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The Shoot-the-Duck Is a Fun Ice Skating Move


A Figure Skater Does a Shoot the Duck

A Figure Skater Does a Shoot the Duck

Photo by JO ANN Schneider Farris
A shoot the duck is a fun ice skating move where the skater bends all the way down to the ice and glides on one foot while kicking the other foot completely forward.

Why Is a Figure Skating Move Named Shoot-the-Duck?:

No one really knows why or how the move got its name, but as a skater kicks the free leg forward, his or her leg shoots out. Some people say that perhaps the name shoot-the-duck came from a skater "ducking" down, while "shooting" the leg out...?!

Not Every Ice Skater Can Do Shoot-the-Ducks:

Not all figure skaters are able to do good shoot-the-ducks. The move is not required at U.S. Figure Skating's competitions or tests. The recreational ice skating organization, Ice Skating Institute (ISI), does include the shoot-the-duck in its test and competition structures; but since not everyone can do the move successfully, it also gives its skaters the option of substituting a lunge for a shoot-the-duck.

The position of the free leg in the shoot-the-duck is similar to the position in a sit spin. Oddly enough, some skaters can do great sit spins, but are unable to successfully do shoot-the-ducks. However, most skaters who can do good shoot-the-ducks can also do good sit spins. So, doing a good shoot-the-duck will help anyone become a better all around skater.

Ice dancers and pair skaters sometimes do shoot-the-ducks in combination with other moves. For example, the lady may be pulled through the man's legs while she is in the shoot-the-duck position. In a free dance, the skaters may perhaps glide together (forward or backward) while doing shoot-the-ducks.

How to Do a Shoot-the-Duck:

Skaters can do shoot-the-ducks in straight lines or on curves. The move can be done while skating forward or backward.

The easiest way to learn to do a shoot-the-duck is to first glide forward on two feet. Now, bend both knees and bend down into a sitting position. The skater should move fast as possible. While gliding on two feet, kick one foot forward and keep gliding on one foot.

Falling is Fun From a Shoot-the-Duck Position:

Most likely, the first time a skater attempts a shoot-the-duck, he or she will fall, but most skaters find that it is actually fun to fall on the move since the body is so close to the ice already. After falling on a shoot-the-duck, it's fun to slide on the ice! In fact, falling on purpose can actually help improve the move.

However, since the aim is to accomplish the move rather than to fall, falling can be avoided if a skater avoids leaning back and puts most of his or her weight over the skating foot. Some skaters find that pressing one hand on the skating knee and the other under the calf of the "shooting leg" makes the shoot-the-duck easier, and also assists with balancing. Others hold both arms out in front or to the sides while balancing on one foot.

Getting Up From a Shoot-the-Duck Is Not Easy:

The ISI required test or competition shoot-the-duck move done at the Delta level requires the skater to exit the maneuver on one foot. That technique is difficult, but certainly makes the move challenging! The ISI also expects a skater to glide for a distance equal to the skater's height and further requires that the skating hip be below the skating knee with the back straight over the hips. The free leg must be parallel to the ice and also be extended.

How to Play a Shoot-the-Duck Game:

A shoot-the-duck game is popular at many ice arenas. To play the game, the skaters skate as fast as they can around the rink. Then, someone shouts out, "shoot-the-duck!" and everyone bends down and does a shoot-the-duck. The one who holds the shoot-the-duck position for the longest time on one foot wins the game!

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