In Xtreme Ice Skating, there are 10 fundamental principles of balance that are applied to nearly every movement in the sport. If you wish to create a new trick, or are curious about guidelines to your new trick, than check out the following principles and you’ll have an idea as to how the guidelines for your new trick should be:
1. Keeping your head up:
In almost every movement, you must keep your head looking up: your head is facing the horizon line. Your body will always follow the direction of your head. For example: acrobats do all kinds of amazing flips in the air. Acrobats maintain control by directing their head in the direction to which they want to move. Where their head goes, their body follows.
2. Keeping your eyes on the horizon or direction of movement:
The direction or point to which you want to travel will be determined by your focal point (your eyes). As stated in the prior principle, your head will always lead and your body will follow. If your head is facing the horizon during a jump while looking downward, the direction of your jump will most likely tilt downward even though your head remained straight.
3. Keeping your shoulders and hips in-check:
Your hips and shoulders should always act as either one unit working in unisons or two parts working to compliment each other. For instance, if you’re doing the Apolo’s Turn, than your hips and shoulders should be together, not rotated. If doing a switch turn (a move where your rotate your body forward and backward), your hips should work together in opposite of your shoulders. This is done by using your abdominal muscles to rotate your hips all while using your back muscles to rotate your shoulders. It’s very important that proper muscle groups are used when controlling precise movement. Swinging of any kind without proper use of muscles will lead to uncontrolled balance, particularly in jumps.
4. Lower back is arched inward:
For almost every movement in Xtreme Ice Skating, your lower back must be arched inwards. This keeps your posture more erect rather than slouched over. A slouched posture with a lower back that is arched outward will hinder balance (unless it is purposeful). This is not to say that one mustn’t lean over. There are many movements where one leans over. However, the difference in leaning over is how your lower back is arched. If your lower back is arched outward, your balance will be compromised. If your back is arched inward, your balance will be more centered of your core (your waist).
5. Chest is pushed out on certain movements:
Your chest is pushed outward on most stops and jumps. For footwork, your chest is not applied as strictly. With your chest pushed outward, it re-centers your center of balance over your hips and makes it easier to do certain movements.
6. Posture is facing upward rather than bent over:
Upward posture will decrease any kind of awkward balance or “falling-over” feeling. A bent-over center of balance will cause most jumps to end in crash. An upward posture will keep your balance over your hips or waist.
This is a way of moving your head whereby you look at only one or two focal points. You find a point(s) in space, and keep looking at those points until you’re forced to move to the next point or until the movement has ceased. Spotting is used most often in jumps and spins. Spotting controls your head and eyes. If you look at rules one and two, you’ll notice how movement of your head and eyes controls direction of your body.
8. For jumps, knees must come up to the hip:
This guideline is for the purpose of aesthetics (how good something looks) – – think aggressive skating on ice. You should NOT look like figure skaters, even though their sport is greatly respected.
9. Legs and feet must conform together on certain movements:
The Tuck Stop, the One Footed Stop, and other movements, require that your legs and feet form together. This guideline is applied for two reasons: the first is that space between your legs or feet will misguide your balance, and the second is that any space between your legs or feet will be more difficult to manage during the learning process. As you get better, than more freedom of body posture can be applied.
10. Rotation and spin is always derived from hips, legs, and shoulders — never swinging arms:
This rule is most frequent in jumps, although is applied to footwork and turns as well. Power and rotational energy start at your feet, but gets transferred through your hips as well. For Xtreme Ice Skating jumps, your shoulders in this regard should be aligned with your hips, or become aligned at some point in mid-air. This is to make sure that your body rotates as one unit. Rotation will occur around your hips even if your feet or hands are elsewhere. If your shoulders and arms are creating rotation (the most common mistake Xtreme Ice Skaters make when learning jumps in the sport), your rotation will occur around your shoulders and will result in a wild unpredictable jump. Simply put: hips and shoulders control balance and energy in spin (rotation).