Free Skating Jumps

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Free Skating Jump Phases 

   The ISU has divided jumps into four separate and specific phases or stages.  The Technical panel uses the Take-off and landing (Exit Edge) to determine if the jump has been under rotated.

   Judges under the IJS evaluate all four phases or stages to arrive at a Grade of Execution (GOE) mark.

The four separate phases (stages) of a jump are:

  • Entry
    • Assessed for difficulty/complexity
    • Speed
  • Take-off
    • Solid curve on correct edge
    • Erect core body
    • Controlled free leg without a wide swing
  • Air position
    • Erect core body
    • Controlled rotation without any wobble. tilt, lean or loss of balance
    • Free leg position
  • Landing
    • Solid curve
    • Erect core body
    • Controlled free leg without a wide swing
    • Bent skating knee to cushion landing
    There is general agreement that the ability to rotate smoothly around an axis in the air is related to the ability of a skater to perform fast and centered forward and backwards scratch spins.

   While there is time to recover from a rotational wobble in single revolution jumps, every problem become more difficult to recover from in an axel and all other multi- rotational jumps.

   There are three potential axis lines a skater can rotate around:
  • The take off edge or tap foot
  • The central or core body axis that represents an equal distribution of mass/weight
  • The landing foot
  At some point after taking off, the skater must be able to transfer weight to the landing foot to allow for a successful check of rotation and the jump exit on a long controlled, sustained edge that minimizes the loss of flow.

There are two basic theories (concepts) coaches use to teach figure skating jumps:

   Jumping ability is stressed as part of the takeoff -
  • Jump as high as possible without pre rotation
    • Start with as much speed as can be controlled.  Ideally the takeoff curve is "clean" and without any skidding or hooking of the edge
    • Rotation is initiated after springing into the are. Transition to the landing foot occur at some point in the air
    • Rotation is checked in the air prior to landing
    • Landing occurs on a curve that continues the arc of the entry edge
    • Maintain speed entering the jump with a matching flow on exiting the jump
    • Exhibit a controlled landing position holding the curve without immediately stepping forward or a back crossover
   The continuous rotation is stressed as part of the takeoff -
  • Initiation of rotation at the start of the jump
    • Start with as much speed as can be controlled. The edge into the jump may be skidded or hooked
    • Rotation begins at the start of the jump and continues throughout the elapsed time in the air
    • Transfer of weight to the landing leg in preparation to land tends to occur late in the rotation, prior to checking the rotation for landing
    • Lands on a curve with the free leg on an arc matching the takeoff edge
    • Maintain speed entering the jump with a matching flow on exiting the jump
    • The landing position may not be fully controlled to allow holding the exit curve without immediately stepping forward or performing a back crossover
ISU Figure Skating Elements CD-ROMs 1, 2, 3 - Jumps  The ISU Figure Skating Elements Series is devoted to teaching the key techniques of the sport. CD-ROMs 1,2, & 3: Jumps - Axel, Salchow, Loop, Toeloop, Flip, Lutz

Information provided for each jump:

  1. Detailed analysis of technique
  2. Common errors and corrections
  3. Muscle groups used to stabilize the take off position, and those used to lift the skater into the air
  4. Exercises to strengthen muscles used
  5. Comments from leading skaters and coaches
Gustave Lussi's Systematic teaching Method -
    An open jump position or the delay of starting the rotation in an Axel jump were considered crowd wowing jumps prior to Dick Button performing the first double axel. Gus Lussi coached Dick Button throughout his amateur skating career.

    Lussi is given credit for developing the now-standard modern free skating jump technique of a cross-legged or back spin position in the air.  Many of Mr. Lussi's students have become successful coaches who have passed on his techniques to subsequent generations of skaters.

ISU Judging System
    In determining if a jump has been fully rotated, Judges and Technical Specialists must consider if the jump was pre rotated on the takeoff as well as if the landing has been under rotated. All jumps should have continuously flowing edges preceding the jump's takeoff. 

   Sometimes skaters hold an entry edge prior to initiating the Salchow and Loop jump takeoff. They frequently will then use a pulling (hooking) motion to achieve the timing to perform the jump .

   Judges and Technical Specialists pay special attention to the placement of the tap foot in the Toe Loop jump.  Most skater use an inside 3-Turn as an entrance to the Toe Loop. A major problem can occur if the skater is unable to control the swinging arc of the free leg as it causes the tap foot to be inserted in a crossed behind position relative to the tracing of back outside edge of the skating foot. The diagrams properly show the tap foot position to be parallel to the tracing to the skating foot and NOT crossing behind the tracing.

The Physics of Skating

ISU List of Jumps and their computer code.

Jump Definitions:
  • Half revolution jump – any jump of one-half (180 degrees) revolution in the air
  • Single jump – any jump of 1 or more, but less than 2, revolutions in the air
  • Double jump – any jump of 2 or more, but less than 3, revolutions in the air
  • Triple jump – any jump of 3 or more, but less than 4, revolutions in the air
  • Quadruple jump – any jump of 4 or more, but less than 5, revolutions in the air

   The jump diagrams were last published in the 2008-09 USFS Test Book. The diagrams illustrating the multi-rotation jumps illustrate the rotation occuring beginning with the initiating of the jump for the Axel, Salchow, and Toe Loop. This is sometimes referred to as the Russian approach to jumping.

   The Gustave Lussi, Dick Button's coach, jumping method emphasized that jumps should first obtain height and that the rotation started as the skater approached or achieve their full elevation. The result produced a delay followed by a quick, controlled back spinning position in the air. The skater checked the rotation in the air as they would exit their back spin, thus avoiding a wide swinging free leg that would pull a skater off of their landing edge.

  The Lussi method emphasizes mastering the skills of the upright back spin and achieves a uniform rotation and landing concept that avoids the skater learning each jump as a completely new element rather primary difference being a different take off edge.


fo ½ Tbo
Three jump (waltz jump)
fo 1 ½ Tbo  Axel
fo 2 ½ Tbo
Double Axel

fo 3 ½ Tbo  Triple Axel

fo 1 ½ Tbi  One Foot Axl

fo 2 ½ Tbi  Double One Foot Axel

fi 1 ½ Tbo  Inside Axel

fi 2 ½ Tbo  Double Inside Axel

bi 1 Tbo  Single Salchow

bi 2 Tbo  Double Salchow

bi 3 Tbo  Triple Salchow

bi 4 Tbo  Quad Salchow

bi! ½ T!fi  Half Flip

bi! 1 Tbo  Single Flip

bi! 2 Tbo  Double Flip

bi! 3 Tbo  Triple Flip

bi! 4 Tbo  Quad Flip

bo 1 Tbi  Half loop (Thoren) - -

bo 1 Tbo  Single Loop (Rittberger)  1Lo

bo 2 Tbo  Double Loop

bo 3 Tbo  Triple Loop

bo 4 Tbo  Quad Loop

bo! 1 Tbo  Single Toe Loop

bo! 2 Tbo  Double Toe Loop

bo! 3 Tbo  Triple Toe Loop

bo! 4 Tbo  Quad Toe Loop

bi! ½ ^ T!fi  Split

bi! 1 ^ Tbo
Split Flip

bo! 1 Cbo  Single Lutz

bo! 2 Cbo
Double Lutz

bo! 3 Cbo  Triple Lutz

bo! 4 Cbo
Quad Lutz

bo! 1^ Cbo  Split Lutz

bo! 2^ Cbo  Split Double Lutz

bi 1 Cbo  Walley

bi! 1 Cbo  Single Toe Walley

bi! 2 Cbo  Double Toe Walley

bi! 3 Cbo  Triple Toe Walley

bi! 4 Cbo Quadruple Toe Walley



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