Skating Brackets

by Mary on June 3, 2013

Here’s a pattern of the finicky little turns called brackets that I’ve been learning for my upcoming skating test. There are six different patterns on my gold moves test and this is one of the hardest. Brackets turn in the direction opposite to the one that’s most natural for a skater.

Skaters lean to one side, creating a path of travel that curves toward that side, and the easier turns in skating are made by turning in that same direction. In skating terms it’s called turning in to the circle. On a bracket the skater turns the opposite way, away from the circle, and the skater’s body faces toward the outside of the circular path of travel during the turn. If that’s all too technical, just have a look at the video and you’ll be able to see how the turns work.

skating a bracket

skating a bracket

Footwork patterns are dull to watch but the fine control they impart is essential to skating. Skaters are required to pass various tests of footwork, called moves in the field, to be able to compete at certain levels.

One possible mistake on a bracket is catching the flat of the blade in the ice mid-turn. Done to a minor degree, it makes a skid, to a major degree, you’re going down without question. That still happens to me occasionally, especially on the very first bracket in the pattern. Understandably I’ve really been working to fix that. Coach Ty tells me to lift (fix my posture) whenever I feel such a problem beginning to happen. That puts my weight where it belongs on the blade so it can turn more readily.

I’m also trying to fix wobbles, especially on the forward turns on the first side that I skate. You probably won’t be able to see them in the video, though the judges at my test likely will (though if they are small enough they’ll let it go).

Each day that I practice these I work until I get rid of the wobble or at least make it smaller. It doesn’t stay gone, though. Like a lot of things in skating, my progress has been incremental.

If it sounds really dull to be working on such minutia, well, luckily it can be pretty absorbing for me to figure out some of these little details. And I’m not a picky detail kind of person in general. I don’t know why I have the patience, maybe because I’m moving and active at the same time.

I’ve done about as much as I can on these brackets and other moves these last couple of weeks. I think the brackets are just a little bit better than they were in this video. And I’ll have to go with that for now.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Eva June 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

You have great placement on your brackets! Watch the edges when you come back to the short axis though. They appear to be on a diagonal instead of an outside edge. Once you get a bit more power into your push, it should help. Great job!
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mary June 9, 2013 at 4:31 am

Thanks for watching and commenting with a thoughtful critique! I see at least one instance where I don’t come into the axis just right, but even more so a few instances of pushing off onto the new edge on an angle somewhat outside of the circle. Is that what you mean? On my actual test I didn’t get any judge complaints about the roundness of the circles but plenty of complaints about wobbles and turns that went outside the circle just after the turn or flats just before the turn, so that’s where I will focus my energies for now.


Eva July 9, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Sorry it took me so long to see your reply, Mary! Your forward inside brackets (the 2nd half of the move) both come back to the axis on a diagonal instead of on the outside edge. Your entry edge is fine, but after the bracket turn, you tend to wobble a bit before your blade settles down on a diagonal (a straight/flat) instead of an outside edge. One helpful tip I got from two coaches was to think about the shape of these moves as “lemons.” Think about going in and coming out of the brackets on a steep angle like a lemon. Your skate will actually flatten out to the point where they are half circles. Hope that helps!
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mary July 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I will have to watch for that error. I just had a lesson on the brackets today, first lesson on moves I’ve had in a while (and since I have an exhibition skate and a competition coming up, probably the lsat one for a while, too). Word of the day is that I need to use more knee and ankle action instead of relying so much on my hips and shoulders to make the turn. I’m still impressed that you got bonus points on your brackets!


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