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Updated: Jul 19, 2023



This resource article provides information for the general public. It is grouped by topic and written from all levels (high to low). All topics use new and old concepts, from which we can expand.

There are no ads or banners; all images, GIFs, videos, are galleries below are here for you.


I'm choosing to write in a colloquial, approachable tone. It is a living resource article—meaning, candid collaboration is paramount and updates will be made periodically. You can receive notifications by "Liking" this article. As always, your input, feedback, and questions are welcome and encouraged in the comments section (below).


• Intro to Roller Sports: Foundation & Olympism

Vocabulary & Circle Dimensions; see also: Geometry and Figure Types

• Intro: Figures 1-4

• Video: Figure 1 Demo

• Documentation (Gallery)

• Documentation (PDF)

Universalisms, Form & Carriage (Videos) - Full 75-Minute Version


MERLIN | Inventor of first skates and first roller skater (1760)



To understand the foundation of roller sports, we have to know Olympism and our working parts, such as World Skate: the organization that started international roller sports on April 21, 1924, and has managed it ever since.

International Olympic Committee (IOC)

The IOC, or Comité International Olympique (CIO), is the supreme authority leading the Olympic Movement and the catalyst for all Olympic Governing Bodies (OGBs). This includes National Olympic Committees, such as the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), International, Federations, athletes, United Nations agencies, and more. The IOC's job is to encourage the promotion of Olympic values, to ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games and its legacy, and to support all organizations affiliated to the Olympic Movement. The IOC cultivates its success through a series of programs and projects which give life to the Olympic values.

World Skate + NGBs

USA Roller Sports (USARS)

Roller Louisiane

What's Olympism?



What are Figures?

This resource article focuses on the universal form and foundational best practices of Roller Figure Skating's Figure and Loop disciplines. The term Figures is widely used colloquially to encompass both Circle Figures (Video 2) and Loops (Video 3), two disciplines of roller figure skating that demand tracing accuracy, body control, and extreme concentration.

Each skater retraces a series of figure patterns--combining a variety of difficult take-offs, edges, and turns--on a set of circles painted on the skating surface.

Skaters at the national level devote hours of silent and demanding practice each week to figure skating in order to attain their success. Skaters in this event are judged on their tracing of the figure circle, execution of turns and takeoffs, and posture.

Video 1: Example, Circle Figures (World-Class Men)


In ice and roller skating, the largest circles are Circle Figure [circles], which are more commonly called Figure Circles. Figure Circles are the largest, measuring 6 meters in width (diameter), while their smaller cousins, Loop figures, have a major diameter of 2.4 meters.


Americans: To approximate the diameter in feet, multiply meters by 3 to convert into feet

• Figure Circles are exactly 6 meters in width (19 feet, 8.2 inches)

• Loop Circles are exactly 2.4 meters in width (7 feet, 10 inches).

Application & Role

Figures and Loops are two of Roller Figure Skating's oldest disciplines and both can be trained and competed independently, with no other experience in additional disciplines.

When you watch competitive skating—jumping, spinning, dance, pairs—you're enjoying the output of years of figure and loop training. None of what you're seeing is remotely possible without Figures. Every fall, every landing, every slip, every spin, every dance step, and every lift, are possible because of the athlete's commitment (in time) to doing Figures at every practice (usually the first 60-75 mins).

Video 2: Example, Loops (World-Class Men)

Why is this new?

In terms of practice structure, in the US, we do Figures first. So, if you show up early (10 minutes before a public skating session) you might likely be let in and see dance, pairs, and freestyle being practiced, but not Figures and Loops. Our practices are open to spectators. Some coaches like Federico Casas (@federicocasas_) are using social media to reverse the invisibility of Figures (Circle Figures and Loops).


Figures: Language of Skating

Let's reference the first of four "Circle Eight" figures because when they are learned together, this group covers all eight (8) edges in skating. Skating's edges are grouped and referenced using the following nomenclature in mind:

Skate, Edge, and Direction.

• The Employed Skate, or "skate" in use: Left (L) or Right (R)

• The Edge being pressed and created: Outside or Outer (O) and Inside or Inner (I)

• The skate's traveling orientation or Direction: Forward (F) or Backward (B)

Image 1 // Source 1


Reading the Documentation

As shown in the same image above (Image 1), you'll notice two edges are associated with each figure —1, 2, 3, and 4—and each figure is skated using the right (R) skate first. Figure 1 and Figure 3 demonstrate outside edges (O); Figure 1 is skated forward and Figure 3 is skated backward. Likewise, Figure 2 and Figure 4 demonstrate inside edges; Figure 2 is skated forward and Figure 4 is skated backward.

Forward Figures

Figure 1: ROF - LOF

Right-Outer-Forward edge

Left-Outer-Forward edge

Figure 2: RIF - LIF

Right-Inner-Forward edge

Left-Inner-Forward edge

Backward Figures

Figure 3: ROB - LOB

Right-Outer-Back edge

Left-Outer-Back edge

Figure 4: RIB - LIB

Right-Inner-Back edge

Left-Inner-Back edge



Figure 1 Demo Video

Skating is full of old and new concepts but for the immediate, let's focus on Geometry and on new vocabulary.


Full Documentation (Gallery)

Gallery 1 (Diagrams) // Source 1

Figure Types

1 • Circle Eight figures involve tracing one circle (6 meters wide) with a single push

1.5 • Serpentine figures involve tracing and transitioning, a half-circle to a whole circle, via a change of edge

2 • Paragraph figures involve tracing two circles with a single push

3 • Double-3 figures involve two three-turns, each on its own Three-Mark (2),

4 • Loop Circle figures involve tracing the 2.4-meter-wide loop figure without having to trace the teardrop

Full Documentation (PDF)

The following is a PDF of Roller Louisiane's Figure Manual, a hard-copy of which can be referenced in-rink and at competitions as needed. It is a living document and future versions, if updated, will live here and in our club's File Library under the "Manuels_Guides_Documentation" folder. See source 1 below for original source information.

Download PDF • 22.03MB


WATCH | Geometry

Video 4: Geometry

Circle Figures, Vocabulary | Clockwise

0% = Tangency, part of Strike Zone, requires knowledge of both long (1) & short axis (2-3)

25% = QUARTER-MARK (1st of 4) indicates 25% circle completion

33% = THIRD-MARK (1st of 2) indicates 33% circle completion; Bridge starts here

50% = QUARTER-MARK (2nd of 4) indicates 50% completion; Bridge's Apex here

66% = THIRD-MARK (2nd of 2) indicates 66% completion; the Bridge ends here.

75% = QUARTER-MARK (3rd of 4) indicates 75% completion

100% = QUARTER-MARK (4th of 4) indicates 100% circle completion and knowledge of short and long axis


Universals & Foundations

Form & Carriage

Let's sort and internalize them from the floor up.

Video 5: USARS

Strike Zone


Video 6: USARS

Body Axis: Ankle to Ear


Video 7: USARS

Hands + Shoulders


Video 8: USARS

Take-Offs & Transitions (Strike Zone)


Video 9: USARS

Employed Knee


Video 10: USARS

Free Leg




Author: US Amateur Confederation of Roller Skating (USACRS)

Medium: Print

Original Publication: 1989 USAC/RS11th Ed. Roller Figure Skating

*Note 1: USACRS is now USA Roller Sports (USARS)


Author: Skate Dance Diagrams

Medium: Website

Referenced Page: See School Figure Page

*Note: This article references scans of Source 1's original documentation: 1989 USAC/RS11th Ed. Roller Figure Skating. This source documentation is provided by USA Roller Sports and made available online by the tireless work and expertise of the folks at Skate Dance Diagrams.


Author: US Amateur Confederation of Roller Skating (USACRS)

Previous Medium: VHS (1998), PDF*

Modern Medium: YouTube, as "Figures"

Title: Form and Carriage

Presented by: Bob Gates (Utica, Michigan)

*PDF: If you have a copy of this PDF, pls comment below and create a post on our website's home page.

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