Well, the clinic is over now and I can honestly say: OW. It was totally worth it, though, even accounting for the extra cost of scheduling a deep tissue massage for this afternoon. 😉
We started out again with some warm-up laps to keep drilling in the forward powerskating concepts we've been working on. I'm getting that pretty well now.
We did a couple of laps up and down the ice, once without sticks to focus on keeping the upper body loose. Not terribly surprisingly, I skated a lot better with no stick. Apparently, for me, stick = instant shoulder tension. Nice!
The rest of the class focused on turning and crossovers.
We split up into small groups of four — I was with Wendy, April, and Helen, which was totally awesome.
Wendy and I started out skating around a cone circle while April and Helen heckled — I mean, advised — from within the circle. We switched directions, then Wendy and I became hecklers while April and Helen skated.
After a few relatively useless attempts at this, Robby brought us in and tweaked the drill slightly to be the "airplane" version. Suddenly everything made sense!!
The gist of the airplane drill is:
1) One person, say me, is practicing crossovers around the circle with no stick. Another person, say Wendy, is inside the circle helping out.
2) While I skate around the circle, I keep my inside arm held up. Wendy watches my arm and bops it up with her glove or stick if it starts to fall down.
3) I also keep my head tilted towards the outside. If my head tilts towards my upraised arm, Wendy can bop that, too.
So, aside from all the bopping violence, this keeps your shoulders level and your head up:
Both my clockwise and counterclockwise crossovers improved pretty dramatically after the airplane drill. I'll have to keep practicing the doofy-looking arm raise during stick and shoot in the hopes that it translates to a decent crossover in a game situation.
Tips for my crossovers:
1) Keep my shoulders and head level, eyes up
2) Keep a much wider stance
3) Roll the ankles under more to get more edge
4) Stay on the gliding foot a little bit longe
Next, we went to backwards crossovers.
We split up into two groups: those that can do backwards crossovers to both sides and those that can't. I could do them to one side but not really the other, so I went into the latter group.
We started out lining up against the boards and skating straight backwards, inserting just one crossover as we moved back (the same thing we did Tuesday night while skating forwards). After a couple of goes at this, I could do both sides pretty well, so I was "graduated" up into the other group. Yay!
On the other side of the ice, Brad was running the group through backward crossover circles. Two people at a time would go per circle and get some tips.
My tips were, not terribly surprisingly, pretty much exactly what they were for forwards crossovers:
1) Keep a wider stance!
2) Stay on the gliding foot a little bit longer
I just need more ice time with the backwards crossovers; my toe slips a lot because I'm not quite pushing at the right angle yet. Another stick and shoot thing to practice!
We did the bungees again after crossovers, which was fun. Wheee!
Finally, Robby showed a little bit of tight turning. This was neat for me since I'd been practicing it on my own though, clearly, all sorts of wrong.
The posture for a tight turn is exactly like that for a quick stop — wide stance, legs uneven. I'd been trying to do them with one skate right in front of the other, which was why I wasn't having any luck. I do want one skate ahead of the other (that's the whole "legs uneven" thing), but my feet should still be ~shoulder width apart.
All in all, the class was awesome; I really hope I retain at least a little bit by Saturday. 😉
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