Sunflower Thoughts

Kind, supportive and forward-thinking

Sunflower Skates: Month Four

In May I struggled with Level 5, had a crisis of confidence, and attended my second Skate UK Intensive day

Wednesday 1st May
Private Lesson
Tonight has been a definite learning-curve of a lesson. We worked on ironing out a lot of bad habits that I've picked up from group lessons (weight in front, instead of heal) and a lot of focus was on my arm positions, which are currently hindering me instead of helping. I did lots of practice on 3 turns, and did manage to end up doing some on my left foot too, which I didn't think was even possible. It turns out that I'm not as competent as I thought on using my edges, I'm really struggling with holding them whilst going backwards, but I did begin to get there towards the end of the lesson. It's harder to practice circling as The Dome doesn't have any floor markers. I posted some videos of my 3 turn attempts on Instagram and Reddit, and ended up with a lot of good feedback and tips, so I'm looking forward to trying those out when I practice with Ami-Lee on Saturday. I have also bought some super-thin socks from Primark as my current ones were crushing my right foot too much,

Saturday 4th May
Public Skate
Had an absolutely fantastic practice session with Ami-Lee. I made a huge amount of progress on 3 Turns, up until the point where they look effortless. I'm really proud of myself! I also put a new video up on my Instagram to compare to one from Monday, so I'm really pleased with how I'm progressing. I also spent a little bit of time just circling on my right inside edge, seeing how far I could lean to build up a little more confidence. I still need to really work on my left foot, but keep putting it off. I must break out of that mindset and really push myself to try harder. I had a really nice time with Ami-Lee, she's a great practice partner as we're at the same skill level, and she's just really fun to be with. We are planning to go every Thursday night to The Dome and make it a regular thing.

Monday 6th May
Skate UK - Level 5
Bad lesson. Bad, bad, bad lesson. I completely lost my nerve and couldn't do anything. Even the beautiful 3 Turns I practiced on Saturday. Don't want to talk about it. Write off.

Wednesday 8th May
Private Lesson
I had an incredible lesson that more than made up for Monday! I really am so grateful for Anthony, he really is an amazing teacher. I made a LOT of progress on my (right) backwards outside edge, going from being terrified to even try, to holding it comfortably on my own for 3 seconds within the space of a half an hour lesson. I am feeling incredibly proud of myself! Especially when I learned to trust my thighs and bum to hold me during my lean, and that I could bend my knee and 'sit' into the circle using the weight of my bum. My only problem is that I really need to practice it, but there just isn't room at The Dome for such things (and no floor markings either.) I may have to start making the trip to the Lammas rink, or try and figure out a way to get to more sessions at iceSheffield. I am incredibly determined, and it seems like Level 6 is starting to creep closer! Anthony said that some people can get stuck on Level 5 for 6+ month - I am determined to NOT be one of those people.

Thursday 9th May
Public Skate
Not a great practice session today. I tried to work on what I had learned yesterday, but The Dome is just too busy and unsafe to practice anything backwards whilst I'm still not at the level where I'm aware of my surroundings. I did a little more work on 3 Turns, I'm pretty much there now with it on my right foot. The left is still troubling, so I took some time to just focus on holding the outside edge on my left foot to build up some strength. I still have a long way to go before I'll be able to pass Level 5, thanks to the weakness of my left foot. I ended up feeling a little defeated, as there was a very high level skater practicing her spins and taking up the whole of the middle. I sat on the side for a while, until I realised she only got to that level by practicing, which is what I currently WASN'T doing on the side. I moved away from her, and did a little more work on my 3 Turns until a group of chavvy teenagers took over the ice, kicking snow up at each other and racing around, and I gave up and left.

Sunday 12th May
Public Skate
Another sub-par practice session, although I did make the tiniest bit of progress on my left outside 3's whilst holding onto Adi's hand (over the barrier.) I tried to practice my Forwards Crossovers, however there just wasn't room, and kids kept cutting me up and getting in the way. I was able to record a short video though, which I have put up on my Instagram account and had some excellent advice in the comments. I have decided that I do not like wearing a skirt to practice in, and have ordered another pair of leggings as they help me feel more confident and comfortable. I'm looking forward to my lesson tomorrow, and I'm really hoping that it goes much better than last week. It's annoying that I'm almost halfway through the month and feel like I haven't really achieved anything at all.

Monday 13th May
Skate UK - Level 5
In today's lesson we worked on backwards chasses, inside and outside edges. I am still very much struggling with my edges, and it's starting to hold me back. People I passed two groups ago have now caught up with me, which has annoyed me! I really do not want to get stuck on level 5, but there is currently two things holding me back. The first is being completely unable to do anything on my left foot. I don't know if this is due to weakness in that foot, or simply not having the confidence to try. The second is that I am too afraid to push myself. I read the other day that "if you're not falling, you're not trying" and it's true, I'm not pushing myself. I skate much faster than most people in level 5, but I just can't nail the technique. Interestingly, I notices I can hold a backwards inside edge quite nicely on my right foot after completing a 3 turn, but I can't just 'do' it any other time. I am not looking forward to my lesson with Anthony on Wednesday, as I quit a lot of times tonight and I am embarrassed to see him again after such a poor effort. I need to get out of my own head, go back to enjoying it, and just try without being afraid.

Wednesday 15th May
Private Lesson
Had a fantastic lesson with Anthony, with a real breakthrough regarding 3 Turns on my left foot. He just kept pushing me to try them over and over, then finally it just clicked and everything slotted into place. I think they can be firmly ticked off the Level 5 list now, so I'm very pleased. I also did a couple of 2 Foot Spins in anticipation for the next level, which I really enjoyed the feeling of (even if I did get a little dizzy - I must remember travel sickness tablets when I start properly.) My Chasses are getting there too, it's really just holding the Outside Edges that I really need to focus on more as I still get quite frightened leaning into the circle. My blades felt super weird yesterday; I kept sliding sideways when trying to get an outside edge, so I may take them back to the shop to double check them, I only had them sharpened last week! I got exhausted and a bit whiny towards the end of the lesson, but Anthony didn't let me make excuses and kept pushing me to try harder. He's just what I need in a coach - I adore him.

Monday 20th May
Skate UK - Level 5
Another group lesson where I was basically just coasting through. I'm starting to get a bit fed up of them now - the group size is ridiculously too big, we're all falling over each other, and there isn't enough coaches to get round to assess us all on each element in only 45 minutes. I noticed, strangely, that I'm finding it much easier to hold the outside edge on my left foot, rather than my right, dominant foot. It's an odd one. I never managed to get my blades checked, so they still felt weird today, but I think it's more a problem with me rather than the skates to be honest. Ami-Lee has moved up to Level 6. I wasn't allowed to. I don't feel great about that. I'm very pleased for her, but I thought that we were roughly at the same ability. It just makes me feel bad about myself, that's all.

Wednesday 22nd May
Private Lesson
I was going to cancel my private lesson for today as it is my fiance's birthday, but he absolutely insisted that I went. I wish I hadn't. I could barely stand on my left foot due to the pain in my big toe, and came crashing down on several occasions. It's almost unbearable now, I'm starting to look forward to the surgery even if I can't skate for a while after. Anything to take this pain away.
Messed up badly on all elements this lesson. Had some light relief with spins and backwards crossover attempts which cheered me up. I still cried after the lesson, and all the way home. C'est la vie.

Monday 27th May
Skate UK - Level 5
An absolutely FANTASTIC lesson. Pretty much everyone in the group skived off due to it being a bank holiday, so there was only 15 of us instead of 40! Very very pleased. Somehow I managed to crack the right outside edge! I have no idea how, but I was suddenly just able to do it, and had it signed off once and for all. Apparently now all I have left of level 5 to be signed off is 3 Turns (should have been signed already, will tell Anthony on Wednesday), Inside Edges (not actually attempted them yet) and Chasses. I'm so glad to finally be making proper progress again after a dodgy few weeks. I'm aiming to pass the entire level this Friday in the intensive day course, so I can start in Level 6 for June - how exciting!

Wednesday 29th May
Private Lesson
Another very good lesson! I have definitely nailed the backwards outside edges now on my right foot, and I'm also getting there on my left too! Left is definitely more of a struggle, but it always is, due to foot dominance and general strength on that leg. I'm going to properly start looking into ways to build my left ankle up, as I think that will help a lot. Did some fantastic crossovers this lesson too, going very fast and leaning far into the circle to get them as crossed as possible. I am very pleased and proud of myself - all the way home I felt so energised and like I was glowing. I'm really looking forward to the intensive day on Friday now!

Friday 31st May
Skate UK Intensive Day
I PASSED LEVEL 5!!! That's all that is important. Thank you and goodnight.