Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Can't Turn

This statement is not entirely true. I can do a two foot turn from forward to backwards with some fair degree of skill. As I like to say at home, "I can do a 33 Turn!"

But of course, there are no 33 Turns in Real Skating. They are yet another figment of my imagination. I knew I had turns coming, but I was content to go Forwards and Backwards like I was on a perpetual Lazy River. "Turns can come later," I thought. "When I'm ready. My coaches will know."

Well, apparently either my Coaches are slacking off or I am, because I had Three Turns and Mohawks thrown at me in quick succession, and both of which were disastrous.

Why is this such a hard concept for me? Well, think of your skate blade. It's long and thin, and it likes to go forward and back. He simply doesn't support side to side motion. It's like your car. The tires are aligned in such a way that he can go forward and backward, with gentle turns.

Turn too fast, and you get this kind of disaster:

And it didn't help that Coach Snape was saying, "You'd be surprised at how easy this is. It can't help but happen."

Yeah, well, once again my Brain Stem started freaking out. I'd line up a turn, get on that FO edge, get my arms ready, and I'd try to swing around, and I'd think, "YOU'RE GONNA DIE!" And I'd just stay there, paralyzed.

I ended that class in severe frustration.

Okay, semi-privates are next. "Master Shifu will surely not do this to me yet," I think.  So we warm up, head on the ice, start normally with stroking and crossovers and life is good.

Then Master Shifu busts out a Mohawk. "We'll do this on the wall," he says.

Oh good, I think. I like the wall.

So we do this on the wall, and I'm wrapping my head around the mechanics of the thing, when he skates away from the wall.

Please don't ask me to do that out there, I'm begging inwardly.

But he does, and it's disaster. And once again I get that paralysis.

Now, bear in mind the lovely lady I'm working with grasped this right off the bat. She's doing mohawks and three turns, and I've been put back on the wall where I'm grabbing the rails for dear life. Every time I try to step away from the wall, I get paralyzed and think "Why can't I do this?"

Eventually I get so frustrated I start to shake, and it's over. Call the lesson done, I have forks sticking all out of me. Master Shifu insists that I'll get it eventually, but with Snape saying, "Oh, it's so easy," and Lady getting it so handily, I feel awful.

I come back later on, where I try again at Public Skate. I get a 2.1 turn on my good side, a 1.5 turn on my bad side, and that Mohawk is nowhere. I try it on the boards, and once again I'm clinging for purchase as my skate slides out from under me, or I land the T wrong and trip myself.

I've taken a few bad falls and come away with some pretty nice bruises. As it turns out, I can take the black and blue kind. What I can't take is a bruise to my ego, and I think that stings more than anything.


  1. Aaah..3-turns...it took me more than a year to learn 3-turns and now that I'm back from injury, I'm going to have to relearn them all over again. Grrrr... Based on what you've been writing, it sounds like you're progressing very quickly. I'll bet you pick them up in no time. Good luck!! I'll be sending positive-virtual-skating vibes your way.

  2. Turning is hard. I have passed, and competed ISI FS3, and have my adult bronze freeskate in USFSA, and I still struggle with my bad side three turns, honestly it is embarassing for my level. Of the adult start skaters on my synchro team, I was without a doubt the best one- but I had to do all the turns counter rotational, because I couldn't do them that fast. It made me so mad. (Of course, anytime we had a turn in the other direction, it would get changed by the middle of the season because none of the other ladies could turn that way so fast either. We all have our better side...

    My back inside threes are what I call "three stops", rather than three turns- I rarely move on the exit edge.

    I also am very sided in my mohawks. One side works, the other doesn't- but when I am going very fast, I almost always two foot rather than doing a mohawk.

    You'll get it eventually (and then- do it backwards! The good news is a backwards mohawk is just a step forward.)

  3. Turning is DEFINITELY hard. The FS4 dance step (all the 3 turns forward and backward, with a couple mohowks thrown in for SOMEONE's sadistic pleasure, thank you ISI) actually brought me to tears on more than one occasion.

    But I promise you will get the hang of it! SEnding good thoughts your way!

  4. Ouch on the falls... Your ego will be fine, and the turns too.

    Just don't mix up the outside and inside three turns and blame the mohawks for "losing the outside threes". Which I conveniently did in gamma, lol :)

    Gosh you jumped from pre-alpha to gamma in how many months and you are complaining? ;)