Updated: Jul 19
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.
TONE & FEEDBACK
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
• Intro to Figures: What are Figures? (Figures & Loops)
• Vocabulary & Circle Dimensions; see also: Geometry and Figure Types
• Video 1: Example of Figures in competition
• Video 2: Example of Loops in competition
• Intro: Figures 1-4
• Video: Figure 1 Demo
• Documentation (Gallery)
• Documentation (PDF)
• Free Leg
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
World Skate serves above its member countries' National Governing Bodies (NGBs), where roller sports are taught by coaches and practiced by member-athletes. NGBs like USA Roller Sports are doing their own international roller sports development because they're simultaneously developing and supporting their own domestic programs, workforce, and athletes.
USA Roller Sports (USARS)
USARS is the NGB for roller sports in the U.S. and is recognized by World Skate, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). NGBs like USA Roller Sports are doing their own international roller sports development because they're simultaneously developing and supporting their own domestic programs, workforce, and athletes. USARS's mission includes growing and supporting a workforce of coaches, officials, and athletes—who then interface with the public as meet directors, judges, coaches, and athletes of USA Roller Sports. USARS also works directly with its clubs, like Roller Louisiane, to foster development and support its workforce.
Roller Louisiane is an official roller sports club with #teamUSA through our NGB, USA Roller Sports (USARS). Roller Louisiane specializes in Roller Figure Skating (RFS), also known in World Skate terminology as Artistic, and specializes in all subdisciplines of USA Roller Sports: Figures & Loops, Solo and Team Dance, Freestyle, Pairs, Quartet, and Show. Roller Louisiane and USA Roller Sports are recognized by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). All coaches, officers, apprentices, and member-athletes are members of USA Roller Sports and any of legal age (18+) are SafeSport certified. Learn more: #USARS & #SafeSport • See USARS's Athlete Safety Guide (SafeSport).
From global to local and entirely independent: International Olympic Committee (IOC), World Skate, USA Roller Sports, and Roller Louisiane all embrace, practice, and encourage Olympism. Olympism is a philosophy of life that proactively places sport at the service of humanity. Olympism is public diplomacy in action, blending sport with culture, language(s), and education. It valorizes social accountability, public diplomacy, effort and the joy of effort, the educational and experiential value of vulnerability, and respect for the Olympic Charter's fundamental principles. You're required to register with USA Roller Sports under our club, even if you don't plan to compete. Once registered, you're recognized as a member-athlete of Roller Louisiane by USA Roller Sports and by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, SafeSport, and the International Olympic Committee. You can learn more about Olympism online and check out our File Library to get IOC materials in English in French made by the IOC.
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.
CONVERTING M to FT
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.
Figure 1: ROF - LOF
Figure 2: RIF - LIF
Figure 3: ROB - LOB
Figure 4: RIB - LIB
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
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.
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
Video 6: USARS
Body Axis: Ankle to Ear
Video 7: USARS
Hands + Shoulders
Video 8: USARS
Take-Offs & Transitions (Strike Zone)
Video 9: USARS
Video 10: USARS
SOURCES & DOCUMENTATION
Click here to jump to the top of this resource article.
// SOURCE 1
Author: US Amateur Confederation of Roller Skating (USACRS)
Original Publication: 1989 USAC/RS11th Ed. Roller Figure Skating
*Note 1: USACRS is now USA Roller Sports (USARS)
// SOURCE 2
Author: Skate Dance Diagrams
Home Page: SkateDanceDiagramsWeebly.com
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.
// SOURCE 3
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.