My friends who were on the track with me last time I was on the track, were here again tonight (woah, that's a confusing sentence!) Which meant that I was torn between staying in the newbie area or going back on the track. We stretched in the middle and were told we were doing pace lines and pack work. This meant that we had to be able to control our speed, etc. Nope! Not happening then! I still cannot stop and certainly cannot control my speed. On to the newbie area it was!
We were spoilt this week. There was only two of us (me and my friend who started last week) to three coaches! This meant we could practice our skills and be watched and told what needed improvement. We were also given the opportunity to practice whatever skills we felt needed practice. I decided stops were my main area of much needed improvement so I started them. I first tried t-stops and they seemed a lot easier than normal! This was weird. Admittedly I still couldn't properly stop but I was able to twist enough to get my foot behind me and not be too scared or shaky! I managed to do a good-ish one so kept practicing and practicing it again and again but only seemed to be getting worse! Then one of the coaches approached me "Shall we try ploughs now? Sometimes you can get something right but then the more you practice the more frustrated you get, thus you get worse and disheartened"
So I moved on to plough stops. The first one I did, I was convinced I'd got it! "Nope. You've just rolled to a stop. Your posture isn't right, your heels aren't out. Try again." So I tried again. "No! Look, this is how you've got to be" The coach showed me what a plough should look like "Now push me. You shouldn't be able to go anywhere. That is a plough!" Ooo, errr. I felt like I was being told off by a strict teacher! I practiced it a few more times. Derby stance, weight on the outside, widen legs, heels out. Stop. I look up a little sheepishly. "Yes! That was probably a bit of rolling to a stop, but you've definitely got the posture right!"
Woo-hoo! Success! Now, I'm not saying I conquered plough stops. They still need some work and I do have horrid wheels that make it hard, but I definitely know what I have to do now!
Next, we moved on to crossovers...
Oh, scary scary crossovers. How I fear you so. We started skating round the circle and I was barely lifting my foot off the ground before I wimped out and put it back down. This carried on for a while until a coach called me over. "We'll try some crossover stepping. Now this is the motion you want to be doing. Practice picking up your right foot, cross it over and then push out like sticky feet. Once this gets more comfortable, start stepping the left out of the crossover." This actually made sense. I took to the track and tried to put my right foot over. Almost. I kept trying and I eventually did it! I then tried stepping out with my left. I did it! Yes, it was very wobbly and more like stepping than skating, but I couldn't even do that before! Crossovers weren't so scary! They were tricky, but they were like a animal that needed to be tamed and understood. They were now my friend...
...not a good friend though. One of those friends who you know and like but can't tell if you should send them a Christmas card or not as you don't know if you're that close yet. That kind of friend.