You're right...spread eagle & Ina Bauer aren't required elements for tests, certainly not now.
But "open hip" type flexibility, being able to stand in a relaxed second position, open, with hips and shoulders squared and no strain upon the knees, that certainly does help when doing essential moves like
Pivots (which I see again in basic skills tests)
leaning or layback spins
even the gliding edge, step into a waltz jump or axel
The pivot and spread eagle make cool transition moves, in step sequences, into and out of jumps - I love seeing skaters do them now, at all levels in competition.
It's not that the moves above *can't* be done without 180 flexibility.
But the quicker a skater can step into and out of that position, the quicker those steps go.
Thinking of the most beautiful, highest Axel jumpers
Midori Ito, Yukari Nakano, Tonya Harding, Holly Cook
They didn't necessarily have 180 degree spread eagles, shown off in their programs, from what I remember...they were hardly the image of baby ballerina skaters. But Harding and Ito did very pretty Ina Bauers, often into difficult jumps.
And all had that marvelous, sweeping, FAST gliding arc going into their double axel (or triple) axel, and a flying fast edge coming out.
Yes, exactly. To keep your feet from spreading farther than shoulder width apart, you'll have to really feel like you're pulling not only your heels together, but the insides of your upper thighs together. I'd also like to add two words of caution (from experience, LOL!) before you try your spread eagle from back crossovers:
Originally Posted by i love to skate
(1) Make sure you stretch to open your hips first (I do the plie exercise against the boards). Otherwise, your leading foot may not open out enough when you place it down forward and you can catch and edge. It can be rather unnerving.
(2) Assuming a clockwise (right foot front) spread eagle, really hold that left back outside edge as you finish your crossovers. Look over your leading (right) shoulder and open out your right arm and right foot to face the direction of travel before placing that right foot down. Rushing your step forward and failing to "aim" your foot properly before stepping can also result in catching your blade.
From what I hear from closed-hipped friends, one of the toughest moves is an outside-to-outside mohawk, like the LFO-RBO and RFO-LBO mohawks on the 8-step mohawk pattern. The less open your hips, the more you need to work your lean and your shoulder positions.
Originally Posted by viennese
But I have seen lots of amazing full-split spirals and great camel and layback spins from girls with extremely closed hips, so I'm not sure those are such an issue. In fact, one teenage girl I know who fits that description has such closed hips that she can do a pigeon-toed spread eagle (toe-to-toe, 180 degrees!). Also, both of my coaches have always had closed hips (neither has ever managed to do an outside spread eagle or ina bauer) but were Olympic skaters with great double axels. If anything, I have had to be careful not to turn my foot out as I step out from my RBO edge to my LFO axel takeoff edge. Closed hips would make it easier to push straight out of the circle rather than onto the same circle (a big no-no).
Last edited by vlaurend; 01-04-2010 at 06:52 PM.
Hmmm yeah open hips may help the backward pivot, and I can definitely see outside-outside mohawk being a obstacle to closed-hipped skater! (I probably had it on the first or second try, after mastering the inside mohawks) Spirals and laybacks are more about with flexibility with some different "axes"?
Thank you so much vlaurend for the entrance tips, especially (2). Going from a backward crossover is much harder than it looks (just as everything in skating, the pros make it seem like a piece of cake LOL). Luckily I did not catch an edge, but was very unstable and unable to keep both feet on the same curve. It was more like a bad cross of eagle and bauer, lots more of practice are in order!
you are right, the mohawk sequence may be the hardest of all to learn to control.
my coach - i mean my adult coach - learned of this conversation and said, lack of flexibility or not, you can use core strength and edge quality to achieve these movies. Nobody expects ballet quality turnout or "pretty feet"
With my childhood coach, it may also have been a matter of guiding me toward sports that I'd have success at...I'm sure a more dedicated or single minded 10 or eleven year old would have said, hell no, I'm going to skate no matter what.