Swizzles Help New Skaters Learn to Move Across the Ice

A Young Ice Skater Attempts Forward Swizzles
Photo by LWA/Dann Tardif / Blend Images / Getty Images

Swizzles make the shape of a fish or football on the ice and are done on two feet and on inside edges. The move helps beginning ice skaters learn how to move and glide forward or backward across the ice and swizzles also help new skaters gain confidence as they use their knees to make their blades glide over the ice.

In roller skating, Swizzles are called "scissors." Some ice skating schools call swizzles "fishes." Some ice skating rinks use the word "sculling" when referring to "swizzles."

Swizzles Help New Figure Skaters Learn to Stroke

All figure skaters should master forward swizzles before beginning to learn and master forward stroking and gliding on one foot.  

How to Do Swizzles

  1. First put your blades together with heels touching in a "V" position.
  2. On inside edges, push outward, then inward to make your toes touch. You should make the shape of a fish on the ice and have now done a forward swizzle or scissors.
  3. Repeat by doing several forward swizzles in a row.
  4. Now try going backward. Reverse the process, starting with your toes together on inside edges, move outward, then inward so your heels touch again.
  5. As you make the move, make sure to bend your knees. 

Swizzle Tip #1: The Rocking Horse Move Helps Skaters Master Swizzles

The rocking horse move is a fun and easy move that helps new ice skaters master swizzles and also helps skaters get used to gliding forward or backward on two feet. To do the rocking horse, simply do a forward swizzle and then a backward swizzle over and over again. Young children especially enjoy doing the rocking horse ice skating exercise. Adults find the rocking horse move useful as they get used to the feel of skating blades moving over the ice.

Swizzle Tip #2: Swizzles Are Done on Inside Edges

It is common for new ice skaters to struggle with swizzles because some skaters have a difficult time getting their feet to move forward or backward on inside edges. To make swizzles work, both blades must be pressed to the inside throughout the entire move.

Don't Get Discouraged: Swizzles Take Practice

Some new figure skaters may get discouraged or frustrated when they first learn how to do swizzles. It is very common for new ice skaters to give up when they can't bring their toes or heels completely together at first. When frustration sets in, relax and allow the feet to glide. In time, and with practice, swizzles will become easier to do. Don't give up!