Figure Skating Levels: Basic Skills 1-6

Written By: Riedell | July 27, 2023

When learning a new skill, it’s essential to start with the basics. It can be tempting to set out on the ice with nothing more than determination and a desire to replicate the moves you’ve seen professional figure skaters perform, but you need to master the basics before moving on to more advanced and specialized areas of skating.

Learn to Skate USA’s Basic Skills curriculum is designed to give new skaters a solid introduction to the basics. The purpose of these basic levels is to introduce skaters to moving on the ice, help them gain confidence in their abilities, and learn the simplest moves required to advance to more complex skating skills, jumps, and spins.

These six progressive levels will introduce basic forward and backward skating, stops, crossovers, edges, and turns. Classes are well-structured with devoted instructors whose goal is to help you succeed and enjoy the learning process!

There is no set timeline for how long it takes to learn to skate. Each skater is encouraged to progress at a pace that’s comfortable for them, and they’ll only advance to the next level once they demonstrate mastery of their current level. 

Basic Skills 1 & 2 

The first two figure skating basic skills levels are introductory courses designed for new skaters with no prior skating experience. These levels will help new skaters learn confidence on the ice and simple movements to give them the foundation needed to learn and master new skating skills, jumps, and spins.

In the first level, skaters will learn to sit on the ice and stand up. Next, they’ll master marching forward across the ice. They’ll be taught to do a forward two-foot glide, dip, forward swizzles (6-8 in a row), backward wiggles (6-8 in a row), and a beginning snowplow stop on two feet or one foot. An optional bonus skill skaters can master before moving on to level two is performing a two-foot hop in place.

Once skaters have succeeded in mastering those skills, they can move on to Basic 2. At that point, they’ll learn to do scooter pushes (R and L), forward one-foot glides (R and L), backward two-foot glide (glide the length of skaters height), rocking horse (one forward swizzle, one backward swizzle, repeated twice), backward swizzles (6-8 in a row), two-foot turns from forward to backward in place (clockwise and counterclockwise), and moving snowplow stop. Skaters can also learn curves as a bonus skill in this stage. 

Basic Levels 3-6

These basic levels help skaters learn the fundamental skating skills needed to advance to more specialized and advanced areas of figure skating. The focus of these levels is on learning the ABCs of basic athleticism: agility, balance, coordination, and speed. Once skaters complete these levels, they can move on to other areas of skating, and many begin the Learn to Skate USA Free Skate levels after completing the basic levels. 

Remember, it’s okay to advance at your own pace! Learn to set goals and track your skating development to continue feeling confident and positive as you progress through the basic levels. 

In Basic 3, skaters will learn:

  • Beginning forward stroking showing correct use of blade
  • Forward half swizzle pumps on a circle — 6–8 consecutive clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Moving forward to backward two-foot turns on a circle — clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Beginning backward one-foot glides — focus on balance
  • Backward snowplow stop — R and L
  • Forward slalom
  • Bonus Skill: Forward pivots – clockwise and counterclockwise

In Basic 4, skaters will learn:

  • Forward outside edge on a circle — R and L 
  • Forward inside edge on a circle — R and L
  • Forward crossovers — clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Backward half swizzle pumps on a circle — clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Backward one-foot glides — R and L
  • Beginning two-foot spin — Up to two revolutions
  • Bonus Skill: Forward lunges — both legs

In Basic 5, skaters will learn: 

  • Backward outside edge on a circle — R and L
  • Backward inside edge on a circle — R and L
  • Backward crossovers — clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Forward outside three-turn — R and L
  • Advanced two-foot spin — 4–6
  • Hockey stop — both directions
  • Bonus Skill:  Side toe hop — R and L

In Basic 6 (the final basic level), skaters will learn: 

  • Forward inside three-turn — R and L
  • Moving backward to forward two-foot turn on a circle — clockwise and counterclockwise
  • Backward stroking
  • Beginning one-foot spin — 2–4 revolutions, optional free leg position and entry
  • T-stops – R and L
  • Bunny hop
  • Forward spiral on a straight line — R or L
  • Bonus Skill:  Shoot the duck — R or L

Once skaters have shown mastery of the skills, jumps, and spins in Basic 6, they’re ready to move on to the next stage of their skating journey! For many, this involves continuing recreational lessons, and Learn to Skate USA’s Free Skate curriculum is the perfect program to transition to after completing the basic levels.

Get Started With the Right Equipment With Riedell

Whether you’re debating what to wear on the ice or which pair of skates is best for you, we can help. We offer lines of skates for everyone, from beginners to advanced competitors. If you’re just getting started, you’ll want to check out our developmental series to find a pair that will set you up for success! Remember, your equipment is just as important as your eagerness to learn.