Sunday week 2

Warm ups tonight included partner-pushes which are exhausting but so satisfying. You and your partner face each other with locked arms on the other’s shoulders and take turns to push your partner. The idea is for one to brace and resist while the other tries to force them to slide/ retreat from one side of the gym to the other. I partnered with Fiend since we’re about the same size, but with an extra 3 months of training she totally creamed me in both directions.

We did some more practicing for crossovers, still having so much trouble. I had to sit down and sulk to myself at one point because I was just getting so frustrated. I remember skating as a kid and doing crossovers without even thinking about it, I didn’t even know what they were but it was just so natural. Now… my movement feels forced, crossing my feet feels unnatural and half the time my foot stomps down awkwardly halfway through the maneuver. The idea behind a crossover is that you keep propelling with both feet as you corner; outside foot pushes, crosses to the inside, inside foot pushes out then steps forward as you push from the outside again. But instead I’m not able to transfer any power through my inside foot, and my outside foot crashes down before I’ve fully crossed over. No doubt a lot of it is to do with my balance, as I work on that I’m hoping things will start to click more.

Next we did the 25-in-1 again. We’re intending to do it every week so we can use it as a sign of progress through bootcamp. While I did improve this week I still didn’t quite make the 5 laps in 1 minute. Last week I managed 4 2/3, this week I was just 3m short on making the 5.

We also practiced forming walls, this time with fast feet rather than sticky-skating. There was still some wheel-slipping and we’re not very good at maintaining pace with each other (partly the diversity of skill/comfort on skates, but mostly just not enough practice), but it was interesting. When we’re a wall of 2 it makes sense as you press your shoulders together and lean on each other which clears some of the room around your feet, but when it’s 3 or 4, the people in the middle are ‘trapped’. When it was groups of three I found the two outside people could propel the middle person along easily enough (although it wouldn’t be particularly effective in an actual bout of it you needed speed), but when the group got bigger it was harder to maintain tension and ‘lock’ the skaters all together.

Tonight we tried toestop drills. I fell on my butt while they were still giving us the instructions! But my balance adjusted soon enough and I got the hang of it. The trick is to balance on both the toestop and the front wheels, but ensure the toestop touches the ground first. We went side to side, but no doubt forwards and backwards will be on the agenda soon enough. While it’s important to be able to skate, brake, manouver and stop without relying on toestops, they are a useful addition to the skate. Skaters drop a toestop when they stand for added stability, use them for running starts from the jam line, to push through a pack wall, and of course the tomahawk stop. While it’s unlikely that you will spend extended amounts of time balanced on your toestops, it’s important to be able to balance on them and to build up endurance in your feet because it is an unnatural position. We hopped around for a couple of minutes in each direction and by the end of it my feet were in agony. Most people apparently feel it in their toes or calves, but the arches of my feet were screaming too loudly for me to notice anything else (note: my calves did ache for the following 2 days, I blame this drill).

We split up for truck and trailer, this time in groups of 5 and pushing. Once again I was overtaking other groups (including some White Stars), some of them were actually cheering “Go Freshie go!” which totally made me blush (not that you could tell from how hot and sweaty I was already).

Somehow the session was at an end. With only 3 minutes left, we voted for a game of Hot Dog Tag instead of the Circle of Lurby. It was fun, although without the ‘closure’ of the Circle I felt oddly bereft afterwards.

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