The Fun of Figure Skating
by Maribel Vinson Owen
Chap. 1 Equipment
Chap. 2 First Strokes
Free Skating Program
Chap. 8 Ice Dances
Chap. 9 Skater
Source -World Figure Skating
|Chapter 5. School Figures -
Forward Changes ROIF-LIOF and LOIF-RIOF
This figure, far less difficult for the beginner than the preceding one, is merely a combination of the first two edges you learned, namely the outside forward and the inside forward. It is made in the form of a three-lobe eight (see Diagram 5). "Change of edge" means that at the halfway mark of the first circle (d3) you come up on the flat of your skate from your right outside forward edge and then shift to the right inside forward edge (d4), starting a new circle which you then hold steadily back to the point where you made the change of edge. Here you push off on the left inside forward (d6) for a half-circle, completing the circle of the middle lobe as you reach your original starting point where, instead of stopping, you come again onto the flat (d9) and change edge to the left outside forward (dl0). This you hold around a full circle to finish out the end lobe (dll, 12), coming back once more to your original start. Both changes of edge cut the long axis at right angles.
Thus you see that the middle lobe is comprised of half an
circle on the right foot for one side and half an inside circle on the
left foot for the other. This means that in order to do both changes of
edge (that is, from outside to inside and from inside to outside, on
both feet) you will have to make another whole diagram, starting with
the left outside forward changing to left inside, and completing the
figure with the right inside changing to right outside. Many of the
combination figures from now on will have to be started first to
right and then to the left in two separate diagrams in order to ensure
that all the changes and all turns are made on both feet. The
instructions I give will be only for the first diagram, starting
right, and will merely have to be transposed and repeated for the same
figure started to the left.
After the pushoff hold a deep knee bend and a motionless position until the quarter-circle (Illus. 28-1); at this point start a slow upward pressure of the skating knee and an equally slow forward movement of the free leg and the skating shoulder (28-2, 3). Make sure you keep a strong inward lean to the center of this half-circle all during the passing movements (28-3), which should be timed so exactly that your free leg reaches its maximum forward swing right at the point of the long axis. When the free foot thus is at the apex of the half-circle, move it quickly back so that, as your skating foot reaches the long axis, the free foot is brushing past it in a backward movement. At this exact split second change your edge to the inside forward (28-4) by first bringing your body up straight into "neutral" and then over to the new circle with another strong knee bend and a "hollowed" skating hip. As your skate catches the inside edge, change your shoulders to the standard inside forward eight position and make sure your hips are also square. Take care that, with the added momentum of the change, your free foot does not swing back across the print behind, but takes its correct place just inside the circle. Complete this IF circle back to the change center just as in the plain eight (28-5).
As your skate closes in to the change of edge line, push in standard LIF position (28-6), making sure that your left skate takes the ice exactly on the change. Look up at once to your original start and, again from the quarter-circle, time a passing movement of the free leg and a straightening of the skating knee to this exact point (28-7, 8). Allow your free arm and shoulder to press gradually more forward as you draw toward your change, and this time, as you make the change (28-9) onto the LOF edge with a decided lean of the body to the left, leave your shoulders just as they are with the left shoulder of course lower (28-10). Meanwhile your free foot has passed back close and quickly as it reaches the long axis (28-9) and your free hip has pressed back with it, so that as your skate grips the OF edge, the hips are parallel, the shoulders square (28-10, 11). Complete the OF circle back to place without further movement of the arms but with the usual passing movement of the free leg (28-12), observing all the previous rules for skating this edge.
On analyzing the description above, you will realize that the
lower body position changes as your skate changes edge and you enter a
new circle with a new rotation. This change of position can only be
effected through the free side of the body, as one of the cardinal
rules of skating says that the skating hip must remain pressed in
and completely motionless at all times. To
change pressure on the free hip from forward in the square position of
the IF edges to backward in the parallel position of the OF edges
requires definite limberness. That is why I insist upon practice of the
spread eagle and other stretching exercises.
The three circles should be perfectly evenly laid along the same long axis. In order to ensure equal size and uniformity of side line of the three circles, you must always look ahead to the key points—that is, the change point from each start, and the quarter-circle, the half-circle, and the three-quarters circle in that order around the end lobes. As you pass the halfway mark on each end circle, be sure that you raise your eyes to check that the sides of your three circles are all in a straight line. From the three-quarters mark I always look over to the quarter mark of the next center lobe before looking back to the change point to watch the circle closing.
There! I have given you in a few pages the accumulated lore of my skating life, on these figures. I can only say that too much emphasis cannot be put on the acquisition of a refined change of edge technique.
Changes forward or backward are an integral part of a large number of figures in the skating curriculum and they are the essence of every one of the Gold Medal figures. Properly done, they impart a lovely rhythm to school figure skating; due to the rise and bend of the skating knee they help maintain an even flow throughout the circles.
Because it is admittedly easier to control the hips above a
skating knee, changes have all too often been taught that way, with
very restricted movement of the free leg and without the free flowing
use of the skating knee which in my opinion, because it is the essence
of beauty in free skating, should be learned and faithfully practiced
in figures. The official rules require it, but rules are all too often
bypassed, even by the officials who create them. If this particular
rule were insisted upon in test and competition skating, there would be
more great school skating and less boredom with figures among our young
skaters all over the world. Stiff skating is dull, and a stiff slow
figure is no fun for either the skater or the onlooker. A beautiful
flowing school figure can be just as pleasing to watch as a fine free
skating program, as the great school skaters of the world, from Gillis
Grafstrom to the present, have proved. Rhythmic figures in turn produce
more truly rhythmic free skating.