Backward Crossovers (Amy Brolsma)

Figure skating coach Amy Brolsma explains and demonstrates how she teaches backward crossovers which are also known as backward crosscuts depending on where you live in the world.  This video is a continuation of Amy’s presentation on forward crossovers.

Amy begins by explaining that backward crossovers are a backward pump followed by a cross under push.  She begins with pumping on a circle, teaching proper shoulder position and proper power generation from the pumps.  The pumping leg ends up straight and the pumping foot ends up offset from the non-pumping foot.  Amy uses repeated pumps to build this skill.

After mastering the pumps, Amy has the skater bring the feet back to her “train position” where the pumping foot ends up right in front of the non-pumping foot.  She pauses there and has the skater place all the weight on the non-pumping foot.  Again, she does repeated pumping into the train position with the weight shift.

Next she begins the development of the cross under or the undercut push.  In the beginning this push typically generates little if any power and has virtually no extension.  But as the skater becomes comfortable with it, the push and extension naturally become stronger.  Amy wants the push to come from the ball of the foot, but  many top coaches disagree and want the weight in the middle of the blade for maximum power generation (see this presentation by Chris Conte).

Amy places a lot of emphasis on proper balance and body alignment and lean into the circle.  She talks about the shoulder position, including opening the back shoulder by keeping the thumb up.  She also talks about the “sound” of good power generation (crunching sound of the blade on the ice).

To help skaters master the undercut push, Amy has them simply repeat the undercut stroke without the pump.  She also has skaters practice a two foot glide in the full undercut position.  To prepare for the next pump, she has the skaters bring the feet together into a preparation position.

A very common error with back crossovers is skaters not looking where they’re going.  Another common error is bouncing up and down too much.  As the skill improves, most skaters develop a natural “lilt” up and down that is still pleasing to watch and generates good power.  But in the beginning, Amy recommends keeping the upper body as still as possible.


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