BACK AND OVER
It's just as important to skate backward as forward and not as hard as you might think. Don't be afraid of falling. You won't if you prepare for backstroking by practicing a backward scull with weight on the forward part of the blades, as illustrated by the first four figures at left (bottom of page to circle). Start scull with toes together (1) and when you get up good sculling speed (2, 3 and 4), turn right heel out (5), push away from inside edge (6) while shifting weight to left foot. Sit hard over left foot (7), leaning left to get on outside edge. Extend right foot and arm directly in front of skating foot. Keep weight over front portion of blade and look back inside of curve over left shoulder. To continue backstroking, bring right toe down until it touches left toe. Then push again by turning left heel out, straightening left knee as you shift weight over to right outside backward edge. When your backstroke begins to work smoothly, you can flow right into the next step, the back crossover shown below, which teaches you how to lean in toward the center of a turn.
Starting with backstroke, begin crossover by bringing right foot across in front of left foot to inside of circle (first figure). Shift weight to right inside edge. Left foot glides off ice outside circle (second figure). Bring left foot in behind right (figures three, four). Repeat cross in steady rhythm from right inside to left outside, crossing right foot in front each time.
Lean heavily into the circle just as in the back crossover. Bring left foot down close to and past right foot (first figure) and push off onto a left stroke (second figure). Maintain strong left lean around the circle, then bring the right foot up close (third figure) and cross it wide over the left as in the last figure. Shift weight to right inside edge, glide a moment and repeat through full circle.
Start with the outside forward edge
The only way to make unbroken circles or patterns is by skating on one of the four edges. The most important edge, since it teaches you the confidence of a sideways body lean, is the forward outside. Start by getting up speed with a series of strong strokes and strike off onto a right outside edge by leaning the body to the right, i.e., toward the middle of the circle. Keep the left leg extended behind, with the toe over the tracing cut on the ice by the right skate. The heel should be just inside the tracing. Carry the right arm in front of the body. Press free hip and leg well back, with hips on line of circle.
Now the inside forward
Try this edge first if you like. It's easier. The body faces straight ahead and leans to the inside of circle, hips and shoulders straight across the line of skating. Carry left leg with knee slightly bent so that heel is over tracing but foot itself is just inside. This time left arm should be in front of body. Keep shoulders level through turn.
Next, the outside back
Get into this one with a strong backward stroke out of a back crossover. Keep hips square to tracing, even though shoulders, head and upper body turn in direction of circle. In making an edge, never allow hips to rotate in direction of circle, or skates will skid or cut inward sharply. For this edge only, look toward outside of the circle.
Finally, the inside back
Most beginners find this one the hardest to learn. Establish a strong backward stroke. Then lean body into circle. As in outside forward, hips are parallel to circle. Look backward over left shoulder to the inside of circle. When you have mastered edges with right foot, switch to left and practice until you can control both feet equally well.
THE MOHAWK TURN