When you have gained a bit of confidence from baby stepping, it is time for you to try propelling yourself over the ice alone. To keep your confidence high the first exercise is a two-foot maneuver called double sculling (Illus. 5). Beside taking you across the ice on your own, this will teach you the vital part your knees play in making your skates glide.
Stand with your knees straight, heels together but toes turned out so that your feet form a V (5-1). Now bend your knees and allow your feet to slide out diagonally forward, keeping your weight evenly balanced between your feet and on the back center of each skate (5-2). When your skates have slid a few feet apart, straighten your knees and pull your toes together (5-3, 4). As your skates are about to touch, slide them parallel and side by side in a short forward glide before starting the sculling movement all over again (5-5). The scull itself is done on the inside edge of both skates, but be sure you do not "drop" your ankle over to the inside. Only by keeping your ankles firm, will your skates move easily ahead. By repeating these sculls in the same rhythm, you will find you can work up real speed across the ice. Be sure this speed comes from the bending and straightening of the knees and not from the pull of the inner thigh muscles above rigid knees. For the propulsion that comes from the proper use of your knee is the secret of the pushoff onto one skate which is next in the order of learning.
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