Figure Skating Footwork – The Choctaw Part 3 (Amy Brolsma)

In this figure skating video, Amy Brolsma continues her explanation of choctaws.  In Part 1, she introduced an exercise at the wall and then showed how she works with a skater to develop the step away from the wall.  In Part 2, she shared a simple standstill drill and suggested using a hockey stick.  In this video, Amy works on the forward inside to back outside choctaw and begins building the series of repeated choctaws.  This is a fantastic video because it shows Amy teaching a skater and addressing common errors are they occur.

For the forward inside choctaw, Amy has the skater exit into a back outside pivot.  She explains why and how to improve the position and not enter the pivot too soon.  The pivot helps the skater develop a deeper edge and a sense of continuing the exit edge indefinitely.  Amy explains the use of the arms and shoulders.  This is the most difficult concept for skaters to get, and the vast majority of skaters learning choctaws simply do not have enough shoulder movement and many have trouble with the shoulder timing.  The shoulders must move BEFORE the step.  Amy says, “The arms are there (final position) before that foot steps down.  Very very important.”

After the step, Amy wants the skater pulling back on the free leg into the circle with the free hip pulled back as well.  Adding the hockey stick highlights problems with shoulder and arm usage and timing.  Amy recommends drawing the pattern out with a marker and illustrating body lean throughout.  Almost in passing, Amy offers this golden advice:  “When you’re doing your back outside edge, we want to make sure the skating side is tall.  We want that free side to be lower.  That will help facilitate the curve.”

Next, Amy puts together the back outside choctaw and the forward inside choctaw into the repeating choctaw sequence.  Notice the hands-on teaching methods and the shallow lobes to start learning this.  Amy offers another important tip.  “You have the blue line as your focus.  Have them feel like they’re always going toward that blue line.”  In other words, the body lean is always toward the blue line.  Amy also wants table-top arms rather than window-washing arms.  Another tip is to have the skater try to “step over the blue line.”  This creates a wider step and eventually adds edge quality and power.  Just prior to end of the video, Amy notes that the next step is to add knee bend and knee rhythm.


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