Waltz Eight: Pre-Preliminary Moves Pattern (Karen Olson)

Moves in the field expert Karen Olson discusses and demonstrates key issues for the Waltz Eight pattern of the US Figure Skating Pre-Preliminary Moves in the Field test. For simplicity and as a way to set reasonable circle sizes for young skaters, Karen likes to start the pattern on one of the hockey dots. The edges of the pattern circles then match up closely with the edge of the hockey circle. Taller (i.e. teen and adult) skaters may need bigger circles.

Next, Karen notes that the pattern needs to be done to “waltz timing” and she skates the pattern while counting to show where each turn or transition occurs. She explains that the timing is one of the most challenging aspects of this pattern for most skaters, so she doesn’t start by focusing there. Instead she starts “with the general idea of the steps” and focuses on the necessary edges and body lean. She demonstrates the desired body lean, and notes how this is difficult for nearly all skaters at this level. A good visualization for skaters could be thinking of leaning into the circle on a traffic cone or gigantic upside down ice cream cone while skating around the circle.

One challenging spot is the back outside edge after the three turn and step. Karen recommends isolating this outside edge to learn to control it, without the three turn and step down. This includes the switching of the arms and legs and head as well. Another major challenge is the exit of the back outside mohawk (or step forward to outside edge) as most skaters will step outside the circle rather than on the circle. Karen likens this step to the step forward on an axel take-off, so it’s a valuable and important skating skill to master. It helps to take a marker and draw the circle on the ice so skaters can clearly see where they are stepping. Karen also suggests having skaters glide backward in a straight line and turn and step forward down the same line as a way to master this transition (or on a large circle, such as one of the hockey circles).

Finally, Karen explains that getting the correct speed is important for this pattern. In particular, she warns against going too fast. The focus is not speed, but body control and edge accuracy.


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