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Glossary of Skating Terminology


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Salchow jump: A normal rotation edge jump. The skater takes off from a back inside edge, and lands on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.  Named after Swedish skater Ulrich Salchow, the correct pronunciation rhymes with row or bow, not cow (as in the animal).

Sanction: (1) Permission granted by a governing body to an organization to hold a competition, show, or exhibition that included the participation of eligible skaters.

(2) Permission granted by a governing body to an eligible skater or group of skaters to participate in a competition, show, or exhibition that would otherwise cause them to lose their eligibility.

Scale of Values:   (SoV or SOV) The tabulated values for the Base Values and Grade of Execution point values for all elements that can earn element points under the International Judging System.

School figure: See compulsory figure.

Scratch spin: A one-foot upright spin in which the skating leg is straight at the knee and hip, and the free leg is crossed in front of the skating leg.

Scribe: A mechanical device used to inscribe circles on the surface of the ice to aid in the practice of compulsory figures. The use of scribes is not permitted in competitions.

Section: One of three geographic areas of the United States in which Sectional Qualifying Championships are held. These consist of the East Coast, Midwest and Pacific Coast sections.  Each section is divided into three regions. (Different terminology is used for the geographic areas in Canada)

Sectional championship: The level of qualifying competition above the Regional Championships in the United States, and preceding the National Championships.

Segment:  In competitions when two or more performances are contested, each group of performances is referred to as a segment.  Examples of segments: short program, free skating, rhythm dance, etc.  Junior and senior competitions typically have two segments - a short program (or rhythm dance) and a free skate (or free dance).

Separations: Steps and movements in a program where dance couples or pair teams are not holding onto each other while skating. Restricted in dance events, unrestricted in pair events.

Serpentine: (1)  Any compulsory figure consisting of three circles and no turns.

(2)  One of several possible shapes of a step sequence or spiral sequence, where the pattern consists of at least two bold curves that cover the entire ice surface.  Serpentine patterns are frequently concluded by closing the last bold curve into a circle, resulting in a pattern that is more in the form of a large "q" covering the entire ice surface

Serpentine step sequence:  A step sequence executed with a serpentine pattern.

Serpentine spiral sequence:  A spiral sequence executed with a serpentine pattern.

Set down: See dismount.

Set pattern dance: An ice dance for which the pattern is prescribed, and in which the steps are always taken in specific places on the ice surface.

Shadow skating: The act of two or more skaters moving in such a way that the motions of the skaters are shadow (identical) images of each other.

Short lift: A lift of one of the following types: stationary, straight line, curved or rotational.

Short program: A program consisting of required elements and connecting moves that forms the first part of some singles, pairs, and synchronized skating competitions.

Showcase:  A discipline of skating where skaters perform exhibition/theatrical type programs.  Props, scenery and elaborate costumes are permitted. Showcase includes performances by single skaters, duets, small ensembles and larger groups of skaters. 

Showcase events are typically divided into light entertainment, dramatic entertainment and interpretive categories.

Side-by-side jump combination: A jump combination executed simultaneously by two skaters who are skating near each other but not holding onto each other.

Side-by-side jump sequence: A jump sequence executed simultaneously by two skaters who are skating near each other but not holding onto each other.

Side-by-side skating: The skating of two skaters who are near each other but not holding onto each other.

Side-by side solo jumps: An individual jump executed simultaneously by two skaters who are skating near each other but not holding onto each other.

Side-by-side solo spins: A spin in one position, on one foot, executed simultaneously by two skaters who are skating near each other but not holding onto each other.

Side-by-side spin combination: A spin combination executed simultaneously by two skaters who are skating near each other but not holding onto each other.

Signature move:  A specific movement viewers associate with a specific skater included as a highlight in nearly all their programs. The move is sometimes invented by the skaters or is revived by the skater after not being used for a long period of time.  For the skater, the movement identifies them as much as their signature would.

Similar pairs: A discipline of skating in which two skaters of the same gender perform maneuvers together on the ice in programs choreographed to accompanying music.

Similar pairs are rarely seen other than in showcase competitions.  Similar pairs free skating events were sometimes conducted during WWII when there were no male skaters available for standard mixed gender pairs.

Simple mean:  The average of a group of numbers using all the numbers in the calculation.   Used to average point values under the International Judging System when a small number of judges make up the panel of judges.

Single jump: Any jump having one or one and one-half, rotations in the air.

Single skating (singles): A discipline of skating in which individual skaters perform maneuvers on ice in programs choreographed to accompanying music.

Single trimmed mean:  The average of a group of numbers calculated by first eliminating the highest and lowest value number and then averaging the remaining values.  Used to average point values under the International Judging System when five or more judges make up the panel of judges.

Single twist lift: A twist lift in which the woman makes one-half rotation while in the air while the man turns 1/2 turn over the ice.

Sit spin:  One of the three basic spin positions, the others being upright and camel.  In the traditional sit spin position, skating leg is bent at the knee and hip with the torso leaning forward and the back arched, and the free leg is extended forward with the free foot turned out and held just above the ice.  The essential characteristic of a sit spin position is that the included angle at the knee joint of the skating leg must be no greater than 90 degrees (120 degrees in ice dancing).  Under the International Judging System, a position in which the included angle exceeds the maximum allowed is designated an upright position.

Skating clean:  Skating a program without making any major error such as falls, touch downs, or cheated jumps.

Skating foot: The foot supporting the skater's weight, in contact with the ice.

Skating leg: The leg supporting the skater's weight whose foot is in contact with the ice.

Small lifts: The lifts used in pair skating encompassing dance lifts, variations of pair lifts in which neither hand of the lifting partner is raised above shoulder level, and armpit lifts (which are not counted as overhead lifts in the lower divisions of pair skating).

Solo jump: An individual jump preceded and followed by connecting moves or footwork.

Solo spin: A spin which is executed in only one basic position and with no changes of foot.

Speed: The rate of motion of a skater over the ice; i.e., the distance traveled per unit time.

Spin: A maneuver in which a skater rotates over a position on the ice.

Spin combination: A spin which includes one or more changes of foot and/or one or more changes of position.

Spin with a change of foot:  A spin during which the skater skates part of the spinon one foot and part on the other.

Spin with a change of position: A spin during which the skater skates part of the spin in one basic position and part in another.

Spiral: A movement in which the skater glides on one foot with the upper body bent forwards at the waist with the back arched, and the free leg is held extended at a level above the ice surface higher than the hip of the free leg.  There are many variations on the leg, arm and torso positions for this movement.

Historically, skaters would hold this position while gliding over the ice along a large spiral path.  The name of the position is taken from that original (no longer executed) spiral movement. A much abbreviated version of the original spiral movement is sometime used in exhibition programs.

Spiral sequence:  The more modern name of a spiral step sequence..

Spiral step sequence: A step sequence in which the skater(s) are primarily in the spiral position.

Split jump: Any jump in which the legs are split after the takeoff and before completing the rotations of the jump.

Split twist lift: A twist lift in which the woman's legs are split in the air before completing her rotations in the air.

Spread eagle: A connecting move in which the skater glides on two feet with toes pointed in opposite directions and legs held straight in the form of an inverted "V".  Spread eagles can be executed on inside or outside edges, of which the outside is more difficult, requiring greater range of motion at the hips when turning the toes out, and a greater risk of catching an edge during the execution.

Stag jump: A split jump in which the forward leg of the the split is bent sharply at the knee in a position reminiscent of a leaping stag.

Standing up: Getting through a program without any falls.

Star lift: An overhead lift. The partners face each other and the lifted partner is raised over the lifting partners head using a hand-to-hand grip with one arm, and a hand-to-hip grip with the other arm. Both of the lifting partner's arms are fully extended. In the air the lifted partner is in a scissors position with one hand clasping one hand of the lifting partner and the other on the lifting partner's shoulder. Variations include the lifted partner having one or both hands free in the air, or being raised by the lifting partner using one arm with a hand-to hip grip.

Starting foot: The foot on which the first trace of a compulsory figure is begun.

Starting order: The order in which the competitors will perform in a given segment of a competition.

Stepover: (1) A forbidden move in which the skater, gliding backwards, executes a back somersault with one leg preceding the other, and lands on one foot.

(2) A step taken to change foot in a combination spin.

Step: A movement where the skater changes the weight bearing foot from one to another.  The sense of direction (forwards or backwards) or the edge (inside or outside) may or may not change.  While stroking meets this definition for a step, strokes are not considered steps.

Step sequence: A sequence of turns, steps, edges and other movements that immediately follow one another, executed in time to the music, and which are choreographically related to each other.

Stops: Places in a program where the skater's motion over the ice comes to a halt.

Strike: (1) The part of the trace in a compulsory figure where the skater steps onto an edge.

(2) The action of stepping onto an edge in a compulsory figure.

Stroke: The action of engaging the surface of the ice with the inside edge of the blade of the free foot, pushing, stepping onto the opposite foot, and lifting the first foot off the ice surface, to propel the skater forwards or backwards.

Stroking: Sequential strokes taken with alternate feet to propel the skater along the ice surface. Correct stroking does not make use of the toe picks.

Sub-curves: Extraneous wiggles in the trace of a circle in a compulsory figure caused by errors in position (lean) while skating the figure.

Sureness: The degree to which the skating is executed with confident, secure balance and positions are held with authority and control.

Swan lift: See platter lift.

Swing: That quality of dance movement characterized by a sweeping motion and an easy, swaying gait.

Synchronized skating: A discipline of skating in which groups of skaters perform maneuvers on ice in formation in programs choreographed to accompanying music.

Copyright 2020 by George S. Rossano