Figure Skating Split Jump with Champion Cords (Sheila Thelen)

Sheila Thelen explains the details of the split jump.  As the split jump is considered a relatively easy skill in figure skating, it rarely gets much attention in seminars and workshops so coaches often struggle with how to teach it.  Most coaches typically have skaters that can just automatically do it well and others that never seem to get it.

As Sheila explains, one of the keys to the split jump is that all of the energy needs to go up.  So many skaters slam the toe pick down and have excessive “down energy” when initiating a split jump.  This kills the flow and reduces the height.  As Sheila explains, a major keys is to get the knees up (and hence the feet since the legs should be straight).  She also notes that the legs should come up equally.

Sheila takes a moment to explain that the skater must jump first and then split.  Otherwise the split jump will lack height and smooth movement.  Sheila notes that skaters that actually split while they jump tend to look “spastic.”

Editor’s note:  One of the keys to “jumping first” before splitting is keeping the free let moving through and making absolutely certain the jump is coming off only one foot.  Skaters than tend to jump off both feet at the same time also have problems with flow and lift.  To many skaters, keeping the free foot moving while they are technically still on the ice “feels like” they are splitting before jumping.  How a good split jump “feels” appears to be highly individual and variable from one skater to the next.  Some skaters can accurately feel the movement of the free leg through while they press up off the toe pick prior to splitting aggressively.  Others feel it as being initiated by the split.

Sheila offers a great tip for skaters and coaches alike in using Champion Cords for teaching and learning split jumps.  She shows how to modify the hand hold to be the desired benefit.

The two split jumps performed by the demonstrator are repeated at the end of the video both full speed and in slow motion for your analysis.  Notice in slow motion how the skater is clearly coming off one foot.  Also notice that the free foot has moved well past the toe pick at the moment the picking skate leaves the ice.  And finally, notice the strong splitting motion just AFTER the skater leaves the ice.  Slow motion video is worth a ten thousand words!!!


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