Skating Club of Saugerties

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The Skaters Corner Blog

Types of Tests: Moves in the Field

Posted by Lynda Westlund on November 11, 2017 at 3:35 PM


MOVES IN THE FIELD Athletes typically begin their testing with the Moves in the Field track. This is because Moves in the Field is considered a “prerequisite” or baseline test series. This means that in order to take a discipline specific test, like free skating or pairs, the skater must first pass the equivalent Moves in the Field test.

Moves in the Field tests the skater’s ability in skating skills. They help athletes to learn skating skills and turns that are necessary to be successful in any discipline of figure skating, focusing on accuracy, posture and carriage, bilateral movement, strength, power, extension, edge quality, continuous flow, quickness and turn execution. It is impossible to become a high level skater in any area or discipline of skating without mastering these skills. Doing so would be similar to attempting to read without understanding the alphabet.

Each level in Moves in the Field consists of four – six set patterns that must be performed by the skater. Each level requires that skaters perform skills in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, on both the right and left feet, and on both inside and outside edges.

Each level in the series builds upon the one before it. Skaters at the lowest level begin learning stroking technique, basic consecutive edges, spirals, and a “waltz eight” pattern with two easy turns. With each progressive test new skills are layered on. Skaters never stop practicing what they learned in the beginning, it just becomes more challenging and intricate as they move up. The senior test, in a way, is a summary of every turn, edge and skill they learned over the years and it is expected to be performed at a superior level.

The patterns required at each level are found in the U.S. Figure Skating Tests Book. The Tests Book describes the pattern in detail, provides a diagram of what it looks like on the ice, and even designates a specific focus for that pattern (For example: “Power and Extension” or “Edge Quality,” etc.)

The MOVES IN THE FIELD tests progress through the following levels:

1. Pre-Preliminary 2. Preliminary 3. Pre-Juvenile 4. Juvenile 5. Intermediate 6. Novice 7. Junior 8. Senior

Athletes move at their own pace through the Moves in the Field tests, some preferring to spend a lot of time working their way up, and other athletes choosing to devote a lot of their skating time to them early, thus progressing more quickly. There is no “right or wrong” amount of time that it takes to advance to the next level, nor is there a perfect amount of time each week to practice them. Skaters and their parents should discuss their goals, desired time commitment and budget with their coach to develop a plan that works for the skater.

Generally, the higher a skater gets, the more time it takes to complete a level, and the more likely they are to have to “retry” a test. For example, at the pre-preliminary level, the middle range of skaters take approximately six months to pass the test, and spend 1 hour – 1 ½ hours per week working on it. Nearly all skaters will pass on their first try. By the time a skater reaches the novice or junior level, the middle range of skaters spend about three hours per week working on Moves in the Field, it will typically take between eight months and one year to pass, with the average skater taking about two attempts to pass.

If a skater does not pass, they will be asked to “retry” the test. While disappointment is natural, this is absolutely nothing to be ashamed, embarrassed of upset over. It does not in any way mean a skater is untalented or that they will be unsuccessful in the sport. It has happened to nearly every skater who has reached the top!

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