First Up, Second Up, Third Up (Tom Zakrajsek)

World and Olympic coach Tom Zakrajsek explains what he means by the terms “first up,” “second up,” and “third up” as these terms continue to be used more and more commonly among coaches and skaters. Tom says, “When I’m coaching jumping I’m always queuing the skater by saying ‘up, up, up.’ I really feel there are 3 ups in a jump, first up, second up, third up.”

The “first up” is essentially the final moments of the take-off before the jump leaves the ice, or the position of the body the very moment the skater leaves the ice. Tom notes that this “up” typically has some “space” between the arms/hands and the body and the legs are also not tight at this moment (h-position is an example). For the first up Tom says, “I like for the skaters to think, no matter which jump they’re doing, that they’re jumping off both feet at the same time so they feel straight and stacked in balance.”

The “second up” is the efficient rotational air position of the jump. This tight air position feels to many skaters like stretching upward, hence the second up.

The “third up” is the moment of impact when returning to the ice, thus initiating the landing movements. The skater must fight gravity and the downward inertia of the jump, hence the third up. Tom explains, “The skater has to activate their head and their thoracic spine and pull up over their skating hip in order to check out.” He then talks more about the third up, including the details of the eagle landing position, the arms to a frame, and the legs to a triangle. He also discusses the variations in what the moment of impact looks like depending on how high the jump is and how early the skater finishes the rotation in the air (h-position, skinny-D, etc).


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