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Figure Skating Tips

Basic Skating Fundamentals
       All figure skaters must master of the basic skating fundamental skills that are considered the foundation required to develop all champion skaters:
  • Primary edges,
  • One and two foot turns,
  • Core balance/posture,
  • Flexibility, Coordination of all body parts.
       The basic and fundamental skills should be acquired prior to begining to focus on participating in the following disciplines:
  • Figures
  • Free Skating
  • Pair Skating
  • Ice Dancing
  • Synchronized Team Skating
  • Showcase and Artistic Skating
New to skating,  start with the basics

What to Wear when ice skating

      Many indoor ice skating rinks are well insulated and are quite cold. Hockey players prefer to skate on hard ice that is held several degrees colder then the temperature preferred by figure skaters. It is best to be prepared for cold temperatures by layering your clothing so an outer jacket can be removed if the skating activity increases your body tempertaure.
  • Skate Rentals are OK for the first few times you skate, but if you sign up for lessons or plan to skate regularly, you will benefit from owning your own pair of proper fitted figure skates. You will have  more support for your ankle, but with the proper care, the blades will remain sharp and should not acquire nicks. Skate rental is usually included in the cost of most Learn-to-Skate classes, so it is not necessary to buy figure skates immediately.
  • Skating bare footed is not recommended. Thin cotton stretch socks, not heavy wool socks are recommended. Girls may chose to using footed ice skating tights or wearing thin micro fiber socks. Don't expect the socks to fit in the empty space when your skates are too large.
As long as you are in motion in the rink, you will stay warm. However, upon stopping and being inactive for a few minutes, you body will get chilled. Layering is one way to help keep your body temperature up. A problem on a public session is how to make sure your sweaters, jackets, and gloves are not accidentally left behind or stolen. Many rinks have lockers you can rent by the session to protect your wallets, shoes, and other personal possessions.

Learning the Basic Skills
      
Someone new to icce skating will benefit from enrolling in a "Learn to Skater" series of group classes for  beginners. These classes will teach a beginner how to:
  • Learn to fall correctly and get up without assistance. 
  • Learning to stop is as important as pushing and gliding. Never grab onto others to stop from falling. Crashing into the wall is unacceptable
  • March before you glide. Marching in place on the ice is widely used as a precursor to gain balance and feeling comfortable standing still. An essential step before attempting to acquire the balance to glide on two and then one foot.
Mastering Basic Skills
      
Every skater needs to acquire the basic fundamental skills prior to attempting advanced free skating tricks.
  • Gliding - Start out marching, then stand on two feet and let yourself glide. Once you've mastered the two-foot glide, start transferring your weight to one leg at a time and picking up the other for a one-foot glide.
  • Stroking - Now that you've mastered the one-foot glide, start alternating back and forth. This is called stroking. A good ice skating tip for beginners at stroking is to start with short, quick glides before you try to balance on one leg for any length of time.
  • Swizzles - This easy skating technique involves propelling yourself forward without bringing your feet off the ice. Start with your heels together, toes pointed forward and out. Slide your feet apart, then bring your toes together. Repeat the motion so your path looks like an hourglass. Master these forward and backward.
  • Crossovers - Designed to help you skate around corners, you can practice these in a hockey circle by placing your outside skate over your inside skate as you glide around the corners.
  • Basic Turns - two and one footed turning from forwards to backwards and backwards to forwards.
Purchasing Correctly Fitted Skates is the best investment a parent can make!
      The best option is to buy skates (boots and blades) that fit properly in the first place. Don't purchase skates with the idea of having the player grow into them in 6 months or a year!  An improperly fitted skate increases the possibility of serious ankle injuries and broken bones!
       The boot that is properly fitted provides the type of support that eliminates possible problems associated with complaints about "weak ankles".  One word of caution. It is possible to provide too much support from extra stiff boots sometimes worn by preteen skaters. A skater may discover that landing in an awkward position can result in muscle damage occurring where the top of an extremely stiff boot ends.

      Here's what you need to know to get the best fitting figure skates:

1. Select skates that are snug but not painful. Your ice skates shouldn't fit like a pair of shoes or slippers. You should be able to feel the boots against your toes, ankles, heels, and insteps. If your toes are painfully pinched or you have to jam your feet into the skates, they're too small. However, your feet shouldn't just slide into them like they do into your favorite pair of slippers.

Always loosen the laces to remove the boots after the practice session. Store the boots in a warm location. Never store in a car trunk subject to extreme heat and freezing cold. A moist storage locker or closet encourages the leather to break down and encourages the proliferation of molds, fungi, and bacteria that cause a condition known as athlete's feet. While thinking about caring for your skaters, always remove your athletic clothing from your equipment bag so it can be washed between use. Your teammates don't appreciate foul odors from your feet and clothing.

2. Never purchase skating boots that are a little too small. However, if you want to avoid purchasing a new pair of skater near the end of the season, your rink's sports shop should be able to help fit a stock boot or order a custom boot that will not fall apart during the season.

If the overall size is a perfect fit, your rink's sports shop generally can stretch skates in a couple of different ways, depending on the fit that's needed - for example, but you need to accommodate a slightly thicker ankle, the shop pro can use punch fitting which is a technique that stretches out a small area of the boot.  Power stretching equipment can stretch the boot by as much as a full size.

3. Avoid buying skating boots that are too big to fit the athlete for immediate use!  Boots that are too big allow too much room for the feet to move around inside the boot of the skate. Such a fit will cause blisters or bone spurs develop on the feet and toes. A second pair of socks or thicker socks doesn't solve the problem of oversize skates, it just gives another layer of fabric that can shift around inside your skates and cause blisters.

4. Toes should touch the front of the boot. If your toes are against the front of the boot when you're standing on both feet with the skates laced, you have a perfect fit. Make sure that your heel is all the way back in the skate by kicking the heel against the floor once or twice to settle it back.

5. Check if there is room in the toe of the boot. While placing your full weight on the boots in a standing position, have someone check to see if there is room for your toes to wiggle. Your heels should be at the back of the boot an not able to slide forward. Be careful not to select a boot more than a half size larger to allow room for a child's growth!

Recommended Reading:

CPMA - Foot Care Tips For Figure Skaters Foot Care Tips For Figure Skaters provided by the California Pediatric Medical Association.

Ice Skates Buying Guide, Figure Skate Brand Comparisons Ice Skate Boot & Blade Comparison Guides. Information on Ice Skate Boots & Blades appropriate for Test & Skill Levels.

Basic Guide to Figure Skating an Official U.S. Olympic Sports publication. No online source available.

Tips for Figure Skaters - Oaks Center Ice Site contains tips and tidbits for all of our figure skaters. What, When, Where, How and Why: A Guide to Buying a Figure Skate.

PDF  Nutrition Tips for Figure Skaters

Ice Skating Tips   If you are learning to ice skate, this site offer several ice skating tips to help you.

Ballet for Figure Skaters   An online resource for skaters desiring to acquire Classical Ballet training - alignment floor exercises, warm-up, stretching and suggestions on teaching Style developed by a ballet instructor with the technical information needed to teach skaters concepts and skills that are cross transferable. 

References:

Welcome to U.S. Figure Skating Don't make skating everything in your child's life; make it a part of life. Make sure the coach is qualified to guide your child through the skating experience.

Figure Skating Injuries | Figure Skating Injury Figure Skating injury prevention information. Tips on preventing Figure Skating injuries and identifying overuse and trauma injuries in kids.

Figure Skating Tips And Instruction: Spins A few helpful figure skating tips on spins; including direction, edge, pivot and position as well as signs of quality.

Figure Skaters Eating Plan - Suggested Meal Plan Eating right should begin when ice skaters are young. This article includes a suggested meal plan for figure skaters.

Seven Sport Psychology Tips That Every Figure Skater Needs to use Aug. 5, 2010  Figure skating presents some unique and significant psychological challenges for parents, coaches and athletes.

DOC Figure Skating Tip Sheet  Tips to Prevent Injuries, Improve Skating Performance and Prolong Skating Career ... Figure skating requires a skater to acquire performance/presentation skills.

Technical Figure Skating Welcome to the Technical Figure Skating Page! The purpose of this web site is to provide multimedia resources to give a better understanding of the technical requirements of the sport.

Competitive Figure Skating FAQ: Technical Elements   This article is part of the FAQ list for (amateur) competitive figure skating. This section covers technical elements of figure skating, such as jumps and spins.

Figure Skating Journal Technical Information   Basic Concepts; Direction Edges; Skating Disciplines; Types of Skating; Stroking Coming Eventually; Crossovers Coming Eventually; Stops Coming Eventually.

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Tips for Skaters
Training Tips for Ice Sports
PDF Strength Training Tips/Techniques
        
Ice Hockey Tips
Speed Skating Tips
Figure Skating Tips
Curling Tips

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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