Exercises to Build Skating Skills – Part 4 (Denise Myers)

World and Olympic coach Denise Myers continues her multi-part series sharing a variety of exercises and drills intended to improve overall skating skills. These exercises would be excellent as part of an on-ice warm-up or at the end of a session or training day. The ultimate goal is to build skills that translate into improved transitions in programs, as well as build skills and physical strength to improve jumping and spinning. Denise says, “From little on I start these kids with these exercises.” In this video, Denise shares spread eagle and Ina Bauer exercises as well as a short direction change sequence.

See all videos in this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The first exercise in this video is “alternating spread eagles” and Denise explains this is important to start early with young skaters. The skater initially demonstrating has not done this exercise for very long, but the demonstration by a different skater later in the video is outstanding. The exercise is just a backward pushback onto a back outside edge with the “lead” foot then stepping down on a forward outside edge to create the spread eagle for one lobe. The skater then picks up the “front” foot and sets it down backwards on a back outside edge and pushes off to repeat spread eagle lobes down the ice. Notice the focus on turning the head and getting a good push into each spread eagle.

The second exercise shown in this video is “alternating Ina Bauers” that travel diagonally down the ice. Denise again focuses on keeping the head up and has the skater “look at the flag” at the end of the rink. Each Bauer is entered from the back inside edge of the trailing foot and the skater again transitions to the next Bauer by initially picking up the lead foot, crossing it over and setting it down on the back inside edge of the new lobe.

The third exercise is something Denise calls the “flip flop flip flop pull push” and it consists of flip flops (also called rolling mohawks or Scotty Hamiltons), an edge pull, and an undercut push. Denise says, “I would use this exercise as maybe a change of direction in a step sequence. We’ve used this going into triple salchows and flips.”  The speed comes from the edge pull followed immediately by the undercut push. Really advanced skaters can also generate some speed and power from the flip-flops themselves. Denise then has the skater do this exercise with double salchows down the ice.

To end this video, Denise notes that her skaters are supposed to work on these exercises by themselves (not in lesson) but she has to return to them when her skaters neglect them for too long. She also notes, “They like to practice what they’re good at.” In terms of total time, Denise is looking for just three minutes a day on spread eagle practice, for example. She notes that one of her skaters started working on spread eagles at age seven and she has the skater demonstrate the pattern she has now clearly mastered. This skater also demonstrates alternating inside and outside spread eagles down the ice to end the video.

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