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Figure Skating Moves

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To perform good figure skating moves, it is helpful to have agility, flexibility, balance, and the ability to ice skate on an edge. If you do not feel you have a good grasp on all of these skating attributes, donít be discouraged. You can still learn and successfully perform some of the basic figure skating moves that Iím sure you will find quite exhilarating; you may just have to work a little harder.


It is important to understand the relevance of the blades when you are learning to perform figure skating moves. Blades have two edges, the inside and the outside. Many figure skating moves will require you to know whether to take off on the right (foot) forward (direction of the skater) inside or outside edge (of the blade). As you read books or other websites about figure skating moves, you will often see abbreviations like ďright forward insideĒ (RFI) in reference to directions for figure skating moves.


Letís start with the basics. Assuming you have a pair of figure skates and are properly dressed; make sure you warm up and stretch before working on your figure skating moves. Proper warm-ups and muscle stretching will help prevent injuries and will allow you to be more flexible while performing your figure skating moves.


Itís time to start learning your first figure skating move - the figure eight. The figure eight is sometimes said to be the foundation of all figure skating moves. The figure eight is a good figure skating move to learn first, because at least one skate remains on the ice at all times. The figure eight should literally trace the shape of a number eight in the ice. Figure eights may be performed by skating backwards or forwards, and on either the outside or inside edge. Letís start by looking the easiest figure skating move to learn, the forward outside circle eight.


Forward Outside Edge Circle Eight


To get into position for this figure skating move: stand in the T-position with your right arm in the front of your body over the line you are going to be making on the ice, and your left arm behind you over the line you will have made in the ice. At this point in the figure skating move, you should be standing with your back to the center of the circle you are preparing to trace. As you look into the direction you are about to skate, lower your eyes, but not your head. When you actually begin the figure skating move, your weight should be on your left foot.


Begin skating and move your feet into a two-foot glide position. Push-off with the entire blade, not just the toe. During this part of the figure skating move, your left foot will be behind your body, turned out with the heel over the line you are cutting into the ice. Keep your arms out with your hands about waist level; your left knee should be slightly bent. Keep your hips and shoulders straight and try to ride the edge. Make an effort to stay in this position until you reach one-half of the circle. Next, bring your left arm and leg alongside and ahead of your right arm and leg (they will switch positions). While performing this figure skating move, remember your posture and keep your body straight.


At this point you will be beginning the final third of your circle. As you conclude this move, you will gradually begin to straighten your legs. As you do so, as with all figure skating moves, remember to maintain good posture. As you approach the end, bring your free foot along side with your left arm in front of your body. Now bend your knees and push-off into the left outside circle. As you push-off you will turn the right skate out 90 degrees. The left skate should hit the ice at the center, so its curve joins the one made by the right skate.


Now that you know the basics of this figure skating move (right edge outside circle), all you need to do to perform left outside circle, is follow these directions, but reverse the sides.


If you are an experienced figure skater and are looking for tips on how to perform more advanced figure skating moves, please visit our Figure Skating Jumps or Figure Skating Spins pages. These pages provide some excellent tips on more advanced figure skating moves.


To master figure skating moves, we recommend you seek assistance from a figure skating instructor. If you try to master the art on your own, you are likely to develop bad habits that will haunt you in the future. By taking lessons from a professional instructor, you will learn how to perform figure skating moves more rapidly, and should develop the correct skills as you go. We encourage you to use our Ice Skating Rinks locator to help you find a figure skating instructor near you. Call the closest ice skating rink for more information.


Finally, be patient while you are learning to perform figure skating moves, and donít be embarrassed when your movements are not as graceful as you'd like. Remember, every figure skater had to learn these figure skating moves at one time or another. 









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