Backward Rocker Choctaw Sequence: Novice Moves (Karen Olson)

Moves in the field and skating skills expert Karen Olson offers insights and tips for the Backward Rocker Choctaw Sequence pattern from the USFS Novice Moves in the Field test. She begins acknowledging that many skaters struggle on this move with flow and speed. She recommends simply repeatedly practicing the undercut push to the back inside edge. Karen says, “The push comes from bending in your ankle, pressing into the ice, and pressing off the [outside] edge.” In the video, Karen mistakenly says pushing off the inside edge but she meant the outside edge.

Next, Karen discusses the rocker choctaw itself, where the rocker starts on a backward inside edge and exits on a forward inside edge. The forward inside edge exit provides a strong position and pressure into the ice to push into the choctaw. Skaters that do three-turns instead of real rockers will likely have flow and power problems because they can’t get a good push from the three-turn exit position. So it pays to work on the rocker itself, and Karen explains how she teaches it. She also recommends working on just the choctaw by starting on a forward inside edge and working on the push. Proper arm timing is necessary for this sequence of turns and steps.

Karen cautions against swinging the free leg to try to gain speed. Done correctly, no leg swing is necessary. Karen also notes that some coaches are not teaching the move correctly as described in the rule book. See her explanation and do it by the book to avoid any testing issues.

Extension is one of the focus points for this move. Karen explains what that means and how to get extension. She likes the free foot at knee height when the free leg is extended in front after the choctaw. To accomplish this position “you have to be comfortable leaning back” and being twisted outside the circle. Karen also talks about the transition from one lobe to the next, offering insights about free leg movement and foot placement as well as knee action.


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