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Thread: Do you think compulsory figures made a difference in our skaters? How so?

  1. #1
    Rinkside
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    Question Do you think compulsory figures made a difference in our skaters? How so?

    I think figures were an excellent tool in our sport not to say that moves are not good and very relevant to the evolution of our sport.However, I can tell when I see Dorothy Hamill(a great example) even though she`s not doing triples her edges are so solid. Look at that delayed axel !!!! I would never want to go back to the days of 60/40 judging but what are your thoughts did it make a difference? They do call it FIGURE skating.

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    ICEFAIRY1449 - I too miss the skating qualities most skaters had when there were still figures. They seemed to have much better command of their edges and though there were e.g. no quads shown that time (except Browning), those jumps the skaters did IMO had a much better quality. For example I can't remember flutzing or liping being such a problem like it is nowadays.

  3. #3
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    I agree as well. It took me a while during the mid-90s to figure out why so many of the up-and-comings looked so clunky, then I started to realize it was due to lack of edging. I do feel, though, that in the last several years edge quality has gotten better, tho certainly not back up to pre-80s standards.

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    I've recentrly read an interview with Urmanov, where he talks of how much is lost because there are no compulsory figure. According to him, the "really talented" skaters don't really need them, and will have good technique regardless. However, he believes that many skaters get to the top more due to very hard work than to natural talent. For those skaters, he believes, not doing figures is a real disservice.

  5. #5
    Medalist
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    Do any skaters still practice figures when they are learning to skate or is it a lost art?

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Gipson:

    As far as I know figures are still taught here in Canada. Of course, the emphasis is on learning the jumps and spins, but figures do play a part.

    I think the biggest part of figures were not only did a skater learn quality edge control, but discipline. Yes, today the skaters still do work on their edges but figures really made a skater concentrate on each edge backwards and forwards so when it came to doing basic skating everything was automatic. Edges especially are important in ice dance. Skaters must learn to really "get into their knees" and do deep edges. When tracing figures this is also really important.

    I also think skaters today don't get enough emphasis on stroking - just basic skating around the rink. They should be able to cover the rink with little effort. If you ever get the chance again to watch Elvis skate you will see what I mean. Elvis can cover the rink with just a few strokes and he is quick.

    Yes, figures had their place in figure skating (almost a misnomer now) ! I feel figures should still be taught especially at the early levels just to make skaters concentrate and learn the difference in their edges.

  7. #7
    Rinkside
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    In our area, it is almost impossible to get patch time (that is what they called the ice time for practicing figures)
    My daughter did figures, she only had passed the Pre and First test when they changed the rules to eliminate figures. She was very happy to quit figures, as they were so hard to master.

    Back in 1992, in an interview on ESPN, Boitano stated that the real effect of figures would not be seen in edge control or stroking, but it would be seen in injuries. When he was in competition, he skated 5 hours a day, but 4 of those were practicing figures. Todays skaters probably are still on the ice 4 hours a day, but all of those hours are practicing jumps and spins.

    Boitano predicted there would be a lot of careers cut short, and a lot more injuries without figures, because skaters would move up the ranks more quickly (it usually took a year to pass one of the figure tests and there were 8 to pass to get to the senior ranks) and spending more time practicing freestyle.

    Of course, there is quite a difference in todays skaters: the speed, quality of jump landings and edge control were all so much better in skaters that did figures, but--Lipinski, Hughes, Yagudin: maybe that is the real effect of the lack of figures.

  8. #8
    sparkling Tove's Avatar
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    I last discussed this with my friends during europeans, as it's nothing better than a skater with really, really beautiful basic, like Sasha Abt....and after watching endless practices in Budapest, you can tell only by the warms ups who's covering the ice, and who is scratchy and that's when we started to talk about taking figures back, in some way, since I thought this might get better stroking and deeper edges, and all the things I love....

  9. #9
    Skating Soprano
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    I was having some edging troubles, and problems with cheating my Salchow (that jump needs to die). I decided to try a few figures on public session. It fixed the problem almost instantly.

  10. #10
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    I think this has been discussed before, but how does the USFSA Moves program compare to the figures?

  11. #11
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    My biggest problem with the "figures are necessary for skaters to have great edging" is ice dancing. Ice dancers generally have better edging than any other discipline, yet ice dancing has never involved figures, neither in competition nor training.

    Also, others who speak the languages can correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not called "figure skating" all over the world. In certain European languagues, the English equivalent is "artistic skating."

    However, for the individual skater--and it seems people tend to focus on ladies singles whenever this topic comes up--I believe that whether or not practicing figures helps edge quality depends on both the individual skater and the coach. Some skaters with some coaches can get edge quality galore by having edging emphasized at every point in the training process, and especially in the actual moves they use in their programs. These individuals respond to specific training. Other skaters need separate time to practice figures in order to correct certain problems, as SkatePixie described. This may either be because these skaters need to break things down before they can incorporate them into more complex skating moves or because the coach does not emphasize edging during the rest of the training process.

    Overall, I don't think that the lack of practicing figures has resulted in a generation of clunky skaters. There have been plenty of clunky skaters as long as the sport has been around. But prior to the triple jump era, at least for ladies, edging and flow was a big deal because the judges made it a big deal. Now the most dangerous and high risk element is the triple jump, hence that's what the judges place the most importance on. Young skaters such as Carolina Kostner. to name just one, have superb edge quality.

    Also, I don't think it's appropriate to compare skaters from the doubles era, such as Dorothy Hamill, to today's skaters who have to work toward seven-triple programs and 3/3s. Trying to perfect triple jumps takes time and energy. Skaters from the doubles era had more time to work on edging and they knew they would be rewarded for doing it well. Not so today. Doing figures may help some skaters with their triple jumps; for others it may do nothing.

    However, where I think it is appropriate to compare is that short period of time when for ladies, five and six triple programs were the rule and Olympic programs generally had one 3/3 AND the skaters had been trained in and/or had competed in figures. Depending on the skater, that period is mostly limited to the early '90s.
    Rgirl
    Last edited by Rgirl; 02-24-2004 at 06:20 AM.

  12. #12
    Custom Title IDLERACER's Avatar
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    School figures might've been good for the skaters, but they sure were hell on the audience. If my memories of seeing the '72 and '76 olympics on TV serve me correct, I find watching paint dry to be just about as entertaining.

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