Improving Beginner Crossovers (Audrey Weisiger)

World and Olympic coach Audrey Weisiger continues her lesson with a young (about 8 years old) male skater. The first part of this lesson focused mostly on the backspin, and this part focuses on forward and backward crossovers. Skaters at this level typically struggle with keeping the head up and looking where they are going, especially on back crossovers. One valuable tip Audrey offers is keeping the trailing arm still in back crossovers as this arm is typically outside the range of vision and it often bounces around and flops outside the circle. Simply focusing on keeping it still can be very helpful.

Audrey has this skater do an effective exercise that alternates between forward and backward crossovers. The exercise is a forward crossover followed by a mohawk and then a backward crossover to a step forward (inside the circle). This sequence can be repeated over and over. The benefits of this drill are many, including keeping the skater looking in the right direction (at the lead hand) and keeping the arms and shoulders turned into the circle throughout. It also helps the skater establish rotational control during the crossovers as well as the changes of direction.

Another drill Audrey shares for keeping the eyes up is playing catch with a glove or stuffed toy. The skater continues to perform crossovers on a circle, but is visually engaged by the object, thus separating the physical movement of crossovers from the perceived need to look down. This kind of exercise can be nearly impossible (and dangerous) on a crowded session, but most skaters will enjoy the challenge and not even realize they are working on an important skill because the “game” is fun.

Additional drills include pumping on a circle, as well as knee bending drills near the wall. The pumping drills can start with both feet remaining on the ice but should progress to one foot pushes with proper arm and head control.


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