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Thread: Spread eagle tips?

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    Question Spread eagle tips?

    I started working on outside eagles a few month ago, and never achieved good speed / ice coverage. Somehow it always closes in to a small, edgy circle. Any attempts to make a larger curve will slow it down even further. I currently enter from forward stroking. Never had a stable inside spread eagle as the circle is even smaller, fine on a straight line though. Any tips on drills, entrance, position...? Thank you so much in advance and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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    Rink Rat i love to skate's Avatar
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    Place your feet in the spread eagle position against the boards and push towards the boards and lean back from the boards. This exercise helps establish the feeling of the position. Try entering into your spread eagle from backwards stroking as I find this is an easier entrance. Good Luck!

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    What helped me get my spread eagle was holding onto the boards, turning my leading foot out, then pointing and turning out my other foot and bringing it heel first into the instep of my leading foot. That made the trailing foot slide right into position on an outside edge. Then I tried it on the open ice while moving.

    A few other tips: If you are going into the spread eagle by skating forward (which is also how I first did it), take a few strokes, then push out at a 90 degree angle onto your turned out leading foot. Look over your leading shoulder and really solidify that deep outside edge (on a bent leg) before straightening the free leg, turning out the foot and bringing the heel in right to the instep of the leading foot (straighten the leading leg as you turn out and straighten the trailing leg). Keep looking over your leading shoulder and try to push your hips forward.

    Caution: You should not do spread eagles if you don't have naturally open hips. This is a matter of joint structure, not just lack of flexibility, and no amount of stretching will give you "turnout" if your hips aren't built that way. What will happen if you push it is that you will damage your knees. To test the openness of your hips, stand right up against the boards with your pelvis facing the boards, your knees bent and your feet turned out at 180 degrees. Keeping your knees bent, push your pelvis forward against the boards and gradually try to straighten your knees (this is the same exercise "I love to skate" recommends above). If you can straighten your legs with your pelvis pushed up against the boards and your knees facing the same direction as your toes, you have open hips. If not, do some butterfly stretches for a few months and if you still can't do it, leave the spread eagle alone.
    Last edited by vlaurend; 01-01-2010 at 10:59 PM.

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    Thank you so much for the tips! My hips are likely open because I do get full circles on outside eagle, but somehow cannot increase the diameter without losing speed completely.
    Will definitely try looking over the leading shoulder and entering from backward stroking, thank you again vlaurend and i love to skate

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post
    Thank you so much for the tips! My hips are likely open because I do get full circles on outside eagle, but somehow cannot increase the diameter without losing speed completely.
    Will definitely try looking over the leading shoulder and entering from backward stroking, thank you again vlaurend and i love to skate
    Are you saying you can do an outside spread eagle on a deep outside edge (rounder curve/smaller diameter circle) but cannot do an outside spread eagle on a shallower outside edge (flatter curve/larger circle)? That is an unusual problem! To make your circle bigger/flatter, you will need to build up more speed before going into it, since you don't have the deepening edge to keep your momentum up once you are in the spread eagle. Do some crossovers to build speed, then aim your spread eagle at a corner and think of making a flat diagonal line and staying aligned right on top of your blades rather than on the outside of the blades.
    A good exercise for controlling the depth of your spread eagle is to start on an outside spread eagle, then go onto an inside and back onto an outside. It's all an exercise in getting over your blades.
    Last edited by vlaurend; 01-02-2010 at 01:20 PM.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    You have to think of the number 17 in order to do a really good Spread Eagle.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vlaurend View Post

    Caution: You should not do spread eagles if you don't have naturally open hips. This is a matter of joint structure, not just lack of flexibility, and no amount of stretching will give you "turnout" if your hips aren't built that way. What will happen if you push it is that you will damage your knees.
    Very interesting. I guess that is what killed my knees then. I alwasy wanted a nice spread eagle and did a lot of ballet where I would put a lot of stress into getting a really good second, fouth and fifth position. I achived this (although never the good spread eagle) but now my knees feel like they are 80 years old

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    Thank you vlaurend for your generous help! Sorry for not describing the problem better, yes I tend to go into a very deep outside edge and make circles about half size of the center circle. By forcing myself to go on a shallower edge, I can probably trace only quarter of the center circle extremely slowly.
    You are right I should *think* starting with a flat to make flatter curve and work more on edge depth control. How does entrance from backward crossovers work? Also what is the optimal distance between heels? I am afraid my skates are too far away from each other (> shoulder width).
    THANK YOU AGAIN!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    You have to think of the number 17 in order to do a really good Spread Eagle.
    Thank you but would you please elaborate a little bit?
    Last edited by jjane45; 01-02-2010 at 06:56 PM.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Velma Kelly would probably explain it a little better than me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post
    How does entrance from backward crossovers work? Also what is the optimal distance between heels? I am afraid my skates are too far away from each other (> shoulder width).
    THANK YOU AGAIN!!
    To enter from backwards crossovers: If for example you are doing a spread eagle in the clockwise direction you would do backward crossovers, place your weight on your left foot, lift your right foot off the ice, bring it around until you place it forwards on the ice while your left leg continues to go backwards. Does that make sense?

    Shoulder width is a good distance for your legs to be apart!

    Here is a collection of some spread eagles and ina bauers. The spread eagles are entered from backwards crossovers so you can see my explanation in action!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBeW488t4io

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    You have to think of the number 17 in order to do a really good Spread Eagle.
    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post


    Thank you but would you please elaborate a little bit?
    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    Velma Kelly would probably explain it a little better than me.
    I think Blades of Passion had something like this in mind!
    See 5:13
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf7KXsfdLsU
    :chorus::chorus:

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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    To enter from backwards crossovers: If for example you are doing a spread eagle in the clockwise direction you would do backward crossovers, place your weight on your left foot, lift your right foot off the ice, bring it around until you place it forwards on the ice while your left leg continues to go backwards. Does that make sense?

    Shoulder width is a good distance for your legs to be apart!

    Here is a collection of some spread eagles and ina bauers. The spread eagles are entered from backwards crossovers so you can see my explanation in action!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBeW488t4io
    Thank you so much i love to skate! Makes perfect sense now, the Youtube collection also helps a ton. WOW at the speed of Brian Boitano...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    I think Blades of Passion had something like this in mind!
    See 5:13
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf7KXsfdLsU
    :chorus::chorus:
    Now I know what I missed
    Cough cough the "17" looks more ina bauer to me...
    Last edited by jjane45; 01-03-2010 at 02:39 AM.

  13. #13
    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post

    Here is a collection of some spread eagles and ina bauers. The spread eagles are entered from backwards crossovers so you can see my explanation in action!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBeW488t4io
    That was so cool! It is beyond me why Caroline, Mirai and Rahcela don't use the ina bauer more in their programs. They all have beautiful positions.

  14. #14
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    Spread eagle and Ina Bauer are the devil, aren't they?

    They're pretty much the reason I quit - got nudged - out of figure skating - and onto other more suitable sports for me.

    After doing fine at LTS/lower test figures and free skate tests, my club had a screening with some visiting coaches.

    I remember being about 10 or 11 years old, and being lifted up into the air (skates off) by my coach and a ballet teacher, and asked to make "froggy legs" position in the air - putting the soles of my feet together and opening the knees outward, to test how open our hips were. And standing in open 2nd position with good posture.


    They were smart enough trainers to see that I wasn't likely to gain enough flexiblity without injury for certain moves.

    I've started skating again after years of Pilates and other sports and I *still* don't do well at pivots and inside-spread eagles. More like 115 degree spread eagles

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    Quote Originally Posted by viennese View Post
    Spread eagle and Ina Bauer are the devil, aren't they?... After doing fine at LTS/lower test figures and free skate tests, my club had a screening with some visiting coaches.
    Yes they are evil... %@#%#@% On the other hand, IIRC spread eagle / ina bauer are not required for testing / competition. I am curious if open hips are crucial for any mandatory elements?

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