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Thread: Beginner: Question on finding balance and toe pick hitting ice

  1. #1
    Rinkside
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    May 2013
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    Question Beginner: Question on finding balance and toe pick hitting ice

    Hi everyone. I hope I'm posting this in the right forum. I just started skating a couple weeks ago and I have a question. With the rental skates I used during my first couple of weeks skating, I guess I learned to tip forward too much to keep my balance. Now I have a pair of Jackson skates which I love, but I tip forward so much on the blade that the toe pick is hitting the ice. This messed with my head a little, so one day I put my skates on the counter and examined the blade and there was a good 10 mm of clearance there from the toe pick to the counter. The description of the blade says there is a 8 ft radius, which I guess isn't technically for beginners but I'd still like to learn on this blade. For additional info, I weigh 150 lbs (maybe that's part of the problem?)

    I am taking learn to skate lessons, but we don't get a lot of personal attention. Some books and websites I am reading say that you should center your weight over the ball of your foot. when I do that, I tip forward too much. During our first lesson I was told "bend your knees and lean forward, that'll help you keep your balance" but I'm thinking I might be leaning too far forward if this toe pick situation is happening. So this issue got me thinking too, maybe my posture is to blame. I don't have perfect posture either and never had to concentrate on correcting my posture, but I'm working on it. I also am still unable to even do a one foot glide, and I don't think I will be able to until I find the correct part of the blade to skate on for my personal balance. I'd like to practice on my own to see if it's something I'm doing wrong first before I get the blade altered. I guess I would just like to correct any bad habits I have now before I skate too long. I really enjoy skating and might eventually compete (although that is years from now - lol!)

    If anyone has any tips for what I should focus on when practicing, that would be great!

  2. #2
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    shelby, welcome to Golden Skate! I hope someone has some helpful advice for you!

  3. #3
    Rinkside
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    Thanks Doris! Is there a way to delete this thread? maybe this isn't a good place for beginner questions.

  4. #4
    Moving up the testing structure Kypma's Avatar
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    Hi shelby,

    From the information you gave, I can't quite give you concrete tips but I can say that I learned to skate on 8ft radius/rocker blades, and I only learned much later that, apparently, 7ft rocker blades are easier to skate on. It didn't affect me much, and I do think that each rocker has its own advantages, so you're not on blades unfit for a beginner.

    If you're hitting your toe picks skating forward, I'd suggest you try bending your ankles, not just your knees. You'll feel more like you're sitting down, but not leaning backwards. It all comes with practice, so happy skating!

  5. #5
    Rinkside
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    Thank you! I'll try that!

  6. #6
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    You didn't mention the make/model of the blade which is important in this discussion. If you have a blade designed more for a higher level skater, it can impeded ability to learn in the same way being over-booted can impede progress. It is important to make sure to have hips-over knees-over ankles-over feet in any rate which means bending at the ankles AND knees,

  7. #7
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    8' rocker blades are flatter than 7' rocker blades, so I don't think the blades are to blame for the fact that you're pitching forward. As others said, keep the weight on the balls of the feet or just behind the balls of the feet, and focus on bending your *ankles* and not just your knees. You should feel your rear end lower to the ice and you should feel the front of your ankles pressing against the tongues and laces of your boots. Also, you want your chest aligned over your knees and toes, but that is not the same as leaning forward. You should be arching your back and keeping your shoulders back, even though you are pushing your chest forward a little.

  8. #8
    On the Ice
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    I have Jackson skates as well and the boots can be very stiff at the beginning if they are new, so ankle bend does not come easily. The boots have to break in and that takes time...to force ankle bend try skating the element "Shoot the duck" on both feet. as you are a beginner, you can practice falls easily from that position as you are near the ice anyway. I lost my fear of falling at the beginning of my skating a lot after I tried this exercise a few times on ice,-) Try to get a team mate/friend to correct your position on the ice...to practice alone if the body just doesnt know what correct posture is on the ice is frustrating....you self perception and the way it looks from outside are completely off if you are on ice - believe me I always ask club mates: How do I look, is everything correct? LOL Any feedback is good. And do a warmup on the ice too, wiggles, edge exercises etc. with some nice music on - I have been doing that for 3 years straight every winter at the beginning of my lesson before learning elements and it does help!

  9. #9
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    Are you looking down? Lots of beginners have a tendency to keep glancing down at their feet, and this will shift your shoulders and your upper body weight forward and onto those picks quicker than anything. Regardless of blade type or rocker radius. As said already, bend knees and ankles. If you're just practicing stroking and blade work rather than jumps or spins, try keeping those laces at the top a bit loose for now to enable ankle bending. As boots break in and you get the hang of it, you can draw them to normal tightness. Try to consciously keep your spine straight and don't bend forward at the waist--this is easier if you remember to keep your glutes tight, like you're trying to 'suck them in.'

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