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Practice Makes Progress – Figure Skating Improvement Guide Part 1

When it comes to taking your figure skating skills to the next level, nothing is more important than practicing. Keep your skills sharp and improve on the fundamentals you can build on in the off-season, and you’ll find yourself taking on more advanced skills ahead of schedule!

Skating instructor Janet and members of FMC Figure Skating Club are helping to show the step-by-step skills you can master. Remember that the more repetitions, the better the muscle memory will be and the less you’ll even have to think about executing those fundamentals as you take on more advanced spins, jumps, and artistic touches!

1. Two-Foot Glides

After you’ve mastered standing up and marching in your skates and have begun to stride, the next skill to focus on is a two-foot glide. The two-foot glide focuses on balancing on the ice on the flats of the blades, maintaining good posture with the arms out and the head up, eyes ahead. After striding a few times for momentum, glide on both feet, legs shoulder-width apart with a microbend at the knee. As you start to feel more comfortable, gain speed and momentum.

Got that down? Try a One-Foot Glide by lifting one foot up off the ice and balancing on one skate as you glide forward. Do that with each foot until you feel comfortable balancing on them both.

Glides Collage

2. Lunges

Once you feel comfortable gliding on one foot, you can work your way toward a lunge. Start by lifting one foot up in back of you as you glide forward, shifting your weight and center of balance into that front foot. The next step is to bend the front knee and allow that back foot to land on the ice, dragging it behind you in a lunge position. You can practice this motion stationary (and even off-ice) to start, and once you try it in motion, keep in mind that only the momentum built before the maneuver will carry you forward. As you gain more control, you’ll want to work on keep your back leg as straight as possible.

Lunge Collage

To start with, you will allow yourself to slow to a stop before getting up out of the position, but as you build strength and balance be able to lift yourself back to standing and continue skating.

3. One Foot Glides (On a Circle)

Once you’ve learned the basics of forward and backward skating and taken on gliding, edgework is the next step in advancing your base of figure skating skills. This is where you’ll start to learn the feel of your edges. Edgework is the most crucial skillset for a figure skater looking to reach higher levels and master more complex jumps and spins. A one-foot glide on a circle is a great way to start to feel and balance on both the inside and outside edges of your skates.

Start by striding and gliding with that one foot raised around a face-off circle. In order to turn to stay on (or near) the circle, you’ll shift your weight onto the inside edge of your skate (as pictured below). As you lose momentum, pump with your other skates inside edge to keep going.

One Foot Glides on Circle Collage
When you change direction, you’ll now be working to balance on your skate’s outside edge, while again using your other skate’s inside edge to keep going around the circle. Keep your arms up and your eyes on where you’re going. Feel confident with that? Try it backwards!

Becoming confident with these edges and putting your weight into them will lead to you being able to work on crossovers, three-turns, waltz jumps and so much more! Focusing on mastering your edges when you’re practicing individually will never be wasted time. In fact, your edges are the most important fundamental to develop when you’re looking toward more complex moves.


Keep an eye out for more skills you can work on to take your skating to the next level!

Click HERE for our Hockey Skating Improvement Guide – Part 1.