How to Do a Lutz Jump – Part 1 (Charlie Tickner)

Figure skating jump specialist Charlie Tickner explains and demonstrates how he introduces the lutz jump.  As he notes, the lutz is a challenging element that is getting lots of scrutiny today as edge changes are simply not overlooked in competition any more.

Charlie always begins by developing control of the passive back outside edge.  He explains and demonstrates what makes a good back outside edge.  He does not progress with the lutz until they master this passive edge.  The discussion of the hips and alignment is crucial to understand (free hip is up slightly, like in this Nick Perna drill).

To prepare for the lutz, Charlie starts by switching the arms (soldier style very close to the body rather than around).  Note he does not like the skater to wait very long with the arms in the new position as it tends to destroy the natural rhythm of the jump.  After the free arm drops down and is moving back, the free foot also goes back into the reach.  Again, the discussion of the hips (free hip pushing forward!) is critical.

Charlie claims that one of the biggest factors in creating edge changes in this jump, more so than ever before, is that skaters first learning a lutz typically lack “simple” fundamental skills (that used to be ingrained with school figures).  This is undoubtedly true, as young skaters are often rushed through learning all the jumps as fast as possible, especially in the US.

The next advice is also critical.  Charlie says, “As you draw your free leg back to reach, don’t open the hip.  Feel like you’re keeping this hip (free hip) forward.  This is the hard part.”  Charlie also talks about keeping the free leg low.  He shows an exercise to build this skill (which is similar to the Hockey Puck drill by Chris Conte).  He says, “When you go to jump, that toe will catch.”  The toe should go in as the skater is already on the way up.  He says, “Don’t tap jumping down.  Reach back. Tap on the way up.”  He also discusses the skating arm and how he likes it (left arm for most skaters) to stay stationary.

Charlie asks, “Which foot do we jump from?  We jump from the left foot.”  What he means is the movement is initiated by the left leg (for skaters rotating left), but the jump actually leaves the ice from the toe pick of the right foot.  To develop the feeling of pressing up out of the left leg, he offers another classic exercise that is only useful if proper alignment is maintained.

Charlie also explains the desired trace on the ice.  Notice the “traditional” admonition of “none of that pre-rotation stuff.”  [Editor’s note:  EVERY double and triple lutz has some pre-rotation, with the skater leaving the ice with at least a part of the body partly turned into the rotation.  For many male skaters, the hips do leave the ice closed with very little pre-rotation, but these skaters almost always have extreme pre-rotation in the shoulders.  And those skaters that lock the hips to the shoulders will have some pre-rotation of the entire body at the moment the jump leaves the ice.  It is likely that Charlie is warning against pre-rotation as a “teaching method” rather than actual technique.]


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