Insights Regarding Seatbelt Air Position (Doug Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Doug Leigh shares insights and benefits of using the “seatbelt” air position for jumping. He begins with a short discussion of philosophy on continuing education, with passion, details, finesse, and purpose. As an introduction to air position, Doug initially talks about how the air position flows into the landing, so the landing should govern what we use as the desired air position. For the air position Doug says, “I like my [non-axis] toe in behind that second lace [of axis skate].” He continues by noting that the non-axis hand “matches” the non-axis foot when it’s in the seatbelt air position, and he says, “That puts me into an axis.”

Next Doug demonstrates the lower body aspect of the air position by holding himself up in the open rink door. This way he can show the air position to landing landing position movements. It also shows the value of having the non-axis hand on the axis hip in the air, since it is guaranteed to be in the “right spot” for maintaining the axis on landing. Doug describes it as setting “the feeling of the exit prior to the take-off.”

As for the axis arm, Doug calls this his “secret weapon.” Again, he thinks of the movement into the seatbelt as being the opposite of the movement needed at landing to exit the seatbelt. He likens the position and movement to having the non-axis arm in a cast and a sling, and the axis hand moving right up the sleeve of the jacket of the fixed non-axis arm to the non-axis shoulder. Doug says this puts the skater “more over the feet” which also makes the skater more relaxed.

He also talks briefly about the three things you need to succeed, which he calls “The 3 D’s.” Desire to do it. Determination to do it. Discipline to follow through. Doug says, “Most people have the first two, and the third one they’ll do it tomorrow.”


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