The Fun of Figure Skating
by Maribel Vinson Owen
Chap. 1 Equipment
Chap. 2 First Strokes
Back Inside 8
Forward Outside 3s
Forward Inside 3s
Chap. 7 Free Skating
Free Skating Program
Chap. 8 Ice Dances
Chap. 9 Skater
Source -World Figure Skating
|Chapter 6. Completing
Fundamental Figures -
Forward Outside Back Threes
RIF-LOB and LIF-ROB
outline, this figure is the same as
threes-to-center —that is, a three turn facing straight down the long
axis occurs at the apex of each circle. I feel the inside forward three
is the easiest turn in skating—it practically makes itself—but the
outside backward turn presents a few interesting problems of rotation
control in both the upper and lower body (Diagram 8).
Push off on the RIF with the skating shoulder forward and the free shoulder blade drawn into your backbone (Illus. 31-1). This is the position you have been using for your inside mo-hawk, not the position of the spiral where, of course, the free shoulder is forward. In other words, it should be clear by now that, as a fairly general rule in skating, when you want to turn your body around toward the center of the circle, you twist your shoulders in the rotation of the circle against your hips; when you want to maintain an edge without turning, you hold your shoulders against the rotation of the circle. (An exception, however, is the starting position of the inside backward eight!) Observe all the regular rules for square hips, straight back, free foot inside the circle, etc., of the IF eight and keep a steady shoulder pressure right to the turn (Illus. 31-1, 2, 3).
I find the best balance when I have the skating shoulder just slightly higher in a sort of "banking" position on the curve (31-2). As this right shoulder leads you into the three, you are going to shift your weight from the back center to the ball of the foot and turn naturally onto your right outside backward edge (31-4). If you have started off with a strong inward lean, you hardly need any extra tightening of the left shoulder to motivate the turn. Some skaters lower the free foot to the heel of the skating foot with good results, but I prefer to keep my free foot perfectly still and just turn around (31-4). My free foot thus moves from slightly inside the circle before the turn to slightly outside the circle after it (31-5). As always, the turn itself is lightning fast.
As your skate feels the OB edge, reverse your shoulders and
toward the three-quarters mark (also take a quick peek back to your
start from here) (31-5). Once at the three-quarter, turn your head to
the outside but do not change your shoulders (31-6). Hold thus to your
center (31-7) and push off to LOB with your shoulders still in this
reverse position (31-8). Keep the skating shoulder lower on the OB edge
out of the forward turn and the weight steadily on it until you make
the back push (31-5, 6, 7, 8).
The crux of control lies in getting the free leg in firm position as soon as it lifts from the push off (31-10). Place it immediately over the print (turned out so that the tracing shows under the arch of your foot); squeeze the upper thighs together but make sure that your knees do not touch (31-11). Keep a strong constant forward pressure on the whole free hip and leg so that as your upper body rotates to the outside, your free leg will not fly out of the circle (31-11), thereby ruining control of the curve before the turn and the turn itself.
The only movement from the quarter-circle to the turn should
gradual straightening of the skating knee (31-10, 11). The
straightening pressure here is particularly useful in helping hold out
the curve of the circle. At the point of the long axis, repeat the
usual weight-shifting and shoulder-tightening as, without any
movement, your whole body turns quickly toward the center of the circle
(31-12). Bend your knee and reverse your shoulders as you feel your
skate on the new IF edge (31-13).
Ride back to your start in this completely checked position, with your body sideways to the center of the circle and your skating hip strongly "hollowed" under you (31-14). (Throughout this entire circle and turn I like to feel that my lower body is one solid block, first traveling backward and then traveling forward.) On the theory that the least movement necessary produces the best results, I do not move my free leg or foot for either three. However, if closing in for a turn produces less disturbance of the hips, then do it by all means.
This method that I have finally adopted as the most
after years of experimentation with many other techniques means that
there is only one shoulder change per circle—that is, the checking
movement after each turn. Placing the forward three is easy (look at
the long axis opposite the pushoff and keep looking at it), but placing
the backward three presents a new problem. This is essentially a
"blind" turn, and you must, in the final analysis, feel when
your skate has reached the top of the curve. However, planning the
whole diagram ahead and looking at the long axis at the moment of the
back start (31-9) and again giving it a quick glance just before
turning the head to the outside will help.
Do not make the mistake of
trying so frantically to see that you lean out of the circle (if you
lean strongly in, you will see more easily). Remember that
here, just as in the IB eight, the head turns on the neck and
can make a quick revolving movement without disturbing the shoulders or
the upper body at all. (When I watch some of my pupils, I am wont to
ask them if they turn their heads with their stomachs! Test yourself on
any back circle and see if you can turn your head first one way and
then the other without moving your shoulders at all—another useful