Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year: Time to Break Out the Star Chart

When I was a kid I loved star charts.  When we were little my mom made star charts for us for all those little-kid habits she wanted us to develop, like brushing our teeth and making our beds.  And my favorite thing was getting to put my foil stars on the chart when I did what I was supposed to.  As an adult they gradually morphed into to-do lists, that allowed me to revel in crossing off items (though I almost never have gotten through an entire one).  But I have to admit that, even today, when I have a habit or practice that I know I should do but just can't seem to cultivate, my personal nuclear option is the tried-and-true star chart.  Now that I have turned fifty I have decided to stop fighting this leftover vestige of childhood and use it.  And my coach, Melody, has happily complied, by providing me with a new and ambitious regimen for skating practice.  It's actually aspirational, in that there are things on the list I can't do at all, and much of the list is comprised of things I do poorly.  But you have to start somewhere, and this list is it.  We started this morning during an hour-long lesson, and I am supposed to try to do it every practice session I do.

Melody wisely got me inspired to take on my new and ambitious (for me) regimen by taking me over to Lake Placid with her other adult student, Leslie, to skate in the Olympic complex there and watch some former world champions perform.  Here we are at the rink.

Here's the list, in all its color-coded glory (purple is stuff I can at least nominally do and/or have passed a test on at some point; green are things that I've started working on; and red are things that I have thus far been too terrified or skills-deficit to even attempt).

  • Forward & backward alternating crossovers
  •  Backward inside & outside consecutive edges (I passed a test on these, but if the judge who passed me could have seen me today, she might have retrospectively failed me)
  •  Landing position drill   x 5

Further Skills
  • Cross rolls (forward & backward)
  •  Power pulls (forward & backward)
  •  Three turns (outside forward, inside forward & outside backward, inside backward)
  •  Mohawks (inside & outside )
  • Five Step Mohawk Sequence
  • Backward snowplow stops (two foot and one foot)   
  • Forward T-stops  (left and right)
  • Spirals (forward straight line plus inside and outside edges)
  • Spirals (backward straight line plus inside and outside edges)
  • Lunges (both legs)
  • Bunny hops (left & right)
  •  Spins (1 & 2 foot)  x 10 each
  •  Waltz jumps   x 10
  •  Salchows  x 10
  •  Toe loops  x 10
  •  Loop jump prep at the wall   x 5
  • Pre-Bronze Freestyle test routine  x 2
During today's lesson two of my major obstacles showed up uninvited but vociferously -- my problems with right knee and my fear of falling, especially when jumping.  We started off working on back edges (that is,  skating on one foot going backward leaning to the outside or inside of the blade to go in alternating half circles) and then power pulls.  Then, because my right knee was really acting up we skipped working on spinning (which I do on my right leg) to work on toe loops and introduce loop jumps. 

We were skating during a public session that just kept getting more and more crowded, so after the lesson was over, trying to work on backwards skating with the kids darting around pushing milk crates seemed like a very bad idea. So, not many stars for today. But, the process has begun, and I have a list with which to chart my progress - which I think I will try to do monthly.  Here's hoping for lots of foil stars in 2017!

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