Figure Skating Stroking and Edge Drills – Russian Stroking (Pasquale Camerlengo)

In this figure skating video, World and Olympic coach and choreographer Pasquale Camerlengo teaches an outstanding class for improving skating skills, stroking technique and edge quality.  Pasquale starts with a short discussion of “Russian stroking” or “Russian steps” which are common names for a series of pushes and steps that can be built up in more and more complex combinations.  Since stroking is the first skill a skater does on the “warm-up” before competing, or testing it is essential for skaters to know how to stroke beautifully, and with a purpose.  Pasquale notes that the goal of stroking as part of a warm-up is “not just about going fast. It is to warm up the ankles, quads, legs, and knees.”  In order to accomplish this goal, he tells skaters to “stay as low as possible” and he shows which edge should be used during each step.  Notice the difficulty much of the class has in figuring out these steps without specific and detailed instructions.

Pasquale focuses heavily on having deep edges while skating and shows how to achieve beautiful edge quality in stroking and simple figure skating transitions.  The class performs several different stroking patterns around the ice rink. Some patterns include 3-turns, double 3-turns, mohawks, and crossovers and the patterns get progressively more complex as the class continues. Notice that during the class he has the group of skaters keep skating until he says “stop” to introduce a new pattern, or make a universal correction. This is a great way to allow skaters to work at their own pace.

Many skaters, especially those at lower levels, rarely skate with any real edge pressure.  Their movements across the ice tend to be flat and in relatively shallow lobes.  To help these skaters understand the depth of edge he wants, Pasquale uses a “trick.” While teaching a pattern with a backward inside edge transitioning to a forward outside edge he compares the movement to winding up to enter a forward spin.  This provides a clear referece point for skaters that they can easily relate to in order to achieve strong edges with more knee bend and ankle bend.  Along with focusing on strong edges, in some of the stroking patterns Pasquale discusses a focus on controlling the rotation that 3-turns and mohawks give skaters, and starting rotation in the opposite direction.


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