Because we hate our quads and sleeping schedules, Peter and I are taking the Robby Glantz 3-Session Power Skating clinic this week.
Last night was the first night, focusing primarily on forward skating. It was an adults-only class (hence the 9:15pm-10:45pm class times) and I'd guess there were 30-35 skaters there. It was pretty mixed-level and close to 50/50 men and women. I knew (or recognized) most of the women from NCWHL; there were a couple of Green skaters, a bunch of fellow Red skaters, and very few Maroon or Blue (Viv being the notable exception). Interesting!
We started out skating in the ubiquitous counterclockwise circles around the rink, just warming up. Robby would stop us periodically to introduce his instructors and let us stretch before starting the warm-up skating again. After a few laps of counterclockwise and a few of clockwise, the class really started.
The first drill of the night was to line up along the goal line and skate balls-out to the far goal line. We'd already been given some instruction during the warm up, so this was our first chance to practice it.
1) Push out to the side, not straight back
2) Get way lower than you think you need to be
3) Swing your arms forward and back, not across your body
4) Keep your head stable and your chin and eyes up (just like motorcycling!)
Next we did the same goal line-to-goal line drill, but with dragging the rear toe, as illustrated here from the Laura Stamm website:
Obviously, we all looked just like that.
I actually did OK at the toe-drag drill. I definitely wasn't low enough (story of my life) but I wasn't slipping around or veering off into the boards like I did the last time I did the drill.
Let's see, what came next? Dang old person memory.
I think next came the vaguely kinky belt and leash drill. I was partnered up with Wendy as we're about the same size. Everyone had belts with D-rings on over their gear; for the drill, we attached little leashes to the D-ring in the back. I went first, so Wendy got down on a knee behind me, holding the leash down and taut. My job was to get as low as possible, sticking my ass right into Wendy's face, and then putting a leg out to the side as low and far as I possibly could. On Robby's call, we'd return to center then stick out the other leg. Wendy, holding onto the leash, let me lean forward as though I were "really" skating, without falling onto my face. This drill was really awesome and a bit of a quads-burner!
This drill reminded me a lot of a motocross drill I did at that clinic, where the bike was tied at an angle against a fence so that you could practice shifting your weight around without fear of the bike falling over.
After the leash drill, we split up into two main groups. My group went to work with Robby on puck protection. This was the drill we do at NCWHL, too, where the person with the puck tries to keep her ass in between the puck and her partner, who's trying to poke away the puck. I got the good tip here to keep the puck on the heel of the blade, which did help my puck control some, but I still royally suck at this drill. Must practice more.
Then my group went over to be videotaped. One of the instructors taped us, in pairs, skating hard down the ice, stopping, then skating back.
After we'd been taped, we went over to the backwards skating drill. I did OK at this one too — for some reason, I've always been able to skate backwards decently — and I picked up some new tips to improve. I tend to keep my feet too far apart when skating backwards (likely because I'm used to doing it as a D where I want to look big and scary and rarrrrr) but, for speed, I should shrink that up just a little and make sure to fully return to the V position just like I would when forward skating. I think my arms also go all nutso and spazzy when I'm skating backwards fast, so I need to keep that in mind, too (again, same as skating forward).
We had a quick break where one of the instructors talked to us about shooting. He made us all very jealous by showing off a kickass slapshot. During the subsequent "give that a try" session, I spoke to him briefly about my wrist shot. He agreed that it was almost there (yay!) but that it pretty much sucked now (boo!). That was actually really good to hear; much better than, say, "oh girlfriend, you're doing that ALL wrong."
His tips for my wrist shot:
1) Stay low through the whole shot, even the follow through. No scooping up with my body at the end!
2) Keep my bottom hand farther down the stick
3) Keep the blade more closed throughout the entire shot, start to finish
After the clinic, we stood in line to hear the instructors' critiques of our video clips. Mine was actually much better than I thought it would be — I still look woefully slow, but I seem to already be picking up on the instruction.
Tips for my video clip:
1) Stay low!! I can push my leg out more to the side if I get lower. Low low low!
2) During the arm swing, keep my gloves/shoulders down. Don't bend my elbows so much. More of a scooping motion down near my knees.
3) My returns are good! Yay!
4) My quick starts are good — I've got good angles and I'm appropriately on the inside balls of my feet to start out. Now they just need to be quicker/more explosive. Pop pop pop!
So that was all Day 1.