Jump Tracings – Part 1 (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh begins a video series discussing the tracings left on the ice by the 6 major jumps. By understanding what the tracings should look like, it helps get a clearer picture of proper technique and common errors. In this video, the tracings are discussed for salchow, loop, toe loop, and flip.

Michelle begins with the tracing left on the ice by the salchow. She draws the tracing with a marker and explains the need to “pivot” to forward just before lifting off into the air from the toe pick. A common error is having the back inside edge come around too far before the pivot, meaning the skater is actually skating away from the jump take-off direction in an attempt to generate rotational energy. Michelle says, “We want to be able to get around and pivot and get up off the ice while you’re still moving in the direction of the jump.”

The loop jump tracing is “very similar” to the salchow, and “sometimes it’s hard to identify them on the ice whether you’re doing a loop or a salchow.” On loop, the pivot point “doesn’t come around quite as much the salchow but you’re still going to be looking for a forward push off the toe in the direction the jump wants to go.”

For the toe loop, Michelle likes to see a “strong back outside edge that’s slightly curved but not too curved.” She draws the toe pick placement and notes that the take-off edge needs to continue on the ice to roughly even with the toe pick mark. Common errors are having the back outside edge go beyond the toe pick mark (leading to a spinny jump that goes around) or having the back outside edge stop before the toe pick mark, making the jump a “toe axel.” Michelle also draws the desired movement of the free foot (non-picking foot) after it leaves the ice. She also cautions against dropping the toe pick ankle and letting too much of the blade touch the ice. The goal is to get a small toe pick mark created mostly from the bottom toe pick turning or pivoting on the ice. Also notice the admission that the picking leg and ankle will bend slightly or “cushion” on a good toe loop.

The tracing for flip jump can be surprisingly similar to the toe loop but Michelle encourages coaches to find out what is most comfortable for the skater. The width of the pick placement compared to the non-axis or gliding foot is typically about hip width, but it can be more. If it is much less than hip width, the skater runs the risk of switching the take-off edge to the outside edge, thus creating a lutz instead. Michelle notes that some skaters can reach well inside the circle to pick, but as they pivot through and leave the ice the feet will come together to roughly hip width. She also reviews the toe pick mark itself.


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