July 5, 2013 by alinedecat
Although you might not be aware of it, an edge (in french: une carre) is something all of you are actually pretty familiar with. Plow-stops, slaloms, crossovers, hockey stops, transitions and 3-steps, for instance are some of the numerous skills involving edges.
So let me explain:
Each foot has two edges: an inside edge and an outside edge. Basically, using the inside edge means leaning on your big toe and the inside of your foot, while the outside edge means leaning on your little toe and the outside of your foot.
The result of this is that your foot will turn. Let’s take the left foot: being on an inside edge will make your foot turn to the right, and being on an outside edge will make your foot turn to the left.
Got trouble seeing what I’m talking about?
Here is an outside egde:
You can clearly see that the skater has her center of gravity, and thus her bodyweight, leaning on the outside of the foot (and her little toe). The result of this is that she is turning to the left.
“Hey wait, this is figure skating, not derby!” – Oh, really, is it? Here is a double inside edge, both feet are leaning on the inside (and on the big toes):
Looks familiar, right? As a result of that, tiptoes come to the inside. Yes, it’s a plow stop!
Double inside edges are also used while skating lemons, in alternative with double outside edges. In this case, the movement of both legs is symetrical. The other option is that one foot is on an inside edge while the other is on an outside edge, and then switch. What do wee have then? That’s right, a slalom!
Let’s see if you got this right, define the edges for each foot and which way is this skater thus turning:
So the answer is: left foot = outside edge, right foot = inside edge, result = turning to the left.
Now, let’s get back to one-foot edges. When an inside edge is quite easy to achieve (you just have to lift up the other foot, and it remains a security that you can put back on the floor at any time, since your center of gravity never leaves the former base triangle), an outside edge on just one foot needs a bit more practice and confidence.
Indeed, you need to flip your bodyweight over your leg until your center of gravity is at the outside of your base triangle. And this is where the whole problem gets untied:
As for all rotations, it is not your feet that do the job, it’s your upper body, and the lower body is just following. So if you’re on a left outside edge, your head and your shoulders will have to turn left at very first. The more you turn your upper body, the more your feet will turn. Also, bringing in your right shoulder will transfer just exactly the right amount of bodyweight on your little toe and the outside of your foot.
So, here is basically the concept of edging. This is one of the most important skills to me, because it’s one of the keys to so many others. Try different exercises and drills until you can go wherever you want on the track on just one foot. If you don’t master edges (yes I mean also one-foot edges), it means you’re not completely mastering your bodyweight.
Also, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this 😉