[QUOTE=soogar]I strongly disagree with this. Surya Bonaly trained under figures and competed with figures and she never attained proper carriage. I'm not saying that figures are useless, but skating with speed, proper carriage and extension aren't developed with figures. Figures train balance, edges and precision (tracing) and figures are done *slower* than freestyle. I'm not going to say that figures doesn't help, but I think that to force skaters to do them to perfection (like in the past) would be a serious step backward for skating. First of all, ice time is expensive. To master figures, you have to practice them at least 3 hours a day. Skating is exclusive enough without adding that cost. Second ever since figures were dropped, more countries have been participating in worlds and the GP. I think it's because the costs and ice time have significantly been lowered since dropping figures making the sport more accessible. /QUOTE]
How can you use Surya Bonaly as an example of a figure skater who did not benefit from training with school figures? Give me a break. This woman never learned proper technique, period, and her basic skating skills were terrible.
I did NOT advocate requiring figure skaters to go through endless years of school figure training. Please. I certainly realize that it's not practical, at this point, to re-introduce all of the figure eights, the various tests, etc., that used to be the norm for competitive singles skaters. What I would like to see is for some sort of school figure training to be incorporated in the young skater's practices. No tests - just learn how to trace simple figure eights, etc. And also emphasis good carriage, posture, etc. I strongly feel that the figures enabled the skaters of earlier days to skate with better form, but I would never recommnd that they return to the days of old and spend endless hours in the pre-dawn skating patches. :sheesh: