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Last-modified: Dec 18 2005
Recreational Figure Skating FAQ
Copyright © 2002-2005 Ana Gonzalez
© 1995-2001 Karen Bryden
This archive was originally written and maintained by Karen Bryden.
Subsequent updates and additions to the original document are done with her
Some portions of this archive are used with permission from their
A version of this archive is periodically posted to the Internet by the
Owner, and may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
Private individuals are granted permission to make a copy of this archive
for their own personal use, provided that the copy includes this copyright
This archive or any part thereof may not be sold for profit nor incorporated
in other documents without the Owner's permission.
This archive resides at PacBell.net, and is mirrored at telecomottawa.net.
It may NOT reside at any other website (use links, please) without the
permission of the Owner.
Table of Contents
* Scope of This Archive
* Charter of rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational
* Notes on posting to r.s.s.i.r.
* Please Read This Disclaimer
* Other FAQ's on Skating
* Other URL's on Skating
1. Questions and answers
* 1.1 Should I buy skates or rent them?
* 1.2 Should I buy figure skates or hockey skates?
* 1.3 Why are there different kinds of blades for figure skates?
* 1.4 How often do I need to sharpen my skates?
* 1.5 Are hand-held sharpeners useful?
* 1.6 Will figure skates give me enough ankle support?
* 1.7 How do I know my skates are worn out?
* 1.8 What is skating leg, free leg, outside edge, inside edge, LFO, RBI,
* 1.9 Why do I skate mostly on my inside edges?
* 1.10 Why do most skaters spin and jump counterclockwise?
+ 1.10.1 Is there an easy way to tell what my "natural" spinning
* 1.11 Why can I do X on my right leg but not my left?
* 1.12 What's the difference between a crossover and a progressive?
* 1.13 Turns. What's a counter, rocker, bracket, 3-turn?
* 1.14 Turns. What's a mohawk, Choctaw?
* 1.15 Step sequences: : What are waltz threes, waltz eights and power
* 1.16 Are spin trainers any good?
* 1.17 Will inline skating improve my ice skating?
* 1.18 What are US Figure Skating, ISI, Skate Canada, NISA, etc?
* 1.18.1 Should I join ISI or US Figure Skating?
1.19 What are MITF?
1.20 Sessions; patch, freestyle, dance, open, public; what are they?
1.21 I have heard that you can skate on ice because the ice melts under
the blade pressure. Is this true?
1.22 How do you make an outdoor rink?
1.23 Why does my music sound terrible in the ice rink?
1.24 How do I find a suitable private instructor?
* 1.24.1 What are the guidelines to deal with coaches?
* 18.104.22.168 Should I tip my instructor?
* 22.214.171.124 What are the rules for taking a coach to competitions?
1.25 Is there a painless way to leave my coach?
2. Basic Skating
* 2.1 First time out
* 2.2 Falling and protective equipment
* 2.3 Stopping
+ 2.3.1 Snowplow stops
+ 2.3.2 Hockey stops
+ 2.3.3 T-stops
* 2.4 Posture
* 2.5 Stroking
* 2.6 Skating backwards
* 2.7 Forwards and backwards cross-overs
* 2.8 Forward 3-turns
* 2.9 Backward 3-turns
* 2.10 Mohawks
* 2.10.1 Open and closed mohawks
* 2.10.2 Where does the name "mohawk" come from
* 2.10.3 Tips to learn a mohawk
3. Adult Skaters
* 3.1 Adult beginner skaters
+ 3.1.1 The skater mother and other horrors
+ 3.1.2 Talent vs. determination
* 3.2 Amount of practice needed to make progress
* 3.3 Adult-Onset Skating Syndrome (AOSS)
* 3.4 Lessons
* 3.5 The pay-off!
* 3.6 Skating programs for adults
+ 3.6.1 US Figure Skating adult testing track
+ 3.6.2 Skating competitions for adults
* 4.1 Selecting new boots
* 4.2 Breaking in your boots
* 4.3 Maintenance
+ 4.3.1 Waterproofing
+ 4.3.2 Re-plugging the screw holes
* 4.4 Selecting used boots
* 4.5 Lacing
* 4.6 Children's skates
* 4.7 New technology for figure skating boots?
* 5.1 Buying new blades
* 5.2 Three ways of checking used blades
* 5.3 Mounting
+ 5.3.1 Problems with warping
+ 5.3.2 Checking for mounting problems
* 5.4 Rocker
* 5.5 Grind or hollow
* 5.6 Advanced blade features
+ 5.6.1 K-pick
+ 5.6.2 Side honed, parabolic and tapered blades
* 5.7 Sharpening explained by an expert
* 5.8 Maintenance
6. Figure skating skills
* 6.1 Dance
* 6.2 Freestyle skating
+ 6.2.1 Waltz jump
+ 6.2.2 Salchow
+ 6.2.3 Toe loop
+ 6.2.4 Loop jump
+ 6.2.5 Flip jump
+ 6.2.6 Lutz jump
+ 6.2.7 Axel jump
+ 126.96.36.199 Axel exercises
+ 6.2.8 Two foot spin
+ 6.2.9 Forward Scratch spin
+ 188.8.131.52 about dizziness
+ 6.2.10 Back spin
+ 6.2.11 Sit spin
+ 6.2.12 Camel spin
* 6.3 Synchronized skating
* 6.4 Figures
* 7.1 Concussion
* 7.2 Arm injuries
* 7.3 Knee injuries
* 7.4 Foot injuries
+ 7.4.1 Bumps on feet
8. Off-ice training and endurance
* 8.1 Weight training
* 8.2 Improving turn-out
* 8.3 Knee strengthening exercises
* 8.4 Plyometrics
* 8.5 Pilates
* 8.6 Off-ice warm-up
* 8.6.1 The cooling down
* A.1 Commonly available blades, radius, hollow and price
+ Dance blades
+ Synchronized skating blades
+ Beginner Freestyle and all-purpose blades
+ Intermediate and Advanced Freestyle blades
+ Advanced and Elite Freestyle blades
* A.2 Test requirements
+ A.2.1 ISI tests: Freestyle and Dance
+ A.2.2 US Figure Skating Adult freestyle test requirements
+ A.2.3 US Figure Skating test dances
+ A.2.4 FFSG freestyle "Club" track test requirements
+ A.2.5 NISA freestyle test requirements
* A.3 Comparative table of national freestyle tests
Scope of this Archive
Welcome to the news group rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational. The charter of
the group (below) encompasses a wide variety of skating activities aimed at
the active recreational skater. This archive contains responses to
frequently asked questions about ice skating, and contains outstanding
contributions to the news group which have appeared in the past. It is aimed
at the recreational and lower level competitive figure skater.
Charter of rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational
Appropriate topics for this group include public skating, social or dance
sessions and outdoor skating; learning to skate and more advanced group or
private instruction; equipment selection, use, maintenance, and
troubleshooting; and stretching, training and fitness issues.
Discussion of skating skills on both hockey and figure skates are welcome.
The group is aimed specifically at skating from the participant perspective.
Notes on posting to r.s.s.i.r..
In general, if you follow the Usenet etiquette rules you can't go wrong.
Everyone will be grateful if you try to stay on topic, make sure that the
subject of your post corresponds to its actual contents and ignore
outrageous posts and trolls. In particular, pay attention to these points:
1. In general, avoid cross-posting to other groups as much as possible.
Even when cross-posting to other skating or related groups is justified,
this practice sometimes results in a bunch of off-topic posts addressed
to r.s.s.i.r. Similarly, check and, if necessary, edit the "newsgroups"
and "follow-up" headers of posts you reply to.
2. Sharing movies and pictures is popular and very useful to receive
feedback about your technique and for general discussion of a skill, but
please, do not send those files in the body of your post or as an
attachment. Read the FAQ on posting binaries to newsgroups to understand
why. The best procedure is to put the file in a web site and post the
URL to the group. Be aware that doing this will generate lots of visits
to your page. If your file is very large and you have a bandwidth
restriction on file transfers, access to the page may be temporarily
blocked by your provider. To avoid this situation, double-check the
conditions that apply to your site.
3. It has become common practice in the group not to refer to one's skating
instructor(s) by their names as a matter of course (many people use
nicknames). The main reasons to do this are 1)preserving the
instructor's privacy 2)avoiding that a particular miscommunicated or out
of context instruction or comment affects the reputation of the
instructor. This practice does not apply if the identity of the
instructor is already public knowledge (for instance, if you are posting
about a publicly advertised skating camp with famous coach X, it is OK
to quote X by name).
The Following Disclaimer Applies to This Archive
This archive is furnished "as is" without express or implied warranty. If
you wish to learn figure skating, please sign up for a class (offered at
many rinks) so you can have an instructor demonstrate the proper techniques
and help correct you if you're doing something wrong. Rely on a good
instructor to help you select skates and other equipment.
Other FAQ's on Skating
There are five other FAQ's posted regularly to rec.sport.skating.*,
rec.answers and news.answers. They are the amateur and professional
figure/artistic skating FAQ list posted by Sandra Loosemore, the Inline
Skating FAQ by Tony Chen, the Conventional Roller Skating FAQ and the Skate
Books FAQ by George Robbins and Welcome to rec.sport.skating.* posted by
Other URLs on Skating
Charles MacDonald keeps a current listing of Skating URLs at
This archive represents the collective wisdom of the news group
rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational and the mail list email@example.com.
Many people have contributed to this work, far too numerous to mention.
However special thanks go to the late George Robbins and Janet Swan-Hill,
who have written major portions of this document.