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

Figure skating jump specialist Charlie Tickner explains how he teaches the toe loop.  As he notes right from the beginning, the toe loop is one of the more misunderstood jumps in skating.  It is deceptively difficult for young skaters (and adult skaters) to do correctly.  Charlie says, “It’s not that easy.  It’s not that easy to teach.”

To begin, Charlie has the skater stand at the wall.  He notes that a toe loop is commonly described or taught as a back pivot, and he explains why.  He discusses the trace left of the ice, and shows why it is not really a back pivot.  After that, he shows how he introduces the positions and movement at the wall.  He focuses on balance and where the weight is on his skates, and then develops the “draw back” or the movement of passing the skating foot to the picking foot.

Next, Charlie has the skater continue the skating foot movement past the toe pick.  He describes it as a skid as the skating foot changes from backward on the ice to forward in the air.  (An alternative to the skid is rocking to the back of the blade as discussed by Michelle Leigh here.)  Notice the focus on keeping the overall movement in a straight line.  This is very important for toe loop development.  Charlie wants the skater to be able to walk through the take-off movement and then step down and glide forward in a straight line.  And he wants to hear the skid.

Charlie takes some time to talk about the arms.  He basically uses the same arms for all jumps (not including waltz jump or axel).  For skaters who jump to the left (CCW rotation), Charlie wants the left arm to remain still and then the right arm moves to it in a “scooping” fashion.  He continues, “I teach the right side to get PAST the left side.”  He explains what he means and why this doesn’t cause the jump just to spin (the other parts of the development prevent it).

Next, Charlie walks us through a basic entrance.  He uses the line and notice how straight the entrance is.  On the step, he wants the skater’s core to be facing the take-off direction and after the three turn it should be facing directly away from the take-off direction.  Notice there is not a lot of core and shoulder twist involved.  Because many skaters get “stuck” with this kind of a straight entrance, Charlie tells them he wants the entrance “to roll” … “so that the motion continues.”  Charlie demonstrates the moving walk-through of the entrance and take-off, with the forward straight line landing glide drill.

Finally, he explains the remainder of the jump, with the skater creating an h-position in the air with the free leg and then putting a standard landing on.  He takes a moment to discuss strong landings as well.


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