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beginner's skating

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10-09-2013, 12:31 PM
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ggro
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beginner's skating

So I had my first skating lesson today. Guy gave me some pretty good tips on how to build a solid foundation, e.g. to get good balance, practice transferring your weight from one leg to the other. Lift the rear leg without pushing backwards, and then balance on the flat edge of the lead skate for as long you can.

Here's what my problem is: I can balance on my left skate (going forwards) for around 10 seconds, but can barely manage 2 seconds with the right skate. Also, when practicing snow plough stops (he said I'd have to master these before even trying hockey stops), I can only use my left skate to stop - my right skate just refuses to cooperate. When I practice 'shaving' the ice in a stationary position, my left skate can make a tidy little pile of ice, while my right just kinda bites into it, no matter how I angle it or how much force I apply.

The instructor told me that it was simply a matter of my left leg being stronger than my right, and that my right would catch up through constant practice, but I was wondering if you guys had any hints or tips that might help.

cheers

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10-09-2013, 12:45 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggro View Post
So I had my first skating lesson today. Guy gave me some pretty good tips on how to build a solid foundation, e.g. to get good balance, practice transferring your weight from one leg to the other. Lift the rear leg without pushing backwards, and then balance on the flat edge of the lead skate for as long you can.

Here's what my problem is: I can balance on my left skate (going forwards) for around 10 seconds, but can barely manage 2 seconds with the right skate. Also, when practicing snow plough stops (he said I'd have to master these before even trying hockey stops), I can only use my left skate to stop - my right skate just refuses to cooperate. When I practice 'shaving' the ice in a stationary position, my left skate can make a tidy little pile of ice, while my right just kinda bites into it, no matter how I angle it or how much force I apply.

The instructor told me that it was simply a matter of my left leg being stronger than my right, and that my right would catch up through constant practice, but I was wondering if you guys had any hints or tips that might help.

cheers
Missing a few details.

Your age and athletic background? Which is your power leg? Have you ever had a serious injury to your right leg - fracture, ligament damage, etc requiring an operation(inc scoping), immobilization, rehab?

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10-09-2013, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Your age and athletic background? Which is your power leg? Have you ever had a serious injury to your right leg - fracture, ligament damage, etc requiring an operation(inc scoping), immobilization, rehab?
Early 20s, no real athletic background to speak of but I guess I'm in average shape, no idea what a power leg is. I haven't had any injuries.

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10-09-2013, 01:23 PM
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Jarick
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Doesn't sound like a strength issue to me...sounds like balance. Can you stand on one leg in bare feet?

Practice definitely helps. What also helped me was visualizing balance and learning about center of gravity and the edges.

It's easier to balance when your knees are bent. If you have straight, stiff legs, you're probably bending forward at the waist and that makes it harder to balance.

You want the knees bent and the butt going back with your torso forward a bit. This is an exaggerated image, but look at the first person:



Notice that the center of gravity is in the middle of the foot, the butt is back, the knees are forward, pelvis is tilted so the torso leans forward slightly.

Now watch hockey players skate from the side...looks kinda similar!

The other thing is laterally, realize you're on one or two edges at a time ever. When you push off for a forward stride, you're pushing off the inside edge of one foot, then gliding on the inside edge of the other foot. That's good to practice right there.

Anyways, pick up the book Laura Stamm's Power Skating, it's going to describe all of that really well with a lot of drills and will be a good reference going forward.

Have fun!

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10-09-2013, 02:40 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggro View Post
Early 20s, no real athletic background to speak of but I guess I'm in average shape, no idea what a power leg is. I haven't had any injuries.
Your stronger leg. Just like handedness. Your right or left is your power arm or stronger arm

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10-09-2013, 03:31 PM
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JoeCool16
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That sounds pretty normal unless I'm missing something. This is especially true if you've done any skating before lessons, as most (including me!) become better on one side and then use it more. It just takes time, working twice as hard on the other side. For instance, if you practice gliding on your weaker side just a TON for one skate, by the end of it you'd find that you're more comfortable and will be able to hold a glide longer. Same goes for stopping on the weak side, etc.

Just keep working at it!

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10-09-2013, 08:20 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Your stronger leg. Just like handedness. Your right or left is your power arm or stronger arm
Indeed. Being Left Handed or Right Handed, the legs usually in syncopation. A good analogy is Slalom Waterskiing. If your Left Handed generally you'll put your Left Foot behind the Right as thats where your more comfortable, balanced & stronger, required as thats where you need the extra torque when cutting & balancing, often at a 45 degree angle when rounding a buoy. Your front leg more a "floater". Its weight, proportions used for balance much like a WireWalker uses a balance beam or pole, a skater uses his hockey stick in compensation. In Alpine or Downhill Skiing like skating, the ability to arc & carve left or right on ones weaker side compensated by subtle movements of the skiers poles, planting & telegraphing. With Snowboarding, again, strong leg back of front in the bindings like in Waterskiing or Wakeboarding. Practice & free-skating clockwise & counterclockwise around the rink, then in ever decreasing circles down to end zone face-off circles until your into about the square footage of a phone booths floor, complete foot cross-overs going forwards, ambidexterity. Skating backwards also critical, quickly transitioning on your your strong leg...

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10-09-2013, 11:46 PM
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I'm a beginner myself, but yeah, it has to do with one foot being dominant. I asked the same question about stopping in the beginner's thread, and really it's just practice. First I worked on getting really solid with my right-foot stops, but ignored my left foot because I didn't feel like I was going anywhere, but then I reached a point that I had to be able to stop on my left too in order to do other things. I started out just making really tiny stops, just to get the feel of it. I can't say there is really any trick to it other than practice. I spent almost an hour doing nothing but stopping using my left foot, and then it finally "clicked". Same goes for things like crossovers, though those weren't as hard for me to do using my non-dominant foot. Things that come naturally on your dominant side can require lots more practice on your non-dominant side.

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10-10-2013, 11:18 AM
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I've been skating a year, but recently started to spend a bit of time on real basics, namely:

1. Forward skating C cut turns. A really good warm up that feels nice and safe so you can bend the knee progressively more and get the ice crunching. A real good leg strengthener.
2. One foot glides. A real basic, this one. I get some speed up then go straight on my flats, or get onto the outside edge or if possible move between edges and flats. Again, I bend the knee a lot in this to build strength and balance.

10 mins of this at public skate is paying off for me.

Next for me is to conquer backward skating. I reckon the balance and control involved in doing that will improve my skating all round.

Just ordered the Laura Stamm book and really looking forward to getting it.

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10-10-2013, 12:58 PM
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ggro
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Thanks for all the great advice!

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