What Is A Crossover In Figure Skating?

What Is A Crossover In Figure Skating

A crossover is one of the basic fundamentals of not just figure skating but learning how to ice skate altogether. This technique is essential for basic learning purposes and for the highest levels of competition. Read on to learn what a crossover is in figure skating.

How to Perform a Crossover

As the name implies, a crossover is when a skater crosses their outside skate over their inside skate. To perform one, a person must have their inside foot out front of their outside foot. When the outside edge crosses over, the skater’s weight is then transferred and their inside foot becomes the new skating foot. This means the inside foot slides underneath the outside foot to open the skater back up. It may sound fairly complicated and does take time to learn. However, once it’s mastered, the crossover is a basic exercise that becomes muscle memory and helps skaters at all levels.

Backward Crossovers

A crossover can be done both forwards and backwards, but it’s much easier to learn how to do it forwards first. However, the technique is nearly identical, so when a person masters the forward crossover, the backwards one shouldn't take too long to figure out. To perform a backward crossover, a skater must first be gliding on both feet, looking in the direction they’re going.

For example, if the person is moving right, then their head should be facing right. Next, the skater crosses their inside foot over their outside foot. So, if the person is moving right, then their left foot crosses over their right foot. The right foot then, right after the crossover, slides underneath to return the skater back to normal.

Functionality of Crossovers

It’s borderline impossible to become a competitive figure skater without being able to perform a crossover. It’s essential for figure skaters in turning, transitioning from forwards to backwards and vice versa, and building momentum/speed. They’re not necessarily critiqued by judges, but they’re used before and after almost every single move by a figure skater.

Out of the functionalities listed, there’s no one that’s more important than the other. In other words, they work simultaneously. Also, figure skaters don’t just use one crossover in their routines, but they’ll usually set up their more complicated moves with several crossovers.


What is a crossover in figure skating?

A crossover is a basic action performed by every figure skater, in which they’ll take their outside foot and cross it over their inside foot. Crossovers can be done both forwards and backwards and are vital for any figure skating routine. They help skaters navigate turns, transition, and build speed before and after every move performed.

How many crossovers do figure skaters perform?

Crossovers aren’t counted nor scored by judges in any competition, similar to how gliding isn’t counted nor scored. Instead, the crossover is a fundamental act that’s routinely performed so the skater can do all of their moves. However, balance is a scored element of figure skating, so if a skater trips while doing a crossover, that can be held against them.