Calling all synchro skaters, and even coaches: how well do you know your difficult steps & turns? We've got a Difficult Turns Cheat Sheet for you, below!
In #SynchroSkating the highest level step sequences can include 4 types of difficult turns, done in a series: brackets, counters, rockers, and twizzles. As skaters develop and reach higher levels of the sport, they will be required to do these turns in their programs. Executing correct turns requires both physical and technical/mental comprehension.
On the physical side, you need to understand where and when to press and release different parts of the blade, as well as the actual execution of the turn and its rotation. This requires understanding the rise and fall of your knees and ankles, and the timing of each. You also need to understand where to position your body throughout the turn, including your free leg, your arms, the rotation of your core, your lean and posture, and even your head placement! The best way to learn the physical "how-to" of your turns, is on the ice, with a qualified coach.
But understanding the physical part of the turns without a good technical understanding can lead to inconsistent and "bad" turns done on incorrect edges, that aren't given credit by the technical panel in competitions. The technical panel watches to see if skaters are on the correct edges to get the calls; if 1/4 of the team is on the wrong edge, the team doesn’t get credit for the turn.
On the technical/mental side of turns, it is important to understand the shape and direction of each turn on the ice, including the entry and exit edges, the turn itself, and the placement of the turn (and its lobes) on the axis. It is also important to understand the specific blade markings on the ice, and what it should look like if you are on the correct edges.
For this reason, drawing turns on paper is an important skill to master as a synchro skater! Once you know how to draw turns on paper, you can practice each turn on clean ice, and compare the pattern of your blade markings to the patterns on the cheat sheet. You might notice your blade mark on the ice looks like one of the "common errors" on the cheat sheet - this is NOT a sign of failure, and not something to get frustrated over! Instead, treat it as an opportunity to learn and improve; it's a GREAT opportunity to learn how to do the turn correctly (with the help of a qualified coach), so that you can do the turn correctly when it counts in competition.
Feel free to save and print our Difficult Turns Cheat Sheet, and share it with your teammates to help you reach greater heights in synchronized skating!