Yes, there is an art to falling over, and it's one I'm now starting to have a appreciation for, however, before we get to that, there's the small matter of yesterday's lesson to talk about.
I headed down to the rink yesterday, to see if I could have my lesson a day early, as today, I'm being taken out for a belated birthday lunch by two friends. Fortunately, there was no problem with me doing this, so we began.
I now have an on ice warm up as well as the one I do off ice. The new on ice one consists of:
Moving round the rink by use of two foot slaloms, this is to help warm up the back muscles, the twisting motion helps with this, and prepares the back for doing turns, twists etc. Do this for 2 circuits of the ice.
Moving round the rink using forwards sculling, or lemons. Now, a slight pause, just to explain what a lemon is: you start with your feet together, push outwards, and then bring your feet back in, and it looks similar to this: (). Anyway, I have to do 2 circuits of the ice doing these continuously. This warms up the legs.
Then I have to do 2 circuits of forward stroking, again, warming up the legs.
Finally, I have to do a couple of 2 foot glides on a curve, to get a feel for the edges and as a last bit of stretching.
See, it's serious business, this skating lark!
So, after that, we started with 1 foot glides on a curve, on the inside edge. These are nearly ready to be signed off, just need a little bit more practice. Then we did the same but on the outside edges, and this was a lot harder. I think it's just a case of me needing to get comfortable on my outside edges, so will definitely be practicing these when I go back to the rink tomorrow.
Then it was onto chasses, which again, are very near passing standard, I just need to get some speed going with them, and practice the other direction a bit more, as well as remembering to straighten my free leg after I do the initial push. Must remember to bend before I push, as well. Anyway, they'll be practiced tomorrow, too.
Then we did backwards skating, and this has progressed, which is good, so we incorporated a 2 foot glide once I'd got some momentum, and this was signed off, which is good.
Now we get onto the cause of fall number one for the day.
Backwards lemons - the same procedure I described earlier, but in reverse. I've got them signed off, as they're passable, but both my coach and I want them to improve a little bit. Anyway, I was practicing them, coach was giving me pointers, to which I was listening to, then BANG!
I'd not been paying attention, and basically skated backwards into the rink barrier, which had the effect of knocking my feet from under me, and I landed on my rear end! I burst out laughing, so did my coach, and so did the other coach and her skater, who were also on the ice.
So, the art of falling. Well, the main thing, is to protect as much of yourself as you can. I wear wrist guards, which do help, and I'm considering wearing my knee pads tomorrow, I'll explain why in a second. So, I take reasonable precautions.
The other thing, is to not take yourself too seriously. When you fall, after you check you're not injured, laugh it off. Easier said than done, I know, but some falls are just plain funny, like mine was yesterday. Some hurt, but after the initial pain goes away, try and have a little joke with yourself, like "Oh, only I could fall on a totally smooth, empty rink". It happens to us all, and it just means you're pushing your boundaries (or not looking behind you, in my case!).
Now, after my lesson, I always stay on and practice a bit, and yesterday I had the ice to myself to do this - I am so lucky I can go in the middle of the day! I was doing a few inside and outside edges, and after a while, it happened. I was practicing an outside edge, and I'm not really sure what happened, but I fell again. BOOM! Straight onto my knees, and fortunately protected, wrists. I got up, smiled, skated for a minute or two, then decided to quit while I was ahead, and go and get some food.
I'm going back tomorrow, so no doubt I'm going to be adding to my collection of bruises, but hey, I'll get there in the end!