Thursday, January 04, 2007

Prior Kinesthetic Knowledge

This winter, I have renewed my interest in professional hockey. The Washington Capitals in particular. During winter vacations, a high school friend and I would venture to the Cap Center to catch a game. The games were cheap, entertaining, and a high-speed example of strategy and tactics.

I've noticed that these guys can really skate.

Encouraged by my boyfriend, who harbors dreams of playing recreational hockey, I wandered over to the local ice rink to go skating. I have only been ice skating twice in my life. The last time - about 25 years ago.

I figured that I would be spending the 2 hour session clinging for dear life to the walls. Thankfully (for my pride, if nothing else), I realized that ice skating is much like roller skating and has some similarities to skiing.

The physical technique for moving forward is similar - a push and glide sort of thing. Turning is significantly easier than the old 4 wheel roller skates I used to use. Lean into it and will yourself to go where you need to. For stopping, I found a variation of my old snowplow technique from skiing worked nicely.

I didn't really think about any of this - I just let my body do what felt right.

The other technique that helped was watching people who were slightly better than I was. By my definition, this meant watching people who were skilled at skating forward in a 200'x85' oval. When I watched people who fell or seemed really unstable - I became unstable. When I watched people who obviously more skilled (skating backwards, crossover turns, etc.) - I lost concentration and became unstable.

So what did I learn from this little exercise?

A) I'm not nearly as klutzy as I thought.

B) There seems to be truth to the notion that oftentimes the best teachers are people who are just a bit more advanced than you. Not necessarily the "experts."

It seems that if there is a realistic model for achievement, particularly as a beginner, the entire learning process is a bit less daunting.


The picture above is of Matt Pettinger, one of my favorite players on the Caps... and some other guy..... Picture from

1 comment:

Downes said...

"The Washington Capitals in particular."

I'm so sorry. ;)

(Go Sens go)