Comparing Lutz Take-Off Techniques (Nick Perna)

Figure skating jump specialist Nick Perna compares the 2 different types of take-offs we see for the lutz jump. In the video he is comparing a triple lutz take-off by 1998 Olympic Champion Ilia Kulik and a triple lutz take-off by 2018 Olympic Silver Medalist (and 2-time World Champion) Evgenia Medvedeva. Although there is more to the technical differences of these take-offs, the main point is to observe how Evgenia is facing completely forward with her entire body at the moment of lift-off, while Ilia has dramatic rotation of the shoulders ahead of the hips which are actually blocked and not facing forward.

Nick notes that male skaters more commonly use the blocked method, simply because they can jump higher and make up for the inefficiency of the lower body position at take-off with more air time. Many if not most female skaters (especially non-elite female skaters) performing triple lutz tend to take-off like Evgenia since they typically have lower air times and must pivot all the way to forward before lifting off the ice or they will not be able to complete the necessary rotations in the air.

Nick offers a tip to coaches: If a skater is strong, athletic, and jumps very high and naturally takes off with the hips-blocked technique, let them continue to use that technique. But if a skater cannot jump very high but takes off using the hips-blocked technique, it may make sense to switch to the pivot-forward technique in order to have success with the jump.

At the end, Nick also points out that the rocker of the picking foot should not be placed on the ice. If the skater drops from the toe pick onto the skate blade, the jump actually becomes a loop.


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