Friday, May 16, 2014

The Waltz 'S'

No, the 'S' in the title is not a typo. That's the shape of my Waltz 8's.

Are you not familiar with this particular type of torture skating skill? I think it's still on the pre-Bronze adut test. It consists of a FO3, back stroke, back mohawk (turn forward), forward edge back to the center. Then repeat on the other foot.
source with details

I took a stab at doing these on public today. They're perfectly respectable, a little small, but there's no 'return to center'. Instead they look like an enormous 'S' because I do them on open ice without  using a point painted on the ice to act as the center mark.

Not using the hockey dots as centers  for Waltz 8's is hard core skating. It's how real skaters developed serious skills back when figures were still central to skating.  When I use the lines  or the dots to set up skills, it's using a crutch.  I like to do Waltz 8s both using the hockey dots and without. No one says you have to use them and I think for myself it's a good idea to get away from them as my skills develop. Sometimes things go wonky, like today's Waltz 8. 

Also, when I'm not using the lines or the dots, I get an opportunity to just focus on my skating. When I used the makings, I'm over focused on getting back to the line or the dot.  Doing skills on plain ice is liberating. It's just me and the ice, an opportunity for enjoyment, rather than testing.


  1. I remember these well. They used to be one of the first three figures learned, the other two being the Forward outside 8 and forward inside 8. The latter two repeat themselves on the 1st test, but the waltz 8 was a preliminary figures special. You are right that this is hard core skating- to test these we had to do them on clean ice, three times on each foot. The goal was to have the three tracings be right on top of each other = perfect consistency. For the preliminary test though, the standards were fairly relaxed. The waltz 8 in particular would be difficult to trace perfectly. We did have our crutch though- the scribe, but this was before they had the marker option- it would just scratch a light line on the ice to follow. But you had to learn to do the perfect 8 shape without it- no scribes on test or competition! Figures were awesome, and a great way to learn some of the basic skills- edge control, speed control/maintenance, 3's, brackets just to name a few. Most people found them boring, but I found them meditative. Wish more rinks had ice time for them!

  2. As a child, I did not enjoy figures but they served a very good purpose in helping to develop excellent control and strength. Now that I am coaching, I try to have my skaters practice what I call "fun figures" as often as I can. "Fun Figures" are the figures that everyone used to test and master but with relaxed standards, we try not to wobble, have circles of an appropriate size, turns/pushes placed in the general area. I do not expect perfect tracings. During the summers, we do an entire session of figures 1 day a would think the kids would try to skip "Fun Figures Friday" but they actually like them. I actually hear more complaints about the standard moves patterns.

    When I do have an open session (no lessons scheduled), I practice figures but I am far more strict on what I will accept from my tracings before I go on the the next figure. I always start at 1st test and move up from there. I will lay them out on clean ice (no marks, lines, dots, etc) and since I no longer have a scribe I will evaluate by pacing out my circles and then will use a marker of some kind (a cone, hockey puck, etc) to make sure that my circles line up and the turns are placed accurately.