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Training Approaches to Jumping

Beginning Skating Programs  
Both the Ice skating Institute (ISI) and the United States Figure Skating Association (USFS) have developed instructional plans for "Learn to Skate" group classes and workshops for recreational skaters who are in transition to become full members in the USFS tests and for qualifying and non qualifying competition events.

      As skaters become more proficient in developing their skating skills, the challenge of testing and competing leads ultimately to taking private lessons and practicing on special sessions for dance, free skating, MITF, synchronized skating, and Theater on Ice.

      Skaters need to develop fundamental skating skills - forward and backward edges, one and two foot turns, stroking, etc. prior to exclusively concentrating on any one figure skating discipline.

      Most skaters generally want to learn how to jump and spin once they have acquired the basic skating skills.  Attempting to free skate - jump and spin - without being able to skate solid edges with full control is possible; however, this may result in acquiring serious technical errors that must be corrected a some later date. Rushing to learn skills can be a huge waste of time, energy, and money compared to taking the time to learn and master the proper technique the first time.

      There seems to be a sense of urgency in parents and some coaches, that skaters must achieve a high performance level of multi-revolution jumps, advanced levels of spins, step sequences, and extreme flexibility by the age (12 and under) to qualify for juvenile free skating events.

      Unlike public school, skaters start at various ages and the level of their training is highly variable. This makes it impossible to have a standardized national performance norm as used in the K through 12 public education system (math, english, spelling, etc.) in which attendance is required and the instruction is free.
Jumping Techniques

      Coaches use one or a combination of three different jumping approaches that are widely used to teach basic and advanced jumping skills. The only admonishment in total agreement is that a wrapped free leg position is an error requiring a negative GOE by judges.

      The skater's age, body proportions, shape, and weight affect how coaches may approach teaching jumps, especially advanced multi-revolution jumps.  Body changes that occur as young skaters go through puberty can cause skaters to experience difficulty in performing advanced jumps they previously had mastered.

The Gus Lussi jumping technique skaters are taught to jump up first by springing from the skating knee straightening, coordinated with the full extension of the free leg, followed by rotating around the landing foot in a back spin position in the air. The full rotation was completed prior to landing on a curve and flow matching the takeoff. Dick Button was Lussi's first student to perform the delayed Axel, Triple Loop jump, and flying camel spin in national and international competitions.

Gus Lussi (1898 – June 23, 1993) was a figure skating coach. His students include many champions, such as Dick Button, Donald Jackson, Ronald Robertson, Ronald Ludington, Barbara Ann Scott, David Jenkins, Hayes Jenkins, Dorothy Hamill (during her novice years), John Misha Petkevich, and John Curry.  Some of Lussi's students, such as Robin Wagner, Cecily Morrow, Evelyn Kramer, and Priscilla Hill have also become successful coaches.

Lussi is widely viewed as being responsible for developing modern figure skating jump technique, including the cross-legged or back spin position in the air. Lussi's skaters are also known for their spinning technique.

There are on ice Jump Harness Training Systems that coaches are using to assist skaters in learning multi-revolution jumps. The concept is to help figure skaters build confidence as they start to learn new figure skating maneuvers, jumps, tricks and lifts.

As a figure skater's confidence grows, the reliance on the jump training harness should be reduced until it is not required to successful land the jump.

The manufacturers of training harness/apparatus claim their equipment will significantly reduce learning times for acquiring new jumps and help skaters to land advanced jumps more consistently in their programs with less practice time.

This equipment requires a trained coach for the skater to be able to use the equipment on the ice.

One concept involves the continues rotation from takeoff through to the landing.

The elapsed time in the air is related to the speed across the ice and into the jumps and the tight rotation maintained throughout the takeoff to landing.

In Russia the coaches teach skaters the principles of achieving multi-revolutions from a standing position off ice.

Note: some coaches accept skidded takeoffs, hooked takeoffs and landings. The IJS has rules about down grading jumps that are under rotated. Up to, but not exceeding 1/4 revolution is considered acceptable.

      Incorrect takeoff edges receive an edge alert or a edge announcement by the Technical panel in IJS.

Elapsed Air Time
      The time to complete a jump can be calculated depending on the height and weight of the skater and the speed the skater has into the jump and the actual height off the ice the skater achieves.

      Skaters must be aware of their core body position in the air and by understanding he details of each part of the jump from beginning to end. There are both aerodynamics and physics that combine in the technical part of jumping, but there are stamina and psychology parts to the successful jumping equation. There is huge impact on a one-eighth inch wide steel blade when landing jumps.

      It takes considerable strength to control the twisting motion on their skate and lower body when attempting to land  jump," The greater the number of rotations, the more the torque is transferred to the blade, boot, ankle, and knee on the landing foot.

      Skaters need to learn about the theory of jumping, including correct body positions, the distribution of weight, maintaining focus, rhythm/timing, and the body lean prior to taking off, in the air, and in the landing/exit.

      Gravity pulls on our body at a force of 9.81 meters per second per second. The complexity of Skating is due to other forces - velocity across the ice and centrifugal force created by the jump's spin rotation. The amount of rotation that necessary to perform the jump must also be canceled out to land on a controlled edge. The actual opening of the arms to cancel the rotation must start while the skater is in the air on the downward part of the jump.

      To practice strengthen the braking action must also involve coordinate with the free leg beginning the actual position of the free leg pushing backwards in a controlled manner over the tracing rather then in an arc that swings to the side combined with the skater breaking at the waist with the free leg ending in an arabesque position.

      The free leg in exiting a jump follows the same as path as when a skater exits from a fast upright back scratch spin. The free leg must uncrossed, going forward to lift over the landing/spin foot, allowing the free leg to achieve an arc to the side prior to extending back over the tracing.

      Anything a skater does as a floor exercise should correspond directly with what is done on the ice. There are “off ice exercises” jump preparations, which compliment and correspond directly to on-ice jump landings! 

      Figure skaters, in all disciplines, benefit from ballet training. Skaters especially benefit from acquiring  flexibility on the bar combined with the control of arms, head, and foot positions related to core body alignment.


Role of Physics in Skating

Developing A Training Plan


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Fitness Training Considerations
Kirkpatrick's Evaluating Training Programs
Skating Training Environment
Training Figure Skaters
Group Classes
Fitness Training
Personal Training Plan
Daily Training Plan
Seasonal Training
Training for Junior & Senior Athletes
Age Guidelines for Training
Developing a Plan for Training
Developing Skating Skills
Group Training Stages
Training Priorities
Strategies of Sports Training
Training Task Analysis
Value of Annual Planning
Competitive Training Strategies
Verbal and Nonverbal Communications
PDF  Core Body Training
PDF  Endurance Training Plan

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
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