Drills for Building a Double Loop (Audrey Weisiger)

In this figure skating video, Olympic coach Audrey Weisiger shares a number of drills to help improve the loop jump with the goal of developing a double loop.  The first drill she explains is designed to improve the backward outside edge, which is essential for the take off and landing of a loop jump.  Without control of this edge,  a consistent loop is not possible.  Audrey demonstrates the drill in which she glides backward on two feet and does a backward loop.  One key point she says to watch for with skaters beginning this drill is to make sure they are doing a loop, not just turning from forward to backward on the ice.  She tells skaters to “feel like they are doing a crossover” to prompt the proper motion.  This drill helps skaters learn to put ankle pressure on the front of their skate and transfer weight to the front of their blade.  She progresses this drill by adding a crossover and pivoting into a backspin.  This progression of the drill mimics the loop jump feeling, Audrey comments that it is an important drill to have skaters do before even thinking about attempting a double loop jump.

Audrey really likes to have her skaters practice drills like the ones in this video because they are fun and attainable.  Most skaters can agree that being able to master a drill that might be challenging the first few times is a lot more rewarding than spending an entire lesson repeatedly falling on double loops.

The next exercise Audrey demonstrates is a rolling backward outside 3-turn into a backspin followed by hopping on the bottom toe pick.  This exercise allows the skater to practice putting forward ankle pressure into the skate, turning the foot on the ice, the “nose over toes” position Audrey talks about, and rolling up to the bottom toe pick.

Audrey then discusses some drills to have skaters do once they have mastered a single loop jump in a frame, with the “h position” and are starting to work on double loop. One drill Audrey has a skater do when they are ready for double loop is a pivot drill.  This drill involves a backward pivot, a jump, “h position” and the skater landing in “d position” in a backspin.  The main focus of this drill is turning the axis foot underneath the skating side, pivoting and spinning on the toe.  The next step Audrey demonstrates involves the same pivot and jump straight up followed by 2 turns in the air and the landing in “d position.”  Notice Audrey also mentions the use of this drill with a forward pivot is great for teaching the axel, sal, and toe.  Audrey says,  “If you can master these two pivot drills… you have learned to do all the jumps on the rotation side of it, not necessarily the correct take-off, but staying on the axis correctly.”

Another drill Audrey uses once a skater is ready to start a double jump is a single with ankle contact.  This is a great drill because double jumps require closer and quicker movement than singles.  Having skaters do jumps with ankle contact in the air helps with the double by teaching quickness and the feeling of collecting the lower body after the lift.  For the double loop specifically Audrey has skaters do a single loop with ankle contact and land in a backspin to give them the feeling of staying in the “d position.”

At the end of the video, Audrey shares a few general strategies for teaching double jumps.  One tip she gives coaches is to look for height in the jump.  This can be done using video analysis software to evaluate airtime.  Each jump requires a specific minimum airtime to be possible.  A general concept she has skaters think about when starting a double jump is doing a single with an increase of rotation and staying in a tight air position.  Another crucial point she makes regarding coaching skaters double jumps is to always have a visual component.  She says it is very important to show your skaters what a good jump looks like. Skaters learn from watching good skaters.  Audrey calls this “monkey see, monkey do.”   Many people are visual learners, so this is very effective.

Along with showing the skater what the jump should look like, she recommends videotaping the skater’s jump and showing it to them.  When showing them their attempt she asks the skater, “Does it look the same?” (referring to the correct model shown prior to the skater attempting the jump)  This helps the skater see what looks different about their jump from the correct model, they will usually be able to correct the problem more easily when they see it themselves, than if they are told by a coach.


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