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 How do they do that?

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Gislaine
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PostSubject: How do they do that?   13.06.06 19:19

Blue Bead
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(7/11/05 6:39 pm)
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First, an enormous THANK YOU to Katya for granting this new section dedicated to the technical aspects of figure skating and coaching. You're the best!!!

Not too long ago in a thread, Loves2Smile mentioned her interest in comparing the training techniques of various elite coaches, and I spoke up about wishing to find out about skating techniques in general. The result of all that is this new section.

From my perspective, I can recognize quite a few skating maneuvers, elements and the like but I don't understand why they are possible or how the skaters manipulate their bodies to produce the various things like edges, strokes, spins, crossovers, jumps....well you get the idea, LOL.

I would imagine I'm not the only one with a lot of questions about how skaters do that, and since skaters are now on the road to the Olympic season it would be a good idea to discover how they do those things. The anwers to my questions will certainly fire up my appreciation for what my favorite skaters do and what all they must go through to produce all their intricate and beautiful programs.

So, my very first questions have to do with edges. Once the skater is in motion how does he/she control where that edge takes them? I know there are instances where changing edges is done but how exactly is that accomplished? Is it done by some specific movements of the skater's body, and if so what body parts contribute to it?

Mary C.

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(7/11/05 8:49 pm)
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Yay, I can pretend that I know some of the answers!

Edging is probably comparable to steering a bicycle. You learn through experience how much one needs to turn the front wheel in order to stay on the correct side of the street -- or stay on the street, period . Or stay upright on the bike .

But not many people try to bicycle backwards, I imagine . Elite skaters have been skating for so long that they probably don't remember the learning process, but after one becomes comfortable gliding forwards on two feet, you then test yourself by gliding forewards on one foot for a few seconds. (on the flat of the blade, not an edge; constantly skating on edges is the goal in figure skating). You also begin to notice how your body has a "weak side". While I just suddenly started gliding on only my right foot one day, it took me a few weeks longer to feel comfortable gliding on my left foot.

I think I learned how to skate backwards on two feet before I ventured into gliding on a forward edge on one foot. Most skaters learn inside edges first. They are not as scary because if you start to lose your balance you can simply put the other skate down to rebalance yourself. If you slip off of an outside edge, however, you usually end up landing on your side .

I am still trying to do genuine back outside edges. At times I thought I really was doing a back outside edge... I was gliding backwards and not on a staight line, after all . And there was a bit of an arc traced onto the ice. But Jon Wright examined my technique one day by lying on the ice and just staring at my blade close up (a very weird moment, I must say ). He told me "not only are you NOT on an outside edge, your body is fighting that position and, at times, your are on an INSIDE edge". BUT, Jon was wondering if the problem was the position of the blade mounted onto my boot; that the blade was not perfectly centered (or mounted). We got off the ice and he examined my skates. He told me to have the skates examined by someone in the pro shop, because he thinks the blades are as much as a quarter-inch off-center.

To me, that was more good news than bad news. 1) my poor back edging is not completely my fault. 2) higher quality skates are designed to "remount" the blade when necessary. I do not have high-quality skates at the moment. I'm wearing the same skates I bought when I just started to skate a couple of years ago. So, in order for me to improve, I need to buy better equipment . I have reached a skill level in which I now need skates for intermediate-level figure skating . And once I pay for my trip to Europeans , I will be able to buy myself new skates.

Love2Smile teaches edging often, I'm sure. She can better explain it.

Karen


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Love2Smile
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(7/12/05 1:27 am)
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That's a great question, Mary!

Every edge you do is controlled by your body placement, lean/alignment of the entire body over the skating leg (not to be confused with just tipping over, lol ) and the pressure you apply to your knees and ankles to create flow in the edge. The skaters that you see with that effortless basic skating quality have mastered aligning their body properly with the right amount of pressure and lean over their skating side. If you wish to push as you are on your edges, instead of just gliding, you must put pressure into your knees and ankles in a soft down and up motion. (For example, we have a move called power-pulls. The move is done all on one leg by pushing and pulling on your edge by using a press down then up and pull, press down then up and pull motion through your ankle and knee rhythm. You can generate speed with your edge this way without ever using your other foot to push.)

Hmm, come to think of it, I'd better clarify a couple of skating terms right off the bat, just in case some posters are not familiar with them:

Free leg- is the leg of the foot that is not on the ice.
Skating leg- is the leg of the foot that IS on the ice.


As far as learning edges, in the USFS (US Figure Skating) Basic Skills program, the first edges skaters encounter are in the basic forward swizzles. They are accomplished by moving both the feet in an in and out motion, pushing and pulling on the inside edges, making lemon shaped 2 foot pushes. Soon after they learn to skate on two feet, alternating directions of travel in a slolum-like motion (which is very similar to the motion downhill skiiers use as they sway from side to side on their way down a hill.) This is accomplished by facing the direction you are intending to go and applying pressure in a rhythmical down, up down, up motion that you put into your ankles and knees as you push against the ice surface with each foot's inside edge at intervals (right, left, right, left). Later the skaters learn to stroke properly, using the edges of their blades and not the toe-pics (which is a big no-no in stroking ). Then they learn to glide on one foot on their inside and outside edges, do 3-turns, and so on. Hopefully this gives you an idea of the order of things and basics of edges, in addition to what Karen said of her own experiences.

Karen is right about usually feeling weaker on one side than the other. Learning to do a 3-turn going the opposite direction than you naturally rotate (everyone either naturally rotates clockwise or counter-clockwise, but most commonly counter-clockwise) is alot like trying to learn to write with your left hand when you are right handed.

You're blade was about 1/4 inch off, Karen?? That makes such a huge difference in your ballance...
One time I had some different blades mounted on my skates after they had been mounted with another pair. The person doing the mounting incorrectly forced the blades to line up with the holes from the screws of the previous blades and ended up warping the blade... Yikes, I sure felt off ballance as I tried to skate on it!

......lol, I can't wait until we start discussing spins.... Wheeee!!!

~Love2Smile!

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PostSubject: Re: How do they do that?   13.06.06 19:20

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The blades are still a quarter-inch off . I guess that's why I'm still really struggling with my inside three-turns and have drifted off into trying hockey skates until I can afford to buy figure skates with properly-aligned blades. Oh well...

Yes, one cannot underestimate the importance of knee bend in skating. Before I started to learn how to skate, I thought skaters only bent their knees when landing a jump or doing a sit spin, for example. But next time you watch skating, look at their knees. They are in a bent position almost ALL of the time. When doing back crossovers, for example (one blade is on an inside edge and one on an outside edge, BTW), the knees need to be bent so much that the body is almost in a sitting position . Whenever I don't succeed in holding an edge, 99% of the time the instructor tells me that is because I'm not bending the knee enough. Of course, having your legs in that position for a long time is tiring on the thigh muscles. That's why you rarely see cellulite on elite skaters. If a skater does not bend the knee(s) enough to create and sustain an edge, it is impossible to truly flow across the ice.

Try balancing on one leg at home and you will feel the difference between standing on a straight, stiff knee versus a bent knee. Then see how long you can stand on one bent leg while the other leg is straight and behind you (for the most part). That is a basic stroking position. You will also notice how important arm and shoulder position is as well.

Heidi, which elite skaters do you think have superior edging? Matt Savoie and Shizuka Arakawa automatically come to mind for me . On the contrary, remember how some commentators often criticized Surya Bonaly's lack of basic skating skills? Initially, I didn't understand how that could be since her jumps are amazing. But now I notice that when Bonaly is skating in between the jumps, she is almost ALWAYS skating on a straight line . She would lose A LOT of points if she competed under the new judging system if she didn't correct that. And that is not something that can be corrected overnight. Improper technique takes time to undo and redo :/

Karen


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SheenaVivien
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How does a skater control where the edge takes them? Basically balance & body-weight control. The deeper the edge = the bigger the curve, the more you can 'lean-over' on the edge = the deeper the edge, the better your balance & control = the longer you can hold the edge (which will also contribute towards the length of the curve).

Inside edges are more natural than outside, therefore much easier to do (& as Karen says the free foot is easier to use which makes it less scary). I have fallen off outside edges - which affects my confidence on them. Everybody has a 'good' foot & a 'bad' foot - my policy is generally to try to practice my 'bad' foot twice as much as my 'good' foot so that it has a chance to improve - quite often my teacher says that my 'bad' foot moves (eg. 3 turns) are better than my 'good' foot ones - on which I feel more comfortable & confident?! (Btw I don't get skating much these days, so my experiences are from the past). I am the opposite to Karen in that my back outside edges are probably better than my front ones - I don't know why, but I feel comfortable holding them on either foot (maybe I am a secret poseur!!).

How to change edge? Basically again a change of body-weight. I can do change of edges on either foot, outside to inside or inside to outside. It is hard to explain in words but my technique would probably be a little different on each one - sometimes it it the placement &/or movement of the free foot that makes the change happen, always the arms are important (most people don't realise how important arms are in skating, they think it is all legs!), sometimes changing the body-weight by leaning in either direction will effect the edge change - mostly everything working together is the answer. As for elite skaters, different techniques are interesting to watch, take change-edge spirals - many skaters shift body-weight around (I think! - Heidi can correct me?) the hips (Kwan is particularly good at this, her shift is barely visible), others use the catch-foot position to 'pull' themselves over (Slutskaya & Liaschenko are good examples of this method).

I think that I am trying to say that different skaters will use different parts of the body to do different things - it depends on what works for them for each thing they try. For example my forward inside to outside edges; on the right foot I would use a flick of my free foot to get the change, on my left foot I just hold the free foot over my skating foot for the whole manouvre (which I thought was cheating until my teacher told me was actually a harder, more advanced method! - did I feel good??) - so now I would aim to try to get the same method working on my right foot. It is fair to say that outside to inside change of edges are easier than inside to outside - finishing on the easier edge.

Re. positioning of the blade on your boot - I know it makes a big difference as my blades are placed "funny" on my boots (something to do with my edges, Stuart, my teacher put them on for me) - one of the other pros. 'broke-in' my new boots & had difficulty in skating in them! Knee bend is also very important in skating (quite apart from greater safety & security) as it contributes towards glide & power; this is a difficult one for beginners as it is natural to feel tense & therefore stiffen up when trying a new & dangerous sport! Or a new move! & I know all about 'fighting' the edge - skate trying to go in one direction, body twisting to go in the other - it is one of my specialities!!

Personally, I love being able to do edges & change of edges - it makes me feel like a 'real' skater!!

I'm sure I have basically repeated much of what has already been said, it is interesting that we all have similar problems & challenges in our quest to skate!!

Sheena

(great new section btw!!)

Edited by: SheenaVivien at: 7/12/05 11:33 am

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First, I would like to say that this is an awesome section! I just love reading about the technical side of skating because there is a lot more to it than one thinks. It is such a beautiful and graceful sport, but behind the beauty is whole other world of complicated techniques and skills!

To me, edges are what skating is about. You need them to do practically everything. I really liked what Love2Smile said in her post:

"Every edge you do is controlled by your body placement, lean/alignment of the entire body over the skating leg (not to be confused with just tipping over, lol ) and the pressure you apply to your knees and ankles to create flow in the edge. The skaters that you see with that effortless basic skating quality have mastered aligning their body properly with the right amount of pressure and lean over their skating side."

There are so many things involved when doing an edge like Love2Smile said. From my experience, the one thing that is so important to do a deep edge, inside or outside, are the ankles. One must bend the ankles 45 degrees and place their boots on the ice at that angle to make a deep, nice curve. Having this control and flexibility in the ankles will then allow you to do anything! Lean and body alignment will then come naturally in order to make your body stable on that edge. The more the ankle is bent, the closer the boot is to the ice and the deeper the edge gets. Both sides of my skating boots are worn down from rubbing against the ice so much! It is amazing to do! It was very scary at first, but if you practive it repetitively , on both feet and on both edges, it will all come naturally. I hope I explained it understandably!

Karen, Love2Smile , and Sheena have answered your questions Mary C., very well and I have agreed with everything that has been said. It was also very well-explained! I just love edges!


Blue Bead
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(7/12/05 10:36 pm)
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Thanks. I feel as though I've hit the jackpot because of all the help all of you are providing! I'm going to read it all through again to make certain I understand what each of you has provided to answer my questions, and then I'll be back with still more questions, LOL.

Mary C.

Love2Smile
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(7/13/05 1:09 am)
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Mary! I'm so glad we could be helpful!

Sheena did a good job explaining that there are many different ways to initiate a change of edge, and what she said about the placement of your body weight over the skate is precisely what I meant by "body lean."

~Love2Smile.... Love2Skate!!!



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(7/13/05 7:11 am)
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This is a terrific thread. Now I'll be able to better understand how a skater does the various elements.

Margaret

SheenaVivien
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(7/13/05 10:29 am)
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Thanks to Heidi for your kind comment above - I'm glad I make sense sometimes!

Karen asked Heidi who, amongst elite skaters, she thought had superior edging - so I'm going to add my 2 cents worth!

Good edges have always been important in the Russian school of training, so it is fair to say that almost all 'Russian' trained skaters have good edges, you can nearly always pick them out when they step on the ice - something to do with posture as well?

This not to say that other skaters do not have good edges - Johnny Weir has great edges & 'basics' - that is what I noticed from the 17year old at SC 4 seasons ago! - Shizuka Arakawa & Fumie Siguri are good female examples of the same skills. I think that Tatania & Maxim have the best edges currently in pairs - the Chinese don't impress me in that line, though they are very acrobatic & athletic.

Dancers generally have good edges (again you can generally tell a dancer from a free-skater as soon as they step on ice) as edges are very important in dance - in fact they help set the better dancers apart from the lesser. For me the best edges I have seen belong to Albena & Maxim (their power & control are extraordinary), which is why I consider them to be the best dancers about!

Sheena

Blue Bead
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(7/13/05 6:47 pm)
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Now that I've had time to digest these answers I'd like to explore certain concepts just to settle it in my mind what particular descriptions of skating actions mean. Heidi's explanation regarding power pulls needs just a bit more wording to allow me to understand what happens during that skating action.

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The move is done all on one leg by pushing and pulling on your edge by using a press down then up and pull, press down then up and pull motion through your ankle and knee rhythm.
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What trips me up, LOL, are the words, "pull motion." The "press down then up," I can visulize---but not the "pull motion" part. If a skater does this on one leg, is there some better combination of words that explain the "pull" part because I can't understand how one can get "pull motion" while on one leg---on two legs, I can understand, LOL. What is the action of the ankle and knee which produces the "pull motion"? Is it certain muscular contractions on the inside of the leg, or is something else factored in to that physical action?

Eons ago in my life I did take quite a few figure skating lessons (mid-1960's) but I don't remember what certain motions felt like, LOL. I do remember skating backward and forward, and what 3-turns and forward crossovers felt like, but power pulls just isn't in my memory banks, LOL.

Also, what kinds of off-ice excercises would beginning skaters do to develop the muscles which permit them to make efficient power pulls? I know from a lot of research that off-ice exercises are in common useage for the more advanced skaters and those at the elite levels of competition, but is there a similar thing in place of the beginning level skater?

Mary C.

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This is SOOOOO fascinating!! You guys are doing an great job with your explantions!!

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PostSubject: Re: How do they do that?   13.06.06 19:20

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That's why I started to skate once a week...so I have a better idea of what I am watching on TV .


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Also, what kinds of off-ice excercises would beginning skaters do to develop the muscles which permit them to make efficient power pulls?
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I don't know what power pulls are, either. I'm someone who exercised regularly before skating, so I didn't experience much soreness when I began skating. I did notice how much strength one needs in the inner thigh muscles in order to do inside edges , especially when doing a T-stop (feet and blades are in the shape of a "T" and the blade in back does the stopping).

It wasn't until I started the ISI (Ice Skating Institute) Gamma level of lessons (three-turns, hockey stops, mohawks) that the instructor highly encouraged us to warm up and stretch muscles before our lessons. Now that we learned basic skating (moves that both figure and hockey skaters use), we started to use the middle of our body as well. Turning on one foot and switching feet, for example, means the torso and hip muscles are often used. I spend at least 10 minutes stretching all major muscle groups before I put on my skates, and than another 5 minutes with skates before getting onto the ice. I don't want my lower back, hip or thigh muscles to be tight.

I bought a small exercise contraption that helps me practice balancing on one foot. It's a disc I stand on. I think it is meant for people to stand on with two feet and twist the body back and forth, but I put one foot on it and practice turning 180 degrees without needing to put the other foot on the ground. Again, the more I bend my knee, the more successful I am.

Ballet moves are probably the best and most popular off-ice training. If you cannot do an arabesque on the floor, for example, what are the chances that you will be able to do it on the ice? Pilates is popular, too, I'm sure. The stronger your addominal and back muscles are, the more likely you will eventually be able to do a sit spin, for example (I can't even stand in a 'sit-spin' position, unless I lean against a sofa using my arms ).

But once you put on skates, which must weigh 1kg each and constrict your ankle movement, all of these moves feel much different, anyway. There is no true substitute for the real thing.

Karen


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Love2Smile
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Oops, I forgot to answer your question about skaters I think have good edging, Karen- sorry about that!
Matt Savoie is extremely high on my list in that category as well! Also Brian (he floats over that ice, I swear! I think that he may not have quite as good of edging on some edgy footwork that is unfamiliar to him, but when he just skates and does crossovers, etc., he has the most amazing flow that I have EVER seen. ) Ryan Jhanke, Stephane Lambiel, and Jeffery Buttle... I don't include Sandhu because IMO, he doesn't get the power and flow through the edges that those other guys have. He has precise foot movement and ofcourse good edging, but just not as good as the others I mentioned, in my personal opinion...
In the ladies, I always loved Chen Lu and Yuka Sato's wonderful edge quality and flow!

Sorry Mary, I did think the term "pull" may cause some confusion, but I didn't have enough time the other night to clarify it further and couldn't think of a better word for "online description"...
What I mean is, after you bend your ankle and press into that edge you are pushing with/against, you must rise out of that ankle and accelerate the edge forward... It feels like you are pulling yourself with one foot to a destination further down the arena, or like someone has a hold of your skate and is pulling that skating edge toward them... It's a bit of a complicated movement to describe, there's nothing to really compare it to that is off ice that I can think of...

As far as exercising those muscles, I would say that the main muscles used in that motion are the quadriceps, so really any excercises that would strengthen them would be beneficial for that move.

Yes Karen, ballae is excellent and IMO the best for off-ice warm-up (in addition to jogging/jumping and stretching).
I honestly don't know much about Pilates, I've never learned it myself. I agree that it does seem to be very popular now for off-ice training.

As far as not being able to ballance in a sit spin position off ice, don't feel bad- in this particular case, it is MUCH easier to ballance in that position while spinning. For one thing, you have the spin momentum "holding you up" to a certain extent, whereas off ice you have nothing and you're just doing a static position.

~Love2Smile!

Edited by: Love2Smile at: 7/14/05 1:42 am

Katya0812
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I got the chance to see some young ladies practicing spins off ice last week and they were using these little square plates which they called spinners. They reminded me of the Sit and Spin toy that I had bought for my children years ago (in fact one or two of them did sit on it and just spin around ) but I noticed they had an easier time getting into the sit position when they were using the spinner, than just on the floor, so I would have to think that is a common problem with balance off ice.
~Katya

Blue Bead
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(7/15/05 8:20 pm)
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Thanks to everybody for helping to educate me.

Heidi....this explanation of yours was very helpful:

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after you bend your ankle and press into that edge you are pushing with/against, you must rise out of that ankle and accelerate the edge forward... It feels like you are pulling yourself with one foot to a destination further down the arena, or like someone has a hold of your skate and is pulling that skating edge toward them...
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but of course it has generated other questions, LOL. What prevents the skater from going backwards with that one foot motion? How does the skater's balance figure in to all of this, and what is the proper balance position for producing this power pull?

The only way I can relate a skater's balance over the blades, is to what I know about (from years of experience) to a rider's balance in the saddle. The positon that rider adopts, to keep themselves from negatively influencing the horse at certain gaits, is shoulders perpendicular to the ground and directly over hip bones with spine straight. How does a skater's balance, in performing 3 turns, and change of edge, compare to my example of the rider's balance? In what circumstances does the skater assume a similar shoulders over hip bones configuration?

Mary C.

Love2Smile
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(7/17/05 1:28 am)
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I'm so glad my additional explanation was helpful to you, Mary!
As far as not falling backwards, the skater must be sure not to get the shoulders behind the hips or the hips and shoulders behind the heel of the blade at any time during the motion. Forward powerpulls are actually pretty scary to learn at first because of that fact that the skaters feel they will fall backwards, and could, if they are not careful.

Alot of times, me and my coach will use the words "chest over the knee" in a lot of edge, jump and spin movements. That means aligning your chest over your skating knee, keeping your back as straight as possible but pressing your whole core/upper body forward so that your chest is lined up over your knee as you balance the movement. Alot of the time skaters' bodies want to do it the easier way- put the shoulders forward, thus rounding out the back and creating bad posture, but still balancing well enough to not fall backwards. That takes less effort than keeping a straight back and pressing the chest over the knee, but in the long run, makes the movements harder because of the improper body alignment.

You ride? Cool! What kind of riding? I took dressage lessons for a couple of years.
Whenever you are doing regular straight one foot glides, you must have the shoulders over the hip bones evenly.

When a skater performs a 3-turn, he/she must twist the waist and shoulders against the hips... Hips over skating leg, waist twisted into the direction you plan to turn. Picture a skater gliding on his/her outside edge on a circular pattern, travelling clockwise. To turn, the skater must twist the waist toward the center of that circle, then rock to the ball of the foot as he/she turns.

Yes, we do compare hip postition to shoulder position, and how those body parts are lined up over the skating foot, and how it is lined up/balanced over a particular part of the blade (ball of the foot, middle, or heel).

Here's another factor in balancing things... The blade that we ballance over is not flat to the ice. It has a slight curve to it on the bottom, with a tiny area of blade nearest the toe-pick being the highest point. When doing 3-turns, one must "rock" to this point in order to turn the whole length of the blade around. If your balance is too far back on your foot over the heel of the blade, and not over the ball of the foot, you get stuck mid-way through the 3-turn because the whole blade can't slide around to backwards. (At least, not very easily- sometimes it would also make you skid, put your other foot down, or fall backwards.) When you rock to the ball of the foot properly, at the very moment that you turn, then your heel lifts off of the ice slightly and can then come around during the movement. When doing the backwards to forward 3-turn, it is the opposite- you must rock to the heel of your blade as you turn.
A general rule of thumb when just skating is that you are over the ball of the foot (ball of the foot lined up underneath your hips) whenever you skate backwards, and more towards the middle-front of the blade when you are skating forwards, so that you don't hit your toe-pick.

~Love2Smile!

Blue Bead
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(7/18/05 12:52 pm)
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Heidi....Without going into a dissertation length answer about my riding experience LOL, I used to ride and train both horses and riders for the show ring in hunt seat and jumping. I competed in dressage---studied at third level and tested on second level at the time I stopped riding. A serious back injury brought that phase of my life to an untimely end.

I was doing some reading over this past weekend in "The Complete Book of Figure Skating" by Carole Shulman, and while it does a wonderful job of explaining some very complex movements, it is not a human whom you can ask questions of when your mind gets hung up on some particular point, LOL.

I was reading about forward stroking, and in one section it talked about the position of the free leg being extended fully behind the skating foot with the knee turned out and the toe pointed after the push that sets the skater gliding. I assume that the position of the free leg is mostly to develop a pleasing-to-the-eye visual line, but are there any additional reasons for carrying the free leg in that manner---balance, for instance? What is the exact benefit of having one's knee turned out---how does that affect other parts of the skater's body?

Also, concerning posture, does having one's head looking in the direction of travel have more importance than just to know where one is going? Is there an element of balance, in the position of the head, that subtly influences the skater's balance, and his/her ability to continue skating backwards?
I ask this because the position of a rider's head can negatively or postitively influence what the horse does in advanced dressage movements, and I wondered if the skater's head has the same impact on skating movements.

Mary C.

Love2Smile
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(7/18/05 3:16 pm)
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BTW, Katya, should we put some kind of announcement on this thread to the affect of "Don't try this at home without assistance from an instructor" ?

Karen, you mentioned somewhere that you would like to know what brackets, rockers, etc. are- should we start a new thread for that?

I'm very sorry to hear that your riding couldn't continue because of a back injury, Mary... But I am glad you could enjoy that sport while you could!

Concerning stroking...
When a skater takes a stroke, pushing against the ice to propel him/herself forward, he/she must use the inside edge of the blade to push with and not the toe-pick. In order to do this, the free leg knee and foot must be turned open as the push occurs. Yes, it is both a pleasing body line and a ballance thing to have the free leg in the open and extended position once the push has occured.

The last question you ask doesn't really have a concrete answer... Once a skater masters the basics and knows how things work as they skate, they can do many things that aren't necessarily "by the rules" or what is taught in basics. Such as looking where you are going- an advanced skater does not have to look where he/she is going in order to turn or go somewhere, but when teaching a less experienced skater, it is a helpful tool to get them lined up properly to move into the direction they want to skate. A less steady skater is much more affected by head movement than an advanced skater... For example, we would not teach a skater just learning how to stroke to do artistic head movements with that movement of stroking, yet an advanced skater can twist and maneuver their bodies and move their heads in many ways for the purpose of expression in say, for example, a footwork sequence.

~Love2Smile

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PostSubject: Re: How do they do that?   13.06.06 19:21

Re: How do they do that?
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Heidi....Without going into a dissertation length answer about my riding experience LOL, I used to ride and train both horses and riders for the show ring in hunt seat and jumping. I competed in dressage---studied at third level and tested on second level at the time I stopped riding. A serious back injury brought that phase of my life to an untimely end.

I was doing some reading over this past weekend in "The Complete Book of Figure Skating" by Carole Shulman, and while it does a wonderful job of explaining some very complex movements, it is not a human whom you can ask questions of when your mind gets hung up on some particular point, LOL.

I was reading about forward stroking, and in one section it talked about the position of the free leg being extended fully behind the skating foot with the knee turned out and the toe pointed after the push that sets the skater gliding. I assume that the position of the free leg is mostly to develop a pleasing-to-the-eye visual line, but are there any additional reasons for carrying the free leg in that manner---balance, for instance? What is the exact benefit of having one's knee turned out---how does that affect other parts of the skater's body?

Also, concerning posture, does having one's head looking in the direction of travel have more importance than just to know where one is going? Is there an element of balance, in the position of the head, that subtly influences the skater's balance, and his/her ability to continue skating backwards?
I ask this because the position of a rider's head can negatively or postitively influence what the horse does in advanced dressage movements, and I wondered if the skater's head has the same impact on skating movements.

Mary C.

Love2Smile
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(7/18/05 3:16 pm)
| Edit | Del Re: How do they do that?
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BTW, Katya, should we put some kind of announcement on this thread to the affect of "Don't try this at home without assistance from an instructor" ?

Karen, you mentioned somewhere that you would like to know what brackets, rockers, etc. are- should we start a new thread for that?

I'm very sorry to hear that your riding couldn't continue because of a back injury, Mary... But I am glad you could enjoy that sport while you could!

Concerning stroking...
When a skater takes a stroke, pushing against the ice to propel him/herself forward, he/she must use the inside edge of the blade to push with and not the toe-pick. In order to do this, the free leg knee and foot must be turned open as the push occurs. Yes, it is both a pleasing body line and a ballance thing to have the free leg in the open and extended position once the push has occured.

The last question you ask doesn't really have a concrete answer... Once a skater masters the basics and knows how things work as they skate, they can do many things that aren't necessarily "by the rules" or what is taught in basics. Such as looking where you are going- an advanced skater does not have to look where he/she is going in order to turn or go somewhere, but when teaching a less experienced skater, it is a helpful tool to get them lined up properly to move into the direction they want to skate. A less steady skater is much more affected by head movement than an advanced skater... For example, we would not teach a skater just learning how to stroke to do artistic head movements with that movement of stroking, yet an advanced skater can twist and maneuver their bodies and move their heads in many ways for the purpose of expression in say, for example, a footwork sequence.

~Love2Smile!

Blue Bead
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(7/27/05 7:25 pm)
| Edit | Del Re: How do they do that?
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Heidi....First, thanks for answering all my questions---dumb, though some of them may be.

Secondly, would you explain a reference I saw on another board that mentioned alternating 3s, 5 or 8 step mohawks, outside and inside 8's, and waltz 8s? The discussion had something to do with exercises coaches were giving the student skaters. Also, what is Russian stroking?

Mary C.

Katya0812
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(7/28/05 12:41 pm)
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Re: How do they do that?
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I just saw your question Heidi, I have to say I don't think very many people will get that far without an instructor
~Katya

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PostSubject: Re: How do they do that?   13.06.06 19:22

How do they do that?
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There's no such thing as a "stupid" question, Mary

The exercises you mentioned are the names of some "Moves in the Feild" exercises. Moves in the Feild is an organized structure of moves patterns that a skater in the USFS (US Figure Skating) program must complete. If a skater wishes to test freestyle (Pre-Preliminary through Senior) he/she must first pass the coordinating level of Moves in the Feild. So, to be able to test Senior freestyle, you must first pass Senior Moves in the Feild.
The patterns consist of 3-turns, mohawks, edges, etc. There are several patterns in each level, usually about 5-7 of them.

A Waltz Eight is a forward outside 3-turn, switch feet to a back outside edge, switch feet again to a forward outside edge performed in a circular pattern and then repeated in the other direction on a new circle, thus making a figure eight pattern.

A double 3-turn is two 3-turns perfomed consecutively on the same foot, on the same curve. For example, a left forward outside 3-turn immediately followed by a left backward inside 3-turn would be a double 3-turn on the left foot.
All of these moves contribute to alot of the basic footwork that you see skaters do.
Earlier, Karen mentioned choctaws and rockers; these moves are taught in the Moves in the Feild patterns as well, and also they are taught in dance.

I think I'll start a Moves/Footwork thread tomorrow if that'd be okay... But for now I'm

~Love2Skate!

Blue Bead
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(8/2/05 1:40 pm)
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Thanks, Heidi, for that explanation.

BTW, I think the "Moves in the Field" thread is an excellent idea.

Mary C.

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