top of page



These figure skating terms include much of the language of ice, inline and roller figure skating training, testing and events.

Axel Jump 
One of the most difficult jumps which takes off from the forward outside edge and is landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. A single Axel consists of 1 1/2 revolutions, a double is 2 1/2 revolutions, and a triple is 3-1/2 revolutions. The jump is named for its inventor, Axel Paulsen. It is easily recognizable as it is the only jump that takes off from a forward position.

Steps or movements across the ice leading into a jump, spin or other move.

Back Spin    
Any one-foot spin where a counterclockwise spinner rotates on the right foot and a clockwise spinner on the left.


Bunny Hop    
A simple jump involving no turn in the air, in which the skater travels straight forward on one foot, swings the free leg forward and jumps onto the toe pick of that foot, pushing straight forward onto the flat of the blade of the starting foot.


Camel Spin    
A spin which is done on one leg with the non-skating leg, or free leg, extended in the air in a position parallel to the ice. The body remains in this "spiral" position while spinning.


Change of Edge    
The action of rocking over on one foot from one edge to the opposite edge (e.g. outside to inside or vice versa), thus forming a serpentine pattern on the ice.


In ice dancing, a step starting on an outside edge in which the free foot is brought beside and level with the skating foot and is placed onto an inside edge while the skating foot is lifted vertically and very slightly off the ice.


The motion of controlling rotation, shoulders counter-rotating against hips.


A turn from forward to backward (or backward to forward) from one foot to the other in which the curve of the exit edge is in the opposite direction to the curve of the entry edge. The change of foot is from outside edge to inside edge or from inside edge to outside edge.


Combination Spin    
The combination of several spins where the skater changes feet and positions while maintaining speed throughout the entire spin.


Compulsory Dance    
A dance that has prescribed rhythms and specific steps that must be done in an exact manner with exact placement on the ice. All skaters do the same compulsory dance in an event. At most senior events nationally and internationally, only one compulsory dance is competed and it is worth 20 percent of the total score.


A method of gaining speed and turning corners in which skaters cross one foot over the other. There are both forward and backward crossovers. Most figure skating jumps and spins are preceded by backwards crossovers. This make back crossovers one of the most important basic skills to master early on.


Death Spiral    
A pairs move in which the man spins in a pivot position while holding one hand of his partner, who is spinning in a horizontal position with her body low and parallel to the ice.


The two sides of the skate blade on either side of the grooved center. There is an inside edge the edge on the inner side of the leg and an outside edge that on the outer side of the leg. There is a forward and backward for each edge, equaling a total of four different edges.


Edge Jump    
A jump where the skater takes off from the entry edge of the skating foot without bringing the free foot in contact with the ice to assist the take off. The Axel, loop and Salchow are common edge jumps.


Most frequently used to refer to the edge immediately preceding a spin or jump, often referred to as the "entry edge."


Extended Facing Hold    
A position adopted by couples in which they face each other, holding opposite hands with arms extended and approximately level with the shoulders.


Falling Leaf    
A jump taking off from a backward outside edge as in a loop jump takeoff, and projecting the free leg forward turning 1/2 revolution. The landing is forward on the toe of this lifting leg and either steps into a forward glide position on the opposite leg (original take-off leg) or steps into a forward inside three-turn.


Flip Jump    
A toe-pick assisted jump taken off from the back inside edge of one foot and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.


A sequence of step maneuvers carrying the skater across the ice in patterns generally straight, circular or serpentine. Footwork is intended to show the precision and dexterity of the skater's movements.


Free Side/Leg    
Describes the side of the body, or any part thereof (Free leg), opposite to the side of the body connected to the leg on which the skater happens to be skating at any particular moment.

A one- or two-footed movement across the ice, either forward or backward.

Hand-to-Hand Loop Lift    
A lift in which the man raises his partner, who is in front of him and facing the same direction, above his head. She remains facing the same direction, in the sitting position with her hands behind her, while her partner supports her by the hands.

Hydrant Lift    
A lift in which the man throws his partner over his head while skating backwards, rotates one-half turn and catches his partner facing him.

Layback Spin    
Generally performed by women, the layback spin involves an upright spin position where the head and shoulders are dropped backwards and the back arches.

Pair moves in which the man lifts his partner above his head with arm(s) fully extended. Lifts consist of precise ascending, rotational and descending movements.

The pattern made on the ice by an edge or steps, forming an arc of a circle that starts and finishes on an axis. A lobe pattern looks like a half circle.

Loop Jump    
An edge jump, taken off from a back outside edge and landed on the same back outside edge.

Lutz Jump    
A toe-pick assisted jump taken off from a back outside edge and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. The skater glides backward on a wide curve, taps his toe pick into the ice, and rotates in the opposite direction of the curve. The jump is named for its inventor, Alois Lutz.

A simple half turn skating jump, of which there are many variations. It is recommended that, from a back outside edge, the skater strikes the toe of the other foot into the ice, lands on the toe of the opposite foot (which has passed in front of the toe-in-front), pushing onto a forward outside edge as he/she does so.

A turn from forward to backward (or backward to forward), from one foot to the other, each edge forming parts of the same curve.

Moves in the Field
One of three test structures in U.S. Figure Skating (including free skating and dance). Moves in the field tests help develop all basic fundamental edges and turns while emphasizing edge quality, extension, quickness and power.

Overhead Lift    
The group of pair lifts in which one or both of the man's arms are fully extended as he holds his partner overhead. The man does not let go of his partner during the lift, except momentarily during changes in her position or during the dismount.

Platter Lift    
A lift in which the man raises his partner overhead with his hands resting on her hips. She is horizontal to the ice, facing the back of the man, in a platter position.

Acceleration and strength in skating. Power is intended to mean obvious and rapid acceleration often form a standstill position, achieved by a forceful, gripping pressure exerted by the employed, or skating leg and skate against the surface of the ice. Power includes maintaining or increasing speed while executing various skating elements. “Power” is relative to the size of the skater, but can always be attained with proper stroking technique.

Power Forward Crossovers    
A double-time version of the standard forward crossovers. The free leg extension is not as accentuated because of the speed and shortness of blade run.

Presentation Mark    
The second of two marks awarded when judging the singles and pairs short program and free skate, and the original and free dance. Judges consider the program's relationship to the music, the speed, utilization of the ice surface, carriage and style, originality and unison.

Quality of execution is all about putting together the basics of power, edge control, extension, and speed and includes:

  1. Good flow, energy and execution

  2. Good speed during sequence

  3. Good body line

  4. Highlights the character of the program

  5. Superior flexibility

  6. Creativity and originality

Qualifying Competition    
Qualifying competitions are those that are part of the competition structure leading to each country's national championships or the World Championships for your sport's governing body, 

Required Elements Mark    
The first mark given by the judges in the singles and pairs short program evaluating how well each element is performed. There are defined deductions that are made due to errors skaters make when executing the required elements.

An edge that curves in the opposite direction to the preceding edge. No turn is involved, and both edges are of the same character (i.e. outside to outside, or inside to inside).

A turn made on one foot from a forward to backward (or backward to forward) edge maintaining the same character, i.e., outside to outside or inside to inside.

Another edge jump taken off from the back inside edge of one foot and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. Created by Ulrich Salchow.

Scratch Spin    
Also known as an upright spin. After entering from a controlled forward outside edge, the spin begins on a back inside edge. Gradual acceleration begins by moving and placing the free foot toward the top of the skating knee and drawing the arms close to the body. The spin exits into a backward outside edge.

Shadow Skating    
Any movement in pairs skating performed by both partners simultaneously while skating in close proximity.

Shoot the Duck    
A movement in which the skater glides forward or backward on one foot while bending down as low as possible and extending the free leg forward.

Short Axis    
In skating figures, an imaginary line dividing one circle from the other and at right angles to the long axis. The term is also used when skaters cross the long axis when skating consecutive half circles.

Sit Spin    
A spin which is done in a "sitting" position. The body is low to the ice with the skating (spinning) knee bent and the non-skating, or "free" leg, extended beside it.

In order to have good speed on the ice you need power, extension, and control. If you have all these chances are you are a good skater.

A move in which a skater demonstrates flexibility and a fluid line by extending his or her non-skating leg behind them into the air during a long glide.

Spiral Sequence    
A sequence of steps which incorporates various spirals in a pattern across the ice. Spirals in a spiral sequence may be done going forward, backwards, in a straight line or on a curve, or on an inside or an outside edge.

Star Lift    
A lift in which the man raises his partner by her hip, from his side into the air. She is in the scissor position, with either one hand touching his shoulder, or in a hands-free position.

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

Fluid movement used to gain speed in which a skater pushes off back and forth from the inside edge of one skate to the inside edge of the other skate.

A method of two-foot progression, either forward or backward, by an in-and-out movement of the feet on inside edges.

Technical Merit Mark    
The first of two marks awarded when judging the free skate (singles and pairs), free dance and many other creative and performance skating events, which measures the difficulty of the performance, variety and cleanness.

Technique Mark    
The first of two marks awarded when judging the compulsory dance, based on the conformity of the dance steps, accuracy, style, form and carriage.

Throw Junp    
A pairs move in which the male partner assists the woman into the air, she then executes one, two, or three revolutions and lands skating backwards.

Timing/Expression Mark    
The second of two marks awarded when judging the compulsory dance, based on the steps being to the beat of the music, correct timing and a clear expression of the nature of the dance.

Toe Loop    
A toe-pick assisted jump that takes off and lands on the same back outside edge.

Toe Overhead Lift    
A lift in which the man swings his partner from one side of his body, around behind his head and into a raised position. She is facing the same direction as the man in a split position.

Toe Pick    
The teeth at the front of the ice blade used primarily for jumping and spinning.

Toe Stop

The rubber tip or ball at the front of the inline or roller figure skate used primarily for jumping and spinning (sometimes also called a pick).

In figure skating a turn is a change in direction on the ice from forward to backward or backward to forward. Some turns are part of the basics and others are advanced and difficult to perform. Figure skating turns are important because they are part of the advanced figure skating moves. For example the entrance to certain jumps includes a three turn or a mohawk.

Twist Lift    
The group of pairs lifts where both partners begin skating backwards and the man lifts his partner over his head and tosses her in the air. While airborne, she will rotate full or half rotations. The man catches his partner and places her back on the ice.

A traveling turn on one foot with one or more rotations, which is quickly rotated with a continuous (uninterrupted) action. The weight remains on the skating foot with the free foot in any position during the turn, and then placed beside the skating foot to skate the next steps.

Waltz Jump    
A jump involving a half-turn in the air in which the skater takes off from a forward outside edge on one foot and lands on the backward outside edge of the other.

bottom of page