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Last-modified: Apr 4 2004
Recreational Figure Skating FAQ
Copyright © 2002-2003
© 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 permission.
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
Private individuals are granted permission to make a copy of this
archive for their own personal use, provided that the copy includes
this copyright notice.
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 Achilles.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,
* 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 direction is?
* 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 Are spin trainers any good?
* 1.16 Will inline skating improve my ice skating?
* 1.17 What are USFSA, ISI, Skate Canada, NISA, etc?
* 1.17.1 Should I join ISI or USFSA?
1.18 What are MITF?
1.19 Sessions; patch, freestyle, dance, open, public; what are they?
1.20 How do you make an outdoor rink?
1.21 Why does my music sound terrible in the ice rink?
1.22 How do I find a suitable private instructor?
* 1.22.1 What are the guidelines to deal with coaches?
* 188.8.131.52 Should I tip my instructor?
* 184.108.40.206 What are the rules for taking a coach to competitions?
1.23 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 USFSA 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
* 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
+ 220.127.116.11 Axel exercises
+ 6.2.8 Two foot spin
+ 6.2.9 Forward Scratch spin
+ 18.104.22.168 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
* 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
* Test requirements
+ ISI tests: Freestyle and Dance
+ USFSA Adult freestyle test requirements
+ USFSA test dances
+ FFSG freestyle "Club" track test requirements
+ NISA freestyle test requirements
* 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
Discussion of skating skills on both hockey and figure skates are
welcome. The group is aimed specifically at skating from the
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
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 Charles MacDonald.
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 protected] Many people have contributed to this work, far too
numerous to mention. However special thanks go to George Robbins and
Janet Swan-Hill, who have written major portions of this document.