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 Inside Eight
The geometry of
this eight and the placing of
push offs are exactly the same as for the preceding figure (Diagram 3).
The position of the body, however, is diametrically opposite, just as
for the IF spiral. Whereas the outside edge starts with hips and
shoulders parallel to the skating foot, this edge is skated with hips
and shoulders square, or at right angles, to the line of the circle.
While standing in T-position for the start (Illus. 26), try to make
your hipline as square as possible above your right foot (Diagram 3-1;
Illus. 26-1). It is impossible, of course, to put your hips completely
on the line of the long axis, but if you will turn your right toe back
until it is at an angle of even more than 90 degrees from your left
toe, you will find that it helps you to get an accurate short axis
As soon as you have pushed off, allow your free knee to bend and come inside the circle (26-2, 7) almost beside the skating knee (which is, of course, deeply bent). The free foot, well turned out from the knee, will be behind and inside the line of the circle with only the heel of the free skate over the print (26-7). Hold this pushoff position until the halfway mark (26-3), where you again reverse your arms and move your free foot close forward (26-4) into the number 2 position(26-5, 8) forward inside (FI) rolls. Close your circles and push off (26-6) with identical placement, balance, and timing as in the forward outside eight.
You will find this eight easy and pleasant, and you'll never have any qualms about it. On the other hand, few people do it really well. A fine FI start is difficult to perfect, as there is a distinct tendency to lunge the body forward at the pushoff, and to lean in too much. It is also much too easy to let the free foot slip behind across the print to the outside of the circle right from a vigorous pushoff—a mistake that, just as in your spiral, will at best narrow the radius of your curve, at worst will cause your skate to skid. You will find yourself skating a figure six, not an eight!
The cure for these common errors must be found in an
exaggerated backward balance on the blade throughout, which is achieved
by holding the hips firmly forward and pulling down the base of the
spine. As soon as you push, you must at once tighten the muscles of the
derriere, especially on the free side, and be instantly conscious of
the placement of the free foot. Following the theory that the hips must
not be allowed to rotate in the direction of the curve or change
position around the circle, forward pressure must be
maintained on the free hip from the start. Once the free leg passes
forward, it is easy to keep this pressure. It is only the first
half-circle that presents a real problem of control and balance.
the first half of a circle is uncontrolled, the second half is always
difficult. It is the number 1
position of every edge that sets up
the eight. Because
at least three-quarters of the body weight is inside the circumference
of the circle, this edge presents a delicate problem in
counterbalancing. A strong edge is gained by pressing in the
hip hard, or "hollowing" it (26-2, 5, 8), and at the same time keeping
the weight on the skating shoulder directly over the line of the
circle. The shoulders are level throughout. After the free foot passes
forward, I have found it helps to press it toward the outside of the
As you are closing the circles, look down over your skating side and watch your skating foot meet the opposite circle before you turn it for the pushoff. This is a figure in which it's easy to think the circles have met neatly, only to find on close inspection that the finishes have been diagonal and the starts have overlapped.
The ideal you must strive for in all your figure skating is an even speed. Don't race and don't crawl. One will precipitate you off balance, and the other will give you wobbly lines. Try to finish your figures at exactly the same rate of speed you started them. This can be accomplished only with a judicious bend and rise of the skating knee. (Straightening the bent knee slowly and with muscular force presses the body weight down into the ice and, if the weight is on the right part of the skate, increases the run of the blade.) Don't push any harder, or even as hard, for your second or third circles, as the extra speed will tend to increase their size.