Jump and Spin Techniques

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San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Gustave Lussi -
Systematic Figure Skating Series  


    In April 1990, the PBS television network showed a documentary film on Gustave Lussi: The Man Who Changed Skating. The documentary produced by station WCFE-TV was conceived and co-produced by his former student Cecily Morrow.

    Ms Morrow worked with him for several decades from 1969 until he died in 1993. She is keeping Mr. Lussi's methods alive and presents his ideas in a format that clearly documents his teaching methodology. Systematic Figure Skating:  The Spin and Jump Techniques of Gustave Lussi. a four volume video series filmed with Mr. Lussi  has been produced, co-directed and narrated Cecily Morrow.  Skaters were filmed in  a lesson format to demonstrate Mr. Lussi's teaching methods.

    Skatetape.com sells the original three volumes of the Gustave Lussi Systemic Figure Skating series, consisting of 3 volumes of VHS video tapes.  DVDs of the series are scheduled to be released late in the summer of 2011.

Advanced Jumps is the fourth volume in the series.  It features Mr. Lussi's techniquics
of executing single, double, and triple rotations of loop, flip, and Lutz jumps.  This, the
last volume, is in the final production stages and has a planned release date in the fall of 2011. 

Delaying Jump Rotation
    His concept of jumping was for a skater to prevent the occurrence of core body rotation prior to springing into the air. He directed skaters to take off and continue "forward" in a straight line trajectory for as long possible.  The initiation of rotation of the core body was suspended or delayed until reaching the apex of the jump. At this time the body would perform a "reverse under" and instantly turn from forward to backward initiated by turning the head in the direction of rotation. This causes the core body, if in an upright balanced position, to pivot around the landing hip and leg (rotate/spin around the long axis of the body). The speed of the rotation achieved in the air would depend on the tightness of the arms and legs folding into the "reverse under" position. 

   A skater's ability to complete the rotation in the air would allow a momentarily "pause" in the air to occur before the touch down of the landing foot. The key is that in the last half rotation in the air, the skater opens up their body position to stop (cancel) the rotation to achieve a controlled landing. The goal is for the skater to maintain the speed matching the takeoff velocity while landing backward. Mr. Lussi wanted the skater to exit on a straight line (controlled edge) rather than on a deeply hooked landing edge with the free leg swinging around in an tightly curving arc causing the residual centrifugal force of the jump's rotation to pull the body off balance.

    Mr. Lussi emphasized the position of the shoulders and arms in the air. He stressed extending the arms from the shoulders to cause the delay in initiating the rotation in the forward trajectory, then, at the reverse under, the forearms folded to lay horizontal to the ice, flat palm over flat palm in at waist level, the elbows out to the sides (higher than the hands.)  

    Mr. Lussi did not want skaters to skate on a deep curving entry into a jump.  He wanted skaters to enter into jumps on as straight a line as possible when taking off for all jumps as a means  "to counteract the tendency to pre-rotate." Similarly, on the landing. he wanted the jump's exit edge to be on as straight a line as possible to maintain speed on the landing to avoid a sideways/deep curving edge with the free leg swinging around in a large arc causing the body to drastically lose speed or even resulting in an unchoreographed stop.

The Systematic
Figure Skating Series  
   The video series documents the innovative teaching methods of Gustave F. Lussi, world-renowned coach of such champions as Dick Button and Dorothy Hamill. Each one-hour volume, in the four volume series, allows the viewer a rink side seat in actual lessons as Mr. Lussi presents in detail the methodology he developed such as the flying sit spin, the flying camel, the Hamill camel.

Volume I:
Basic Spins provides step-by-step instructions from Mr. Lussi as he  reveals his legendary spinning techniques developed and taught by Mr. Lussi as the basis to prepare students for multi-revolution jumping.
1992 Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Wylie is observed as Mr. Lussi teaches Paul the techniques, and Paul is learning them on camera in a lessons on: sit spin, forward scratch spin, back scratch spin, as well as steps into and out of the spins.

Slow-motion and stop action video, as well as detailed chalk-board diagrams, are used to fully explain the necessary elements required to perform each spin.

Volume II:
Advanced Spins features skaters recieving step-by-step instruction by Mr. Lussi on the camel, flying camel, flying sit, and combination spins.

Volume III:
Basic Jumps features Paul Wylie recieving step-by-step instruction on Mr. Lussi's techniquics of executing the salcow, flip, lutz, loop, axel, and combination spins.

Volume IV:
Advanced Jumps  features the Lussi techniquics of executing single, double, and triple rotations of loop, flip, and Lutz jumps. This is a new volume with a planned release date in the fall of 2011.



  • The Underated Spin by Alexandra Stevenson    Lussi felt the back spin was the key in developing the correct stance for jumps. Button was the first to do a double axel in competition and later, in 1952, in his last year of competition, became the first to do a triple jump, the loop, which helped him win his second Olympic gold.
Lussi also worked with Ronnie Robertson, who was second in the 1956 Olympics when he and the Jenkins brothers swept the medals for the United States. To this day Robertson is acknowledged as the world’s fastest spinner.

  • Lussi Systematic Jump & Spin Techiques

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