After 4 sessions in my new skates, I have to say I LOVE THEM!!! The boots are amazingly comfortable, for being brand new! I'm getting used to the new blades even faster than I thought I would! Only two issues I have, so far: 1) On the left boot, something digs into my big toe. Not sure if this is something that can be smoothed out, I'll have to ask Dave...or if it's just a matter of breaking in the boot...but the right one is fine; and 2) The right blade alignment seems to be a little off. I assume that's why Dave wanted me to skate 10 times on them before bringing them back to get the rest of the screws put in, in case there's anything to adjust. The left blade is dead on, gliding on my left foot is effortless. But with the right blade, I feel that it's "turned in", meaning I'm more on the inside edge than flat on the blade, so it makes it difficult to glide on the right foot. I can compensate for it if I make an effort, but I think it needs some adjustment made. But overall, not bad at all. Each time I skate, I build more confidence on the new blades, and find myself forgetting they are new (which is a very good sign!!).
As an update on what I'm working on in lessons, especially with the new skates:
Spins: Instead of having me start from a standstill position like Tabitha was having me do, Dee is having me either "walk" the spin, arms outstretched, and then bring the arms in to start spinning. This keeps my hips aligned, but does not give me any power to the spin whatsoever. The other method is to get some forward movement going, then do 3 half-swizzles in one spot, to get the spinning motion going, then bring the arms in. This at least gets some movement going, so I think I'm going to practice this method more than the "walking" method. I haven't yet found the "sweet spot" on my new blades, so my spins have actually taken a step backwards for now, but that's OK. No rush.
Crossovers: We finally did crossovers today for the first time in my new blades! Dee has me start out doing half-swizzles around the circle with my arms crossed in front of me (not sure why, I keep forgetting to ask her!). Then open the arms up and do 2 or 3 more half-swizzles, then a crossover. I was kind of afraid to do a crossover alone in my new blades because I didn't want to come down on the toe pick! But we did several today and I never had that problem, so I've gained the confidence to practice on my own. Dee noted that I should NOT PUSH OFF during these crossovers (which is opposite of what every other coach has said!). I need to just keep it very gentle, just put my foot down after the crossover, but do not push off....just bring my feet back together again. I have to admit, that made it easier to do the crossover, and I guess this way I can concentrate on form instead of building up speed. The other note Dee had was to concentrate on my arm placement. I evidently have a terrible habit of dropping my arms (especially the forward one) after doing the crossover. I need to make SURE my arms are parallel to the ice at all times.
One-foot forward glides: These are coming along nicely in the new blades...they were a challenge at first. As I said above, the left foot glides are a piece of cake. The right one is challenging, still, so I will let Dave know. The most important thing to keep in mind here is to keep my knee in. I have a habit of turning my knee out, so Dee is making sure I practice these with my knee turned well in, foot and leg tight against the other.
One-foot backward glides: We worked a lot on these today! Dee said for now, not to bring my foot too far up off the ice, as I tend to wobble forward/backward, which could land me flat on my butt, or worse. So for now, I am to do 3 backwards swizzles, keeping my weight 50/50 on both feet. After the 3rd swizzle, glide at 50/50 weight, then slowly shift weight to one leg...when weight is mostly on one leg, briefly lift other foot off the ice. Don't have to hold it long, and don't have to lift very far off the ice. Just enough to feel it. Also, when gliding 50/50, keep my feet some distance apart...not close together. This keeps more stability. I am anxious to work more on this move, since I know it's important for everything else I want to do!
Backwards stops using toe picks: We didn't practice these at all today, and Dee doesn't want me to practice them alone because I could fall on my face. Last lesson, I was doing much better with these due to the bigger toe pick. I'll wait to practice these next month at our next lesson. The balance is very tricky on this move, and the pressure on the toe pick is very important. I do NOT want to fall!!!
Waltz Jump: Yes, Dee is prepping me to do a waltz jump! She doesn't want me to practice the jump by the low wall alone yet. But today we did a slow walk-through of the jump itself, which doesn't feel difficult at all. The hardest part will be landing backwards. For now, I am to continue practicing the toe-pick hops along the low wall. This will help build up the muscles I need to do the jump and will help me learn to balance take-off and landing on the toe picks.
Two things I am going to work on alone for the next two weeks will be: Backwards skating in general...swizzles and half-swizzle around the circle. I haven't yet done much of this in my new blades yet. Also C-cuts, both inside and outside edges. I tried some today for the first time, and they are a challenge in my new blades...but I'm sure its' just a matter of finding the balance again. Oh, and just for the heck of it, I might try PIVOTS again, now that I have the bigger toe pick. I'll have to look back at Tabitha's video on these, I haven't practiced them in a long time.
Dee is on vacation for the next two weeks, so my next lesson is not until June 20. I have a lot to practice! I hope I can surprise Dee next time with some elegant and graceful moves. :))