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Yesterday was lesson day, and it went better than the practice the day before. I’m just going to have to accept that I’ll be getting stuck on new skills for a while as the moves get more complicated. Obviously it takes more work to get edge patterns and crossovers mastered than a swizzle.

On Monday I’d felt like I wasn’t getting my edges well at all, still mucking up the timing — there’s just so much to think about for my overloaded brain: Knees bent. Arms out. Skate on outside edge. Free leg back. Turn into curve. Free leg front. Change arm position. Now repeat on other foot. It looks so smooth in motion when you do it right, but there’s so much going on at once.

I got to the rink early to work on them some more, until I could at least complete one full arc (curve? pattern? whatchoocallit) on each foot without stepping out. I felt like I was barely improving, but Coach A was happy with the improvement, saying I must’ve practiced for hours. I still have a lot of work to do on them but it’s a relief that she could see the progress.

Is it weird that the side I consider the “stronger” skating leg” is better at some things but not others? Right from the start I could feel my left leg was stronger, holding glides longer and feeling more comfortable on the ice. So I had to consciously work at the right leg, to even them out. It feels more natural to start 2-foot turns and 3-turns on the left side, and do spirals on that foot (right leg in the air).

But then with edges all of a sudden my right foot is doing much better. It cooperates smoothly, turning more or less as I want to, while my left leg refuses to listen. It’s strange.

Coach A showed me the pattern for the backward edges, and EEK are they confusing. She says those are a lot more advanced, to be worked on later, but she wants me to get used to the idea. I’ll say – it’ll take me ages to figure those out.

3-turns are coming slowly. I started them in LTS class, where the instructor gave a pretty good explanation, I thought. But again I’m seeing the difference that a private coach makes, because Coach A really broke the 3-turn down into comprehensive parts, explaining each step separately and how they all work together. Or maybe that’s the difference between an instructor who’s good with kids and one who’s better for adults? (I find I really need to analyze a move to understand the physics of it, for my brain to process what I’m trying to do.)

For instance, the LTS coach did a slow-motion walkthrough and indicated where you want to turn. It seemed to make sense; I just had to practice until I could copy that movement. But with Coach A explaining things, I saw how the weight shift begins in the upper body, with the arms leading the turn and the legs naturally following, rather than me trying to force the turn with my feet. There’s a more natural rhythm to the 3-turn than I’d supposed.

I don’t actually think one way is superior to the other. There’s something to be said for just trying something, without overthinking it. Sometimes you just have to feel it out for yourself, and you’ll end up doing things unconsciously — just because you don’t know why your weight shifts doesn’t mean it doesn’t, for instance. I do like having both options, though; I think it pushes along the learning process.