Monday, 1 April 2013

Mental Blocks and Rink Karma

So, after a break of one week due to the wedding of two very good friends (which was an amazing day, by the way) I was back on the ice this week.

You know you've been skating too long when your first thought upon realising you have a Friday off is, "I can skate on quiet ice!" OK, it wasn't totally quiet with it being Good Friday, and the schools being closed, but it was better than it has been on Saturdays when I've had my lesson. With it being so busy, and not having my coach to spot for me, I just stuck to doing all forward facing moves, so lots of edge work, a few crossovers and gliding on a curve. It was just nice to be able to skate on a weekday again, I'll be honest. 

Saturday was my lesson and although progress is being made each week, it's painfully slow at the moment. It's all because a lot of the moves on Level 5 involve going backwards, and for some reason, I have issues with that. I'm sorry, humans were not meant to go backwards, it's scary and I'm not overly fond of it. But, as with everything else so far, I'll keep practicing and eventually it'll all fall into place. 

One thing we did work on, was getting my forward crossovers up to scratch. They're almost at Level 5 standard, so my coach began teaching me the figure 8 pattern I'd need to do them in at Level 10, in the hope we can sign that off nice and early. It's actually really fun, and she taught me how to push the free leg to the side so that there was less distance to cover when crossing over. You get up a serious amount of speed during this pattern, so I'll have to choose my practice times carefully for that! We did some work on my 2 foot spin too, again it's nearly there, just needs a little more work to consistently get the 1 revolution I need to pass.

We also had a go at improving my backwards skating, and backwards one foot glides. Coach pushed me backwards and got me to lift one foot, but I think I need to do this at my own speed, because the speed she had me going, just scared me, haha! This was when she discovered I make a high pitched "eeeee" sound when I'm scared. Apparently everyone makes different noises when the fear factor creeps in, so it's nothing to be ashamed of, good thing I don't really care what the public at the rink think of me!

What was weird, was at one point skating to an audience. Because I'm in a lesson, I'm allowed on the ice as soon as resurfacing is done, which is 15 minutes before the public. So as I'm in my lesson, working away, I spot lots of people who are getting their rental skates, or food from the concession stand watching me. It was actually kind of cool, and really didn't bother me. 

So, after my lesson I decided to practice on the public session for a bit. It was a pretty quiet session, for a Saturday, but there were still lots of people. We have rink guards, but they only have one even on a busy session, so they can't be everywhere. I was skating along and saw this little girl fall, she was only about 5 and was with another girl, either an older friend or big sister. She was on the ice crying, so I went over to try and help her up, I tried teaching her how to get up but I think she was too little to "get" it, but I was saved by the rink guard who was bigger and stronger than me, who pulled her onto her skates again. 

She was clinging to the boards, and was still upset, so I thought I'd try and cheer her up. "Wanna know a secret?" I said, which got me a nod. "Did you see the lady who was teaching me earlier? Well, even she falls sometimes. And you know what? Falling over just means you're trying really hard, so keep going." It got a smile out of her, she went off happier than when she fell. Made me feel really good too, I have to admit. Then I helped another lady and her daughter who had fallen.

Why do I do it? Well, I think those of us who can skate should look out for the beginners. We were all there once, and it leaves a lasting impression, that your rink is a really friendly place.  Another reason is I'm a believer in karma, you know, what goes around, comes around? So hopefully if I fall, which obviously, I will from time to time, someone will be kind and offer me a hand up, instead of skating by. 

So I'll leave you with that thought, until my next lesson, which will be 2 weeks from now, after the ice hockey Play Off weekend.


  1. Think you did a lovely thing with that little girl, learning how to fall is an essential part of figure skating and if it's not handled correctly, beginners can quickly lose confidence. and you're right, acts of kindness do wonders to improve the mood of a place don't they?

    1. Lori, I remember my first ever skating lesson, age 6 or 7 (I'm 23 now) and the first thing we learnt was how to fall. I fell a lot as a kid, had a squint that threw my balance off, and you're so right, it took a long time for me to gain my confidence on the ice.

      Our rink is a lovely place to be, everyone's so friendly, and random acts of kindness will only help to keep it a nice place to skate.