19 Aug 2004 13:34:50
Christine Stone
Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

Well, after 27 months of regular skating, I can *finally* perform decent
2-foot spins in both directions (though I prefer CCW). I think the basic one
foot spin in the CCW direction will come fairly easily now, as I feel very
balanced in the 2-foot spin, even with my feet very close together, and I
can pick up my left foot without unbalancing myself. Getting to this point,
however, has been a real bugger! The reason I am posting about it is that I
know there are other spin-challenged adults out there who are probably
getting quite frustrated with learning to spin. Here's a chronology of my
experience:

May 2002--Started skating regularly. At this point can stroke rudimentarily,
glide forward, and perform beginner CCW crossovers. Turning, skating
backwards out of the question at this point.

July 2002--Start group lessons on a weekly basis. Main take-away from 8
weeks of lessons: can now do forward crossovers in both directions.
Beginning to learn to skate backwards.

September 2002-- I purchase a pair of higher quality skates. Start private
lessons. Try to learn basic 2-foot spin but I get dizzy and nauseated and
fall over. Concentrate on learning non-dizziness producing moves like
3-turns and mohawks.

Fall/Winter 2002-I figure out backward crossovers! This makes me very happy
as I never thought I'd be able to do these. Start taking an "ice
conditoning" class at the rink, but expect it will be useless. Am pleasantly
surprised to find an intelligent dancing instructor who wants to apply her
knowledge of body positions to skating. I begin learning some basic Pilates,
ballet, and yoga. Books I'm reading at this time: "Ice Skating Steps to
Success" by Karen Kunzle-Watson, "Figure Skating" by Petkevich' and "Figure
Skating Sharpen Your Skills" by Indiana World Skating Academy.

January 2003--My instructor moves away :( I get a new instructor, an older
one who believes in learning figures as basis of other skating. I explain
about my spin-challengedness. She evaluates me attempting a 2-foot spin and
immediately points out that my eyes are rolling back in my head. She
instructs me to keep my eyes level. I try again--the spin is still
uncoordinated, but much smoother. I don't feel quite so dizzy. Still having
a lot of trouble getting my weight onto my left foot.

Spring 2003--I invest in a skating sweater, proper skating pants, and the
MIF plus the Lussi videos. Develop the bad spinning habit of initiating
momentum with my arms, since my legs just somehow won't coordinate to get
the motion started. My instructor says I look like I'm trying to pitch a
baseball :) I discover I've been doing mohawks incorrectly (doing a 3-turn
on the new foot to get rotated--tracings don't lie!)-- and start
de-programming this bad habit.

Summer 2003--I attend a local figure skating camp. Decide that I look silly
in a skating costume. Former pairs gold medalist who teaches the camp points
out that my right hip is going out *way too laterally* whenever my weight is
on my right foot. I file this info. away but don't know what to do with it.
Am complimented on good positioning of my spine--a first.

Fall/Winter 2003-- I start concentrating on developing power. Read "Power
Skating" by Laura Stamm. After experimenting, I figure out that my skate
blades are not positioned in a way that allows me to generate maximum
stroking power--I fiddle with their positioning until it feels good. I
discover that my low arches are interfering with my ability to stroke
properly and start wearing strap on arch supports at all times. I purchase
the video "Physics On Ice" by Charles Butler.

January 2004--I enroll in yoga and tai chi classes. Become much more aware
of position of and weight transfer through soles of my feet. I create a mini
yoga room in my house with a mirror on the wall.

Spring 2004--During a lesson, trying to spin for the millionth time,
something clicks: I am now able to get my weight fully onto my left leg and
press up slowly! Spin off balance though. I start paying attention to my
pelvis and notice that it does not seem balanced during any kind of turn,
even 2-foot ones.

Summer 2004--I decide to go back to the very beginning: basic skating and
body positions. Start learning FO and FI figure 8s. I read "Dynamic
Alignment Through Imagery" by Eric Franklin, then "The Thinking Body" by
Mabel Elsworth Todd and "Human Movement Potential" by Lulu Sweigard. These
books really *open my eyes*: I discover that not only am I not skating with
proper alignment, I'm not even walking, sitting, or standing with proper
alignment! I start paying a lot more attention to all of these movements.
Everyone notices my improved posture.

THEN: one day while evaluating myself in the mirror, I note that my right
sacral dimple is much lower than my left, indicating an unbalanced pelvis.
After much measuring with plumb line, spirit level, and tape measure, I
discover that my right leg is a good 2 cm shorter than my left! I have this
confirmed independently: I have a true anatomic leg length discrepancy. I
place a heel lift under my right heel--the sacral dimples now line up. I buy
a 12 mm high quality heel lift and place it in my right skate: all manner of
turns are simpler now, since my pelvis isn't chronically listing to the
right side. And, now I CAN SPIN!

For me, learning to spin has been a long (but fulfilling) journey in body
awareness. I needed to learn the coordination, which I did not have; but I
also needed to figure out my own personal bodily alignment issues as well
as those of my skate blades on my skates. I hope this post is helpful to
other adults who have learning-to-spin frustrations. And I highly recommend
all of the books and videos I've mentioned in this post.












19 Aug 2004 14:52:57
Lionello
Re: Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

GOOD ON YA! As the Aussies say.

It sounds like you're enjoying the process.

It's not to skate like Kurt or Michelle, but to enjoy blades on ice and
personal progress.

BTW, I have a right leg that's 14mm shorter than the left. I use a lift
between blade heel and boot, so the boot fits better.
That's the least of my gnarly bod, but somehow I can skate, spin, jump.
I'm 65 now, going into my 7th season on ice.

I'm pretty pleased!

In article <Pw5Vc.9308$Hi.544@bignews1.bellsouth.net >, "Christine Stone"
<hpuffin@bellsouth.net > wrote:

Well, after 27 months of regular skating, I can *finally* perform decent
2-foot spins in both directions (though I prefer CCW). I think the basic one
foot spin in the CCW direction will come fairly easily now, as I feel very

--
Lionel
www.cameraart.ca


19 Aug 2004 20:26:35
The Walsh Family
Re: Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

Congratulations Christine! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your diary and
chuckled at how you were drawn in deeper and deeper, just like the rest of
us. FWIW I'm not a very good spinner, OK scratch that came after 2 years of
working on it after level equivalent to yours (so keep up your persistence!)
and weak backspin. I still find that I get far more dizzy on the darned 2
foot spin than on a much faster scratch. Don't know why. Keep it up
Lyle



"Christine Stone" <hpuffin@bellsouth.net > wrote in message
news:Pw5Vc.9308$Hi.544@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
>





19 Aug 2004 19:45:53
johns
Re: Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

A perfect example of too much emphasis on lessons,
and not enough play. For me, a lesson just shows me
what I need to work on. I learn in a lesson, all I'm going
to learn in the first 20 seconds that I'm shown a move.
After that, it is a waste of time to struggle with the
instructor saying "do this! do that!" Skating skills are
complicated moves. A really good instuctor will show
you a simple move to work on that builds the skill you
need for the real move .. and let you develop that by
yourself by trying things.

johns




20 Aug 2004 12:23:55
Annabel Smyth
Re: Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

Christine Stone wrote to rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational on Thu, 19
Aug 2004:

>
>For me, learning to spin has been a long (but fulfilling) journey in body
>awareness. I needed to learn the coordination, which I did not have; but I
>also needed to figure out my own personal bodily alignment issues as well
>as those of my skate blades on my skates. I hope this post is helpful to
>other adults who have learning-to-spin frustrations. And I highly recommend
>all of the books and videos I've mentioned in this post.
>
Congratulations! For us (husband and self), learning to spin was an
impossibility until we had to learn to do a dance spin, together. This
was easier (once we found a hold that worked for us), and now our
private, individual spins are taking off. Husband swore he'd done one
that rotated "more than ever" yesterday, but when I asked him to show me
the tracing, how convenient, he couldn't find it.....
--
Annabel - "Mrs Redboots"
(trying out a new .sig to reflect the personality I use in online forums)



20 Aug 2004 12:28:01
Annabel Smyth
Re: Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

johns wrote to rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational on Thu, 19 Aug 2004:

>A perfect example of too much emphasis on lessons,
>and not enough play. For me, a lesson just shows me
>what I need to work on. I learn in a lesson, all I'm going
>to learn in the first 20 seconds that I'm shown a move.
>After that, it is a waste of time to struggle with the
>instructor saying "do this! do that!" Skating skills are
>complicated moves. A really good instuctor will show
>you a simple move to work on that builds the skill you
>need for the real move .. and let you develop that by
>yourself by trying things.
>
Yes and no....

I was told, when I first started skating, that one should, in an ideal
world, practice for 2 hours for every 15 minute lesson. I don't think I
quite manage that - I have 60 minutes' of lesson each week, 30 with
Husband and 30 by myself, and practice probably for 5.5-6 hours apart
from that. And practice is the time to work on the skills one has been
shown in a lesson.

BUT "practice makes permanent", and one can train oneself into fearfully
bad habits, which are then difficult to unlearn. So it's a matter of
both, and - working on the skill under supervision AND practising it
alone, I think.
--
Annabel - "Mrs Redboots"
(trying out a new .sig to reflect the personality I use in online forums)



20 Aug 2004 08:55:11
Christine Stone
Re: Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

>A perfect example of too much emphasis on lessons, and not enough play.

You may well be correct here. Still, I experiment plenty on my own--I only
have one lesson a week; the rest of the time I am "arsing about on the ice"
as my husband would say. My instructor expressly advised against me moving
my blades: I did it anyway and it helped. And no one noticed that my shorter
right leg was causing problems--this too was a discovery I made on my own,
using concepts that I learned from yoga and human anatomy. My story's just
a sharing of my experience; certainly ain't intended as a "how-to" guide ;)




20 Aug 2004 12:58:45
W Letendre
Re: Spin breakthrough--finally! (A long AOSS chronology)

Annabel Smyth <Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk > wrote in message > Yes and no....
>
> I was told, when I first started skating, that one should, in an ideal
> world, practice for 2 hours for every 15 minute lesson. I don't think I
> quite manage that - I have 60 minutes' of lesson each week, 30 with
> Husband and 30 by myself, and practice probably for 5.5-6 hours apart
> from that. And practice is the time to work on the skills one has been
> shown in a lesson.
>
> BUT "practice makes permanent", and one can train oneself into fearfully
> bad habits, which are then difficult to unlearn. So it's a matter of
> both, and - working on the skill under supervision AND practising it
> alone, I think.

Aye! Sometimes think most of the work I'm doing now in lessons is to
unlearn many, many years worth of bad habits. Took long enough to
learn them; suppose it will take a while unlearn them!

W Letendre