Head Position and Movement on Jump Take-Offs (Jeremy Allen)

International coach and jump specialist Jeremy Allen offers detailed insights about head position and movement during the final moments of a jump take-off. Like most elite coaches, Jeremy advocates head anchoring where the head remains still with respect to the rink while the body and shoulders turn under it. This is important for developing proper axis for the jump and it also allows the skater to more quickly reach the proper air position. Many skaters also note that it better allows them to “feel” the jump take-off.

Jeremy notes that it’s simply not natural for many skaters to anchor the head in this way. One of Jeremy’s favorite exercises is repeated half walleys (landing on the opposite foot) down the ice focusing entirely on head anchoring, or as he calls it “spotting forward.” He says, “Try to spot forward against your [axis] shoulder as long as you can.” Jeremy also talks about the axis-side arm and shoulder at take-off and he explains that he likes it when “a kid can blast through and up a little bit more, and that’s going to create more power for the rotation.”

As Jeremy notes, learning to anchor the head is something coaches and skaters should stress from the very beginning of the jump development process, even before learning single jumps. He show a simple two foot exercise going down the blue line that teaches the basic concept and sensations to skaters, even before they start jumping. And by adding a two-foot to two-foot jump with rotation to the exercise, it really helps skaters master the head anchor without focusing on specific jump technique. He explains and demonstrates these exercises in detail.

Once skaters have mastered these exercises, Jeremy then stresses head anchoring continuously during single jump development. If a skater cannot master head anchoring via “spotting forward” (and some skaters simply can’t), Jeremy says the next best option is to allow the head to turn during the initial movements, but then stop it (anchor it) facing in the jump direction or target direction. This still allows the skater to get the head over the axis side as they’re going forward and lifting up into the air, which is the critical moment when proper head position is required. Jeremy then shows the modified blue line exercises for skaters with this issue.

For more advanced skaters, the half walley exercise is perfect. Another variation for the walley exercise is anchor the head (spot forward) on a full walley with crossed feet in the air and on landing.


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