Coaching Advice: When Is a Skater Ready? (Audrey Weisiger)

World and Olympic figure skating coach Audrey Weisiger discusses at length the issues associated with determining when a skater is ready to try new elements, particularly new jumps.

One factor to take into account is jump air time. If a single jump lacks enough air time to do the double, it may not make much sense to work on the double. Same when going from doubles to triples. Audrey recommends using “Dartfish” in the video to measure air times, but most coaches now use video analysis apps on their phones and tablets.

Summary Of Minimum Jump Air Times (Trevor Laak)

But Audrey makes the point that it is helpful for most skaters to start working on more advanced jumps even without the necessary air time. She says, “It’s not a bad idea to give them an experience and let them feel what it feels like.” Using a pole harness or overhead on-ice harness can be very helpful, as long as the focus is on correct jump technique.

Audrey also notes that often skaters can land a double with poor take-off technique, but that poor take-off will make the triple impossible, even with enough air time. She says, “The margin of error for a double is much greater than the margin of error for a triple. You want them to have really good take-off technique before you let them start adding that extra rotation.”

One important recommendation that Audrey shares with coaches to help them see if their skaters are ready to move on, is to look at and analyze the take-off print of the jump. If a double has a poor take-off print, that suggests there’s a problem with the technique that needs to be corrected. She says, “Maybe the rink is crowded and (coaches) are intimidated to go out on the ice and actually look at the take-off print. But in my opinion, if you’re not doing that you’re doing a disservice to your skater. Go look at their print.”


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