in weight and balance such as skating, it's huge. Yoga and balancing exercises off the ice help, but I still generally feel off balance even doing formerly "easy" things.

I also never know just how far my hips will turn out (or not) when I need them to and when one or the other might lock up out of nowhere in protest. When I reach the end of my ROM mid-mohawk or my hip locks up just as I'm about to step on that leg, a stumble is bound to result. So it's always a crapshoot what is going to happen, and that makes me tentative.

What really holds me back is the fact that my muscles still tire quickly. I know if I could practice more I would improve more, because repetition is the key to muscle memory. After an hour of skating I am usually more than done, and I am too sore the next day (and sometimes the day after) to skate again and reinforce the Progress I've made. So I tend to plateau, which is one of the "Ps" that does not significy Progress.

I skated patch last night, and I was able to do all 3 turns except LFI (can do that one with a quick toe touch before, or with my free leg extended wide, but not in a controlled way). I can do all inside rockers, F and B, on one foot except LFI (same issue with turning clockwise on the left foot). I can do all four outside rockers on one foot. I can do FI counters (yes, even on the left foot - no issue with turning counter-clockwise). I did not try the other counters. I did not work on brackets. I am making progress on my FI mohawks but haven't tried open or closed FO. I did several decent (but slow) Blues choctaws. I did several decent FI takeoff double twizzles, both directions (my left used to be much better than my right but now they are about equal since the left leg is so weak). I did recognizable forward outside loops. I did all of the twizzles in the Ravensburger Waltz several times.

Yep, I said Ravensburger Waltz.

They were slow and not partnered (always easier for me) but oh yeah, those are certainly considered difficult, so I'm extremely happy about that! But twizzles have always been easy for me. I am not at all surprised that they are much easier than mohawks for me at this point. The irony is that I may be able to skate the Rave competently some day but not the Fiesta Tango. Stay tuned for more progress reports.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to "P."

No comments: