In the last installment of this one-foot turn series we are going to cover the loop, a miscellaneous one-foot turn that alike the traveling has it’s very own set of rules

What is a Loop?

Loops are a bit of an anomaly in the world of roller skating as there isn’t much literature that clearly describes what a loop actually is. I personally believe that this is because unlike the other one-foot turns where you are describing the location and resulting effect of a cusp (or lack of cusp i.e. traveling), a loop is more focused on creating a particular shape. As a result, the best way to describe this turn is to use pictures instead of words! However, for the sake of this blog I will do my best to put into words what constitutes a loop turn.

Loop Diagram
*Rotation is in relation to the initial edge i.e. same or counter to the direction of initial edge.

World Skate defines a loop as being a “a consecutive pair of matched spirals centered on the long axis of a circle”. I personally prefer the mental image my coach Debbie Kokonis lent me when I first began learning the loop figure – a loop is like a teardrop. When you can visualise the commonly understood shape of a teardrop, it makes it much easier to draw meaning from the literal description of “a pair of matching spirals”. One spiral creates the first half of the teardrop, and the other opposite but matching spiral constitutes the second half of the teardrop. 

It is because of this “loop” that the loop turn finds itself in the miscellaneous category, as similar to the traveling turn a loop turn does not possess a cusp and therefore can not fit into the same rotation cusp category of three’s and rockers or the counter rotation cusp category of brackets and counters

Another unique similarity of travelings and loops are their requirement for continuity. Travelings are defined as ‘multiple continuous rotations’ (World Skate, 2019b) and it is fair to suggest that a break in this successive rotation would allow the formation of an edge thus removing it’s validity as a correct traveling due to the presence of edges. In a way the same is true for a loop as one of the biggest mistakes made when performing a loop is a stop at the top of the loop (i.e. in between the two opposite but identical spirals). 

Now the reason this “stop” is so common in loops when performed both on and off a figure circle is that it is actually quite difficult to create this teardrop shaped turn in a continuous manner. With brackets for example the point of intersection (middle point of a cusp when the skate changes from forward to backward or backward to forward momentum) aids as a way of rotating the half rotation required to change direction. However for a loop there is no intersection point where the momentum must briefly cease so that the skate can rotate. Instead the skater is tasked with the objective of turning a full 360deg continuously on one foot whilst creating a teardrop (NOT A CIRCLE) and maintaining clear entry and exit edges that are symmetrical in shape. 

Another semi-similarity between travelings and loops is that they rotate more than half a revolution. A traveling requires a minimum of two full revolutions whereas a loop requires exactly one full revolution. It is because of this singular full revolution that loop turns do not result in a change of direction. Additionally it is the specific shape requirement of a loop that results in there being no change of edge. 

Similar to the two same rotation cusp turns, three’s and rockers, a loop rotates in the same direction as it’s initial edge, however it uses a loop shape instead of a cusp to generate rotation. Method of rotation aside, the loop still follows the same principle of a same rotation category turn in that it’s method of rotation (i.e. loop) performed in the same direction of the initial edge results in the turn rotating inside the circle. If the loop were to rotate counter to the initial edge (like brackets and counters) the loop would be created on the outside of the circle (see diagram below).

Descriptive Diagram showing the effects of rotation direction on location of the “loop” in a loop turn.

So let’s use an example to draw all of this together. If I was traveling in a forwards outside direction and decided I wanted to perform a loop, I would begin by preparing to rotate in the same direction of my initial edge. To generate rotation I would be careful to ‘draw’ the shoulders or entry edges of my loop and continuously rotate throughout the “teardrop”, ensuring the second exit edge or ‘shoulder’ of the loop was symmetrical. During this execution i would note that my overall trajectory had changed (use above loop diagram for reference), for whilst I was initially moving in a northern direction, the exit of the loop now has me moving in a southern direction.

Other key things to point out from this example is that because I created a continuous teardrop shape my edge and therefore direction never changed (i.e. I entered on a forward outside edge and exited on the same forward outside edge).

In Summary

  • Loops do not result in a change of direction
  • Loops do not result in a change of edge
  • They rotate in the same direction of the initial edge.
  • No cusp is present, rather a loop is used for rotation
  • No overall change in trajectory is present

Defining Loops

As mentioned in my travelings post, loops and travelings are distinguished by their direction of rotation rather than the correlation this rotation has to the initial or entry edge. Therefore loops are either viewed as being clockwise or anticlockwise. 

I hope you have enjoyed this one-foot turn series and found this information to be of some kind of use! Stay tuned until Friday for a brand new topic!

Ngā Mihi,

Sarah Butler
Founder of Māia Fitness

Reference List

Skate Australia (2012). Australian Artistic Committee Dance Manual Part 1. Edition 14. Retrieved from https://www.sk8info.org.au/manuals/dance1.pdf

Skate Australia. (2016). Australian Artistic Committee Figure ManualEdition 11. Retrieved from

World Skate. (2019). Rules for Artistic Skating Competitions Figures 2020 Retrieved from

World Skate. (2019a). Rules for Artistic Roller Skating Competitions General 2020 Retrieved from

World Skate. (2019b). Rules for Artistic Skating Competitions Solo Dance 2020 Retrieved from

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