Equipment and Clothing:
- Figure skates differ from hockey skates most visibly by having a set of large, jagged teeth called toe picks (also called "toe rakes") on the front of the blade. The toe picks are used primarily in jumping and should not be used for stroking or spins. Blades are mounted to the sole and heel of the boot with screws.
- Girls and women – nothing revealing; typically a dress with matching attached briefs or leotard with skirt or pants.
- Men – pants are required (no tights)
Footwork: A required element, though the pattern can be straight, circular, or serpentine. The step sequence is a combination of turns, steps, hops and edge changes and can be used as transitions between elements.
Jumps: The six most common jumps in order of difficulty: Toe Loop, Salchow (pronounced "sal-kow"), Loop, Flip, Lutz, and Axel. Because Axels have a forward takeoff but land backward, they have an extra half rotation. It takes time, sometimes years, to master an axel jump. Once a skater "gets” an axel, double jumps usually come quite easily. Skaters receive more credit for the more difficult jumps.
- Take-off classifications: Edge jumps and Toe jumps
- Rotations: Jumps are referred to by the number of turns in the air – single, double, triple, and quadruple/quad.
- Most jumps must be landed on a clean back outside edge of one foot and then “held”.
- Ideally, a skater should exit the jump with just as much speed as on the entrance.
- Landing on the flat of the blade first instead of the bottom toe pick is a no-no.
A “cheated” jump is when the skater either begins or completes the rotation of a jump on the ice instead of in the air, resulting in heavy penalties - sometimes more than a fall on a fully rotated jump.
Currently, men in world-class competition usually attempt a full set of triples and sometimes one or two quadruple jumps in their free skating programs. Triple axels are rare for ladies, and quadruple jump attempts even more so.
A required element that may be performed singly or in a sequence combining different positions and difficulty. The three basic spin positions are: Sit, Camel, and Upright.
Required element - the skater moves across the ice on a specific edge with the free leg held above the hip.
What the judges look for:
Under the new system (as of 2006) points are awarded individually for each:
- Total Element Score (TES): e.g., the exact foot position at take-off and landing of a jump
- Program Components Score (PCS):
- Skating skills (SS)
- Transitions (TR)
- Performance/execution (PE)
- Choreography (CH)
- Interpretation (IN)
< Toe Picks