8. Backward Cross-overs

To cross-over backward (Illus. 11), again reverse all the move­ments of the forward version, maintaining the same principle of a constant lean to the circle. To cut clockwise, stroke onto a strong LOB (11-1, 2) with free leg well extended in front. Then draw this right leg back and way over in front of the right to the inside of the circle on a strong inside backward edge (11-3, 4). The quick shift of weight will again leave your left foot riding free of the ice, crossed under, and extended straight toward the outside of the circle (11-4). Point the toe and hold. Then neatly bring this free foot around behind the left skate and touch toes preparatory to the next push (11-1). Again, do not push on the cross-over itself, alternately push the stroke and glide the cross-over, push and glide the cross-over. The head looks constantly backward inside the circle. Now turn and practice the other way. Remember: On all cross-overs, forward or backward, left or right, the inside arm and shoulder are al­ways lower and pressed back, the outside arm and shoulder are always slightly higher and held in front. Look always inside the circle and in the direction of progress. Throughout, push to a bent skating knee and cross to an equally bent knee. Don't rise and bob.

As I intimated in the introduction to this book, there is no better way of making a stilted, unnatural figure skater than by letting a beginner advance too soon. The importance of learn­ing to move over the ice with speed, ease, and control before you start a figure cannot be too much stressed. With justice modern rink skaters are often called "hothouse skaters" by the old-timers because they try their figures in a limited space with­out ever acquiring the graceful easy swing of the great outdoors. Not that an outdoor style cannot be gained just as well in a rink; it can, if only beginners, especially adults, will be content not to rush matters.

Let your children play around on the ice and learn to love to skate for skating's sake first. The same goes for you. Practice stroking to music. Hum to yourself if necessary. Hold each stroke for a full count of 6. Then hold for 12 counts. You will develop a natural rhythm and control that will come in handy later on. Never look at your feet when you skate. Look out and around. Watch where you are going. It's safer—and it also pro­duces better skating posture. On the theory of one fundamental at a time, we will study the classic edge positions, the four rolls, and the simple basic turns next. Have patience to go along with me slowly now, and not only will you go much faster later on but you will become a far better skater. That I guarantee you.

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