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…which are my two weaknesses at the moment. Not that I don’t have others. Those are just the two big ones.

Skating is continuing at a nice pace. I feel like I’m making progress and learning at a good rate, but not so fast that I’m hurrying past elements. I’m four and a half months into skating and already much further along than I’d hoped at the outset, though I obviously have tons more to learn.

I’ve been able to land waltz jumps, salchows, and toe loops to some degree, so this week Coach A moved me on to loop. It seemed terribly tricky and impossible when she walked me through the steps, but after trying a few on the wall I started to see the way they work. I’ll need to build up strength in my landing leg, for sure, but at least I understand the mechanism. Compared to the salchow, for instance, where I couldn’t wrap my head around how to hit the right movements for weeks.

The trickiest part about the loop is getting onto the back outside edge after the initial RI3, but thanks to the toe loop, the standalone RI3 is worlds better than it was before I started jumping. On one hand, 3-turns have to be solid enough on a basic level to start jumping, but I find that practicing the jump is fantastic motivation for getting the 3-turns just right. Done on their own, I sometimes feel like I can get away with a scratchy turn or a slightly bobbly exit, but in conjunction with a jump I’m determined to get them just perfect. Because until they’re rock-solid, ain’t no jump happening.

Toe loop is surprisingly easy for me (though still a toe waltz, really), especially compared to the salchow which I learned first, which trips me up half the time. I’ve been able to land some salchows so I know I can do it, but the timing has to be just so, otherwise the jump doesn’t even begin. I just skid to a stop after the 3-turn and can’t get the momentum to jump. Whereas, the toe loop always makes sense. I don’t always land them right, but at least I can always get myself into the air and around for the landing.

But more than jumps, spins are my big gaping black hole. I know what I’m supposed to do and what I’m doing wrong — it’s just so hard to get the body to do what I tell it to. I’ve learned how to enter the spin from back crossovers, but it’s so hard to find the sweet spot and stay spinning, rather than skidding or accidentally turning. Arg arg arg.

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