I've just spent the weekend trying NOT to Double-push. It's a strange sensation, trying to do something that is so closely related to something that I have been doing for 35 years.... but different.
This weekend was the UK Long Track Christmas Training Weekend. Ice skating is something I have been quite ambivalent about for many years. (Mainly because I've never lived close enough to an ice rink to do it, and always lived closer to very good inline facilities both indoor and outdoor, so it was just more convenient and practical to focus fully on inline.) But in March I will be moving to The Netherlands to coach the an inline team (more on this in a later article). So this means I will be coaching inline skaters that also do Ice Speedskating int he winter. So I feel it my responsibility to find out a bit more about ice speedskating. Learning to ice skate is the first step for me, and in January I will participate in the UKLT Coaching Course Level 1.
This weekend has been great fun. UKLT leadership is creating a culture that is open, welcoming, professional, organised, forward thinking, imaginative, and relaxed. There are not many sports organisations like this. (Actually, many sports organisations, especially in inline skating are bureaucratic,
Skating with the UKLT people, and learning from the UKLT coaches (Piet Knip (NL), Tom Fell (UK), Nicole Knip (NL), and this weekend guest coach Jetske Wiersma (NL Junior LT National Coach!) is a refreshing experience. Everyone goes home smiling, happy and enthused.... and usually planning when they can next come back again. UKLT is based in Det Uitoff, The Hague, Netherlands. Yes, UK Speedskating is based in The Netherands. There are NO Long Track Ice facilities in the UK, but despite this, after on 2 years, UK have TWO skaters qualified for Junior World Cup already. (Sam Airey and Ellia Smeding).
The coaching we received was very professional, the coach team has a wealth of experience, and they are inspiring. Personally I learnt a lot this weekend about ice technique, from the basics up to mid level techniques. But I am focussing ONLY on the basics of K5, edges, timing and getting lower. ... oh, and I have to remember, DON'T DOUBLE PUSH. I relaxed for a moment and let my shoulder dip, and pressured the outside edge, and the BOOM, it was all over. HA HA HA HA ! Crash.
Each training weekend is growing, attracting more and more UK skaters, from short track and inline, and some from other sports. And we were over 50 people at the Christmas Dinner. It's growing fast due to the culture created by the leadership team. If you want to come along and have a go, just contact Phil Airey here.
Or check out the
UKLT Facebook page here.
Let's go faster,
p.s. No, there is not a picture of me on ice. I'm a far better photographer than I am an ice skater... and I'm not a very good photographer 😂 😂 😂