So, I took a basic forwards figure 8 class. Outside forward 8 and inside forward 8. The coach who is a judge at the World Figure Championship taught an introductory lesson.
Now once I'm on an edge I'm...not awful...but my pushoff is a thing of horror. I pretty much have to take an introductory stroke, then do the pushoff into the figure, only then can I gather my legs and start my real glide.
NOT ANY MORE! I'm nailing that sucka!
Like previous coaches, this coach tells me to put my feet in a T-position. When you do this for figures your weight should be centered between the front and the back boot. In other words, one foot should not be carrying more weight than the other. You will also need to be in a strong position facing out of the circle. (Note, I had already developed that, but that's another story).
Now put the back foot very slightly on an inside edge. Then raise the toe of the front boot (which will become the active foot). To push off, you'll do a deep knee-bend with direct push from the back foot (which is slightly on an inside edge remember) into the front foot which is now conveniently on the exact right place on the blade for maximum glide!
Nobody ever told me about raising the toe of my front boot before. The blade doesn't go off the ice at all, but raising the toe of the boot 'rolls' you back on the back-mid to the back of the blade where the best glide of the skate is found.
It took me about half a dozen tries to get it where I could do a decent push-off without flailing, and could gather my legs and feet into skating position within the first few feet. But it was so nice to finally be able to get some decent power out of a single push.
I'm not going to write about the part of the figure after the push, or we'd be here all night.
Of course, a half hour later I fell backwards trying to learn the push off into back 8s, so the day had its exciting moments too.
And here's the history of compulsory figures by floskate.