Jump Tracings – Part 2 (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh continues 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 Part 1 Michelle discussed tracings for salchow, loop, toe loop, and flip. In this video, she covers the lutz and axel.

For the lutz, Michelle emphasizes the need to pass the feet very close together as the non-picking foot passes the picking foot. This helps ensure an outside edge take-off. She also wants a toe “flick” which is created by the bottom toe pick as the blade leaves the ice.  She also says, “Try to have a really, really severe lean to the ankle” to maintain the outside edge through the end of the take-off tracing. She summarizes, “We have to skate by and stay on that outside edge.”

For the axel Michelle wants “a nice strong outside edge with added pressure at the end as the free foot comes around.” She demonstrates how to “skate to the quarter turn and then release off the toe pick… and you need to have that snap to create rotational energy.” Notice the take-off foot is not pointed at the landing at the moment of lift-off, and the skater takes off sideways on a good axel. Michelle notes that advanced skaters may skid the end of the take-off edge when attempting to generate more edge pressure or rotational energy. She says, “It’s an advantage to some skaters to skid that last little bit of the take-off.” Later she acknowledges that it’s desirable to “release past the quarter on the toe” which implies that the take-off foot is sideways or even slightly backwards before leaving the ice.

On the axel tracing, Michelle also draws an arrow indicating the flight direction. She then demonstrates the take-off position for the free leg, with the free foot on one side of the flight path axis line, and the free knee on the other side. Some coaches teach the free knee directly on the flight path axis line, with the free foot well back to the axis side at lift off. To end, she demonstrates the most common take-off error where the free leg cuts across and into the circle, causing either direction/flow problems or massive axis problems on the jump.


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