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 -
If you have
had sufficient patience to proceed
step by step with me to this point, you will, I'm certain, already have
mental understanding and bodily control enough to transcribe a
moderately accurate forward figure eight right away. As we study
four eights together, you will realize that there are certain
fundamental principles basic to all skating.
Just as in mathematics,
these are axioms that apply to every facet of the sport, free skating
and dancing as well as all the figures, advanced as well as elementary.
My early years of study under some of the finest instructors in the
world combined with my more recent years of teaching thousands of
pupils from beginning to Olympic caliber have led me to work out a
system of movement in such a way that everything learned at a starting
level can be retained and built on right to the Gold Medal or
championship level of performance.
There are other techniques, other systems that have had signal success; I do not claim superiority for this one. In fact the limberness involved for mastery of this particular technique may make it more difficult at first, but I do feel that, once the fundamental positions are learned, the tremendous control acquired produces better skating faster and easier for a majority of skaters.
So on to the eights, as important to a figure skater as scales to a pianist or barre work to a ballet dancer. It is from the eights that all positions and controls necessary to solo free skating, pair skating, and dancing emanate.
My first teacher used to say, "Show me your outside forward
and I will tell you just how fine a skater you are," and as I have
watched skaters over the years since then, I have come to realize ever
more strongly the truth of this statement. Hours should be spent
acquiring complete control and fine form on this edge; champion or tyro
should practice it daily with unremitting attention to detail.
skated, it is one of the most beautiful of all figures, and every truly
great skater works hard to perfect it in his or her own individual
The mark that your skate leaves in the ice is called the "tracing" or "print." The tracing itself and the way in which it is made—in other words, the "form" of your bodily movements while you are skating—constitute the two chief criteria of your school figure skating. Every wobble, every sub-curve, every deviation from the true circular edge is a definite fault in a figure. Good school figures are as symmetrical as the native ability of man, unaided by a compass, can make them.A controlled yet vigorous pushoff, which sends the body correctly onto the line of travel from the very start, is the most important factor in maintaining the one true curve of the circle. As it was for the waltz eight in the preceding chapter, the start of all eights is at the exact center where the long and short axes cross. Stand in T-position with your right toe on the center, your right foot along the short axis, and your left foot, instep to right heel, parallel to the long axis. In other words, your first pushoff mark from this left skate will be one skate length from the exact starting point where your right edge first shows on the ice.