General principles of English Style Skating

A          The essentials of the English Style are :

  • Upright carriage
  • The head erect towards the direction of travel
  • The body held sideways
  • The employed leg straight, but not stiff
  • The unemployed foot held close to and not in front of the employed foot
  • The elbows kept near to the body
  • The stroke taken from the side of the skate, and not from the toe
  • The skate on a running edge
  • Ability to hold an edge without rotating the body, except for the purpose of preparation or correction of body position before and after a turn
  • Maintenance of reasonable speed.

Additionally for Hand-in Hand skating :

  1. For all holds, the pair, normally one woman and one man, should skate close together, with all movements in unison, and without apparent effort
  2. After striking onto an edge, one partner must lead and the other follow
  3. The partners’ strike and turns should synchronise
  4. There should be no apparent pulling of ne partner or the other, and edges should be parallel, and where appropriate to the hold and figure, nearly superimposed.


B         English Style Skating consists of 3 elements, namely Eights, Big Turns and Sets of Combined Figures, skated individually or with a partner (Hand-in-Hand).

Eights are a comprehensive set of school figures, skated to a fixed point, or marker, on the ice.
The diameter of each circle should be at least 4m, or for Hand-in-Hand at least 6m. For Hand-in-Hand this is measured from the marker to the partner on the inside of the circle.
In a test or competition, the figure is skated three times on each foot, starting with the right foot, without pause.
At the commencement of a figure, the centre must be approached with a preliminary stroke or strokes.
Big Turns
Big Turns are a single sequence of edges and/or turns skated at speed to one or more fixed points, or markers, on the ice.
The turns must be skated on each foot.
The length of each curve must be at least 12m unless otherwise stated.
Each turn must be placed close to and on the near side of a marker on the ice, except in Hand-in-Hand skating, where partners’ turns should be equidistant from the marker.
Combined Figures (Sets) are a series of edges and turns skated simultaneously by two or more persons, and symmetrically with regard a fixed point (centre) on the ice in response to instructions from a Caller.
Crossing and simultaneous Sets :- There are two methods of skating sets, termed the crossing and the simultaneous method.
Crossing : When skating in the crossing method, the number of skaters must be even. The skaters approach, pass, and leave the centre in successive pairs, the two members of each pair keeping the centre exactly between them. As pairs cross the centre, the skaters re-establish as soon as possible their symmetrical disposition.
Simultaneous : In the simultaneous method, the number of skaters may be odd or even. The skaters approach, pass and leave the centre simultaneously, maintaining their symmetrical disposition and their position relative to whoever is on their left / right hand side.

When skating sets, which should consist of two or more Combined Figures, the following rules apply :

  1. Skaters must time their steps to follow the calls
  2. At the commencement of a set the centre must be approached on the left hand side with a preliminary stroke or strokes
  3. Every figure of a set must be started from the central marker on the right foot, and repeated on the left foot before continuing on to the next figure
  4. All movements and parts of movements and changes of direction must be skated in the order in which they are called
  5. Skater(s) must maintain a position symmetrical to the centre and skate simultaneously with one another
  6. Sets shall be skated in a circular pattern around the centre at distances appropriate to the surface area of the ice. Two circles shall always be used, (“Circle” and “Sub-circle”). Where the size of the rink permits, a larger circle (“Super-circle”) shall also be used.
  7. The end of a Set must be indicated by the word “Dismiss”.