Left outside edge issue: is it me or there is a blade problem?

aletheia

Spectator
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Hi!

I am new here, I just found this forum while looking for information and clues that help me to find out the origin of my struggling with my left outside edges. But first things first, a little background of myself! (I apologize for the long post and my english in advance, but better to give more information than less! )

I'm an adult skater in my late twenties and I have been skating for roughly 3 years now, but with some gaps in between and a lot of coaches/group lessons/schedules changes due to moving 3 times to different countries (and even continents :rolleye:) during this time. The latest 'official' level reference I have is passing the UK NISA basic skills levels. The current group lessons are more figure skating oriented and working on my single jumps: waltz jump and salchow are kind of fine still with few details to polish, now learning toe and loop. I also started with 1 foot spins, and here is where my nightmare and search began...

I have been crazy for months trying to understand why I keep failing at spins and among other suspects, my left outside edge for the entry is definitely a stopper here. I can't hold it and end up falling into and inside edge and doing a weird kind of rushed 3 turn trying to start the spin (but obviously breaking all kind of momentum) instead of doing a nice deep and smooth 'spiral shape' outside edge till reach the center and then start spinning (does this make any sense?).

I started noticing this problem the last year, when I joined the ice dance club and realized how hard was for me to hold that outside edge, which I was almost slipping of, and the coach suggested sharpenning my blades as a first step. It slightly helped with the slip problem, but that was all. Then we concluded it must be my technique and that it will improve with practice. But it has't and I've started thinking there may be something else, (but I am obviously not sure). I have no issues holding the right outside edges at all, and I don´t remember feeling it harder earlier when I started skating where I was using a different pair of skates (but it´s been a while and not an easy comparison due to the level difference). The coach here has no real clue and the closest skate shop is 9h drive, main reasons I decided to give the forum a try desperately looking for advice :)

So my question here is there anything else you can think of I can try or check to find out if it is me or my skates/blade? Is it possible the left blade edges are unbalanced, or one shorter than the other that cause this issue, or something like that?
I will probably change the blades anyway, especially after reading this forum as I realized they may not suit my current level (I have Risport RF Light with Mark IV blades), but I would like to try to understand if I am the problem, the skates are, or we both are first

Thanks a lot in advance!
 

Bill S

Rinkside
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
United-States
As a quick check for uneven edges, press a small, flat stick of wood across the blade edges and sight down the length of the blade. A pop-sickle stick is ideal, placed across the blade. The stick should lie parallel with the mounting plate if you have even edges. It will visibly tilt to one side or another if the edges are uneven. I have a tool that does essentially this but uses a fancy magnetic mounting.

Be sure to check at a couple places along the blade's length.

I just saw a "pro sharpening" that produced edges there were excessively uneven, and you could tell just by sighting down the blade itself, no stick needed.

Do this, or have a good pro-shop check with their edge-level tool. This will eliminate the possibility of it being an sharpening issue. If your pro-shop doesn't have an edge checker, switch to one who does.
 

sandraskates

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Country
United-States
It could also be that your blade is not mounted in the proper place for your foot. It may need to moved slightly inward or outward.
I could also be mounted crookedly. If you go an experienced tech or pro-shop they can have you walk around in your skates and look for that type of issue. Some coaches can look for this too.

It could also be your technique but without a video to see your skating it's hard to say.
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
Ditto both above. I feel like if your blade edges were uneven, you would have noticed it on other moves too, though. So really look at the mounting on your left skate and see if the blade is really centered or if it's moved in. This is the exact issue I had years ago when I began skating. I pronated quite a bit on my left foot, and the tech reset the blade way, way inside to offset it. The result is that I never had a proper one foot spin.

My other comment is that at your current level, you should be ditching the Mark IV blades and using Coronation Ace or MK Pro!
 

bunnybarista

If I risk it all, could you break my fall?~
On the Ice
Joined
May 27, 2018
My other comment is that at your current level, you should be ditching the Mark IV blades and using Coronation Ace or MK Pro!

Seconding this!! The Mark IV is way below your level by now - you would benefit from an upgrade!

As for struggling with getting a LO edge... do you pronate? Most people do, and you can have your blades moved to adjust for this so that it is easier to push onto an outside edge. It's also possible to get an on-ice alignment by a professional who watches you skate and then moves your blades accordingly. However, especially at your level, it's quite possible that the blades are fine and it's just a matter of your technique, or maybe a combination of technique and pronation. I struggled with my RO edge for a long time and was convinced that the blades were wrong, but my private coach was able to spot that it was my technique that was off, not the blades.

Good luck! :biggrin:
 

Ic3Rabbit

Le professionnel d'élite
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
I agree with Sandra and bunny, you need to have your mounting checked, and upgrade your blades. I want to add though, that we all have a more dominant side with skating and you may need to work on that left side more to bring it up to play with your right side. I would arrange to get everything done at once if your closest shop is 9hrs away.

Good luck! :biggrin:
 

WednesdayMarch

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Country
United-Kingdom
One thing you can try is to glide forwards on two feet, with your boots touching gently at the insides and ankles. If one of your blades is out of alignment, it will pull and you'll feel it and won't be able to hold the position.

Other than that, I'm with the others, Sandra, Bunny and Ic3Rabbit. Good advice.
 

katymay

Medalist
Joined
Mar 7, 2006
It could also be that your blade is not mounted in the proper place for your foot. It may need to moved slightly inward or outward.
I could also be mounted crookedly. If you go an experienced tech or pro-shop they can have you walk around in your skates and look for that type of issue. Some coaches can look for this too.

It could also be your technique but without a video to see your skating it's hard to say.

This.
Back in my day, we used to use strapping tape to tape the blade onto the boot for a certain amount of time-to get the best placement for our styles of jumping. And then adjust the blade either in or out depending on how the blade placement felt in jumps. Then holes were drilled and the blade permanently attached.
 

bunnybarista

If I risk it all, could you break my fall?~
On the Ice
Joined
May 27, 2018
This.
Back in my day, we used to use strapping tape to tape the blade onto the boot for a certain amount of time-to get the best placement for our styles of jumping. And then adjust the blade either in or out depending on how the blade placement felt in jumps. Then holes were drilled and the blade permanently attached.

Wow that sounds terrifying to just tape the blade onto the boot! Thankfully now people tend to do a temporary mount which only uses some of the screws and holes, usually the slotted ones that allow for some side-to-side motion.
 

aletheia

Spectator
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Thank you all for all the answers!
I don't know how to reply to more than one of you in the same message, sorry

As a quick check for uneven edges, press a small, flat stick of wood across the blade edges and sight down the length of the blade. A pop-sickle stick is ideal, placed across the blade. The stick should lie parallel with the mounting plate if you have even edges. It will visibly tilt to one side or another if the edges are uneven. I have a tool that does essentially this but uses a fancy magnetic mounting.

Be sure to check at a couple places along the blade's length.
I have just tried this. I don't have the kind of stick you mention but used a chopstick instead. I feel it tilts outside very slightly in the tail of the blade, about 1-2 inches. It straightens along the half rear part of the blade, where it starts tilting inside until the very front of the blade. But it is a very very subtle inclination, maybe about 1º? Not sure if this is really noticeable when skating to be honest.
I also tried to put both right and left skates standing straight over the blade on a flat surface and see if they hold stand by themselves. The right one does, the left one falls to the outside as much as I try to find a balance point. Which leads to your other suggestion about the blades being mounted correcty.


It could also be that your blade is not mounted in the proper place for your foot.
Looking at the blades, they look centered in my opinion, but not that I know much about the correct position. I can attach a picture of them though:
https://imgur.com/a/mKVROvx


As for struggling with getting a LO edge... do you pronate?
Not that I am aware of, but it doesn't mean I don't :rolleye: Definitely another good point to check, and ask both my coach next time and also mention it in the shop when I get the new blades.

One thing you can try is to glide forwards on two feet, with your boots touching gently at the insides and ankles. If one of your blades is out of alignment, it will pull and you'll feel it and won't be able to hold the position.
Will try this too the next day I go to the ice rink thanks!


I want to add though, that we all have a more dominant side with skating and you may need to work on that left side more to bring it up to play with your right side.
This is an interesting point I'm curious about. One skater of the ice rink asked me if I may be left handed, and I have been taught jumps and spins as a right handed instead, making everything harder for me. Could that even be a thing? How could that affect to the skating skills? I ask out of curiosity, I am right handed now but just because they forced me to be so in the school. But I was left handed in a first place and for some new skills I learn, especially the ones I started learning from very young, my strong side was the left one.

Thanks again for all the answer, they are really helpful
 

aletheia

Spectator
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
My other comment is that at your current level, you should be ditching the Mark IV blades and using Coronation Ace or MK Pro!
I forgot to quote this. Yes! As I said in my first message that's something I just found out reading this forum, and seen that so many of you agree there is no doubt about it :biggrin: Between those two, what is the difference? would you recommend one or the other depending on something in particular?

I also found out that the boots may break down much sooner than I thought. I may need to check them too but I don´t know what to look for. What are the signs that will tell me they need to be replaced?

Thanks again!
 

tstop4me

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
I have just tried this. I don't have the kind of stick you mention but used a chopstick instead. I feel it tilts outside very slightly in the tail of the blade, about 1-2 inches. It straightens along the half rear part of the blade, where it starts tilting inside until the very front of the blade. But it is a very very subtle inclination, maybe about 1º? Not sure if this is really noticeable when skating to be honest.
The test piece needs to be straight, flat, and stiff. A chopstick won't do; even many popsicle sticks won't do. Do you have a pocket-size metal ruler (~6 inch long X 1/2 inch wide)? That would be more reliable. Even with that, it's a tricky test to perform if you have no experience.

I also tried to put both right and left skates standing straight over the blade on a flat surface and see if they hold stand by themselves. The right one does, the left one falls to the outside as much as I try to find a balance point. Which leads to your other suggestion about the blades being mounted correcty.
You'll see this test mentioned here and there. But it's totally bogus. The boot itself does not have a left-right plane of symmetry (readily apparent from looking at the bottom of the sole). Also, the proper position of the blade with respect to the sole and heel depends on the skater; and can be different for the left and right foot.
 

tstop4me

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
This.
Back in my day, we used to use strapping tape to tape the blade onto the boot for a certain amount of time-to get the best placement for our styles of jumping. And then adjust the blade either in or out depending on how the blade placement felt in jumps. Then holes were drilled and the blade permanently attached.
You were able to do jumps with the blades secured to the boots only with tape, no screws at all (not even the so-called temporary-mount screws)?
 

sandraskates

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Country
United-States
Thank you all for all the answers!

You're welcome! Glad you came back to discuss as so many do not.

Looking at the blades, they look centered in my opinion, but not that I know much about the correct position. I can attach a picture of them though:
https://imgur.com/a/mKVROvx

When I glance at that big photo on the left- and I admit I'm just looking at that photo as a vulture on a laptop screen - it looks to me like that blade may actually be a little crooked. Not by a lot, just a bit too much to the outside at the heel and going in at a diagonal at the toe. But only a tech can check this out for certain.

One thing you cannot do is think that the blade is mounted centered by looking at the stitching lines on of the boot at the toe and heel.

It is also possible that the boot sole has a small warp and the blade is out of alignment at the warp. If this is the case, a tech can put in a shim where needed.
I hope you get to the root of your problem - whether skate related or technique related!
 

treblemakerem

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
This is an interesting point I'm curious about. One skater of the ice rink asked me if I may be left handed, and I have been taught jumps and spins as a right handed instead, making everything harder for me. Could that even be a thing? How could that affect to the skating skills? I ask out of curiosity, I am right handed now but just because they forced me to be so in the school. But I was left handed in a first place and for some new skills I learn, especially the ones I started learning from very young, my strong side was the left one.

Your natural roatiotnal dorection is not necessarily the same as your handedness even though it is referred to as righty lefty. I’ve heard it may have to do with eye dominance but I’m not sure. I am right handed but a lefty skater. I don’t really understand when people aren’t sure which way they should go because for me it was clear as day. There is no way I could jump the other direction. So if you never questioned it I would doubt you are a lefty. I still can’t really do a proper right inside 3 even though I can do all the harder turns. Personally I have a similar problem in that my right outside edge is super week compared to the left one. I was able to move my blade a little bit but it is also just weaker. I do weird things with my upper body that I don’t do on the other side. My theory is my left side got strengthened from always skating around counterclockwise on public sessions.
 

Bill S

Rinkside
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
United-States
Judging from your photos, it looks like the shop didn't use the slotted holes to allow you to experiment with lateral blade position before committing. They went right to the permanent screws.

Is that the case?

Those photos elevate the likelihood of blade position being an issue.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Le professionnel d'élite
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Thank you all for all the answers!




This is an interesting point I'm curious about. One skater of the ice rink asked me if I may be left handed, and I have been taught jumps and spins as a right handed instead, making everything harder for me. Could that even be a thing? How could that affect to the skating skills? I ask out of curiosity, I am right handed now but just because they forced me to be so in the school. But I was left handed in a first place and for some new skills I learn, especially the ones I started learning from very young, my strong side was the left one.

Thanks again for all the answer, they are really helpful

Yes, this is really a possibility. There are skaters who jump the opposite: Kaetlyn Osmond and Ashley Wagner among others. I am ambidextrous and can jump either way but chose one way for when I competed (the ability to jump both is very rare btw). Once you learn your way (or decide on it) it gets embedded in your muscle memory and it's hard to jump the other way (if you originally could) and I'll tell you that from experience.
 

aletheia

Spectator
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Your natural roatiotnal dorection is not necessarily the same as your handedness even though it is referred to as righty lefty. I’ve heard it may have to do with eye dominance but I’m not sure. I am right handed but a lefty skater. I don’t really understand when people aren’t sure which way they should go because for me it was clear as day.

I'm finding this super interesting. I totally thought it would be directly related to the handedness. About the first month after starting ice skating, while we were practicing turns around one foot used as a pivot as a preparation for the 2 foot spins, I remember the coach asked me which direction I felt better. I was one of those people you say that felt them the same way and couldn't choose one. She recommended me to stick to the standard anticlockwise direction to make it easier in the future as most people do and teach that way, and so I did. But I never questioned it again after that. I knew people jump in different directions but not that people can do both sides. That's amazing. I've never tried jumping clockwise, but I could risk my house that it wouldn't work :laugh:
 

aletheia

Spectator
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Coming back to the main discussion theme and the blades...


The test piece needs to be straight, flat, and stiff. A chopstick won't do; even many popsicle sticks won't do. Do you have a pocket-size metal ruler (~6 inch long X 1/2 inch wide)? That would be more reliable. Even with that, it's a tricky test to perform if you have no experience.
Unfortunately I don't think I have anything similar to what is needed on hand then. I will try to find something that works better and try again.


You're welcome! Glad you came back to discuss as so many do not.

When I glance at that big photo on the left- and I admit I'm just looking at that photo as a vulture on a laptop screen - it looks to me like that blade may actually be a little crooked. Not by a lot, just a bit too much to the outside at the heel and going in at a diagonal at the toe. But only a tech can check this out for certain.

One thing you cannot do is think that the blade is mounted centered by looking at the stitching lines on of the boot at the toe and heel.

It is also possible that the boot sole has a small warp and the blade is out of alignment at the warp. If this is the case, a tech can put in a shim where needed.
I hope you get to the root of your problem - whether skate related or technique related!

Of course I was coming back! That's the reason I came to ask and all the information and help I'm getting here is gold, I'm learning so much so thank you all again for all your help:) I may reply late or at weird hours, I see most of you are based in North America but I'm in NZ and time difference certainly play it's game here!

Looking at the the stitching lines of the skates is exactly what I was doing.... :rolleye:


Judging from your photos, it looks like the shop didn't use the slotted holes to allow you to experiment with lateral blade position before committing. They went right to the permanent screws.
Is that the case?.
I bought the skates second hand in very good condition from an ice rink shop back in UK as I initially moved there just for a few months and the skates were more of a temporary solution so I could keep practicing in the meanwhile, but I ended up staying longer and resuming the lessons after a while and since the boot was confortable to me, I kept them and also brought them with me the next time I moved overseas. So for your question, the blades where already there when I bought them and the guy in the shop didn't adjust them or did anything specia when he sold them to me. It was also a more hockey oriented shop.


After this I know now it's time to get my own skates. I feel more comitted with skating and there is also this possibility of a blade bad alignment (plus blade upgrade requirement) or pronation. Since it seems a speciallized technician is the only one able to help me at the moment, I will try to contact the two only skating shops I have found here, which are in Auckland (8-9h drive from where I live) to see how they work, if they offer a temporal mounting and how, but I think it will be hard to do since I won't have the option to keep travelling back there to readjust them and the ice rink is not that close by to them. In the event of also changing boot, which one do you usually recommend for my level? I saw both stores promoting Edea a lot and have them on stock, but both Risport and Jackson they just order on demand. (I currently have Risport RF Light)

If after getting new skates the left outside is still an issue, then I will have no option than fully blame myself and my technique and work harder! :biggrin:
 
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