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Figure skating 101 - Nov. 5

Twizzles and spins

Ice dancers Kimberly Navarro and Brett Bommentre perform a twizzle.
Ice dancers Kimberly Navarro and Brett Bommentre perform a twizzle. (Michelle Harvath)

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By Jo Ann Schneider Farris, special to icenetwork.com
(11/05/2007) - Every week icenetwork.com and figure skating expert Jo Ann Schneider Farris take new fans on a guided tour through the ins-and-outs of competitive skating.

Ever wonder what exactly a twizzle was? Or how to do one? Icenetwork.com has got you covered.

Figure skating fans and some experienced ice skaters get confused between twizzles and spins, since both moves rotate. There is a distinct difference between the two elements. Spins stay in one spot. Twizzles are multi-rotational one-foot turns that move down the ice.

Ice dancers must do twizzles. Every freedance program requires synchronized twizzles, but ice dancers are not the only figure skaters that perform twizzles. They are included in the footwork sequences done by single and pair skaters. Synchronized skating teams also do twizzles.

Spins are easier to do than twizzles and last much longer. Once a skater enters a spin, he or she can spin and rotate easily. Some ice skaters seem to be able to spin forever. There is something about the way the blade operates that makes spins easy. All accomplished figure skaters like to spin, but many ice skaters don't like doing twizzles. Twizzles require more concentration and work.

Types of Twizzles

There are four basic types of twizzles. Each twizzle type is named and recognized based on the entry edge.

• Forward Inside Edge Entry Twizzle
• Backward Inside Edge Entry Twizzle
• Forward Outside Edge Entry Twizzle
• Backward Outside Edge Entry Twizzle

The forward inside edge entry twizzles are the most popular among young and new ice skaters.

How to Do a Forward Inside Twizzle

To do a forward inside edge entry twizzle on the right foot, begin by first gliding on two feet down the ice. Next, glide on an almost straight inside edge on your left foot and extend your right foot in front. (Don't forget to point your right toe!)Put your left arm in front and your right arm in back as you prepare to do the twizzle. Now, push onto the right forward inside edge and rotate in the counter-clockwise direction on one foot. Pull your arms in slightly, but not in as tightly as you would to do a spin. You must continue moving down ice as you do the twizzle, so you must do the twizzle on an imaginary straight line.

Once you get used to doing one rotation, work towards doing at least four revolutions. Now, try the twizzle on the other foot. Next, try two four-revolution twizzles in a row. Then practice doing several twizzles in both directions down the length of the ice.

Practice Spins After Doing Twizzles

After doing twizzles, go back to doing spins. You'll appreciate spins more after doing twizzles. In fact, figure skaters should not attempt to do twizzles until they've learned how to spin. Remember, spins and twizzles are not only fun to do, but fun to watch!

Happy Skating!

For more information on the fundamentals of figure skating visit the U.S. Figure Skating's Basic Skills Program.