Backward Loop Pattern – USFS Junior Moves (Karen Olson)

Moves in the field expert Karen Olson offers tips, advice, and exercises to help skaters and coaches master the Backward Loop Pattern from the USFS Junior Moves in the Field test.  At the beginning of the video, Karen notes that doing loops in isolation is a bit different than doing them as part of a pattern like this.  Thanks to the edge change after the loop, it’s necessary to continue to “twist longer through the loop” and use the “reverse out” to initiate the change of edge.  Karen recommends teaching standard loops first, then adding the change of edge later.

One of the most common problems when learning this pattern is many skaters lack alignment after the loop which means they simply cannot create the change of edge.  Karen addresses this by having skaters practice the change of edge down a line without a loop so they can have a better sense of what good alignment feels like.  Next, Karen adds loops to the exercise, but without the cross strokes in the pattern, to help the skater develop a rhythm.  The exercise is: push to back outside edge, change edge, back inside loop, change edge to back outside edge, and repeat on other foot.  To ensure control Karen does this same exercise and has the skater hold the final outside edge for a full circle.  (The demonstrating skater in the video doesn’t do it exactly as Karen wants, as the pattern should simply go back and forth on the blue line.)

To determine if a skater is ready for the Junior moves test, Karen has the skater do their loops alternating across the ice.  This exercise simply repeats back inside loops and back outside loops.  Karen offers tips to help the flow and freedom of the movement.  It’s good advice not to rush the exercise, as that makes it harder.  Letting the edges run will make it easier.


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