Jump Tracings – Part 3 (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 Part 2 she covered the lutz and axel. In this video, she discusses common errors and how they affect the tracing.

In terms of common errors, Michelle groups salchow and loop together as they both often suffer from “adding too much rotation on the ice” before the take-off. She notes that this error is often from excessive knee bend, making for a sluggish take-off. She explains that too much knee bend “hinders the timing” needed to properly jump at the correct moment. The tracing indicates this error as the take-off edge itself skates “away” from the take-off direction before the final pivot to the toe pick. Michelle calls this “backtracking.” To fix this issue she says, “I want to have just a comfortable amount of knee bend where you can be explosive.”

For toe loop, a common error on the tracing is having the non-picking or skating foot on too deep of an outside edge such that it “cuts” or deepens prior to the toe mark. This results in what is sometimes referred to as a “toe axel” or more commonly an under-rotated jump. Similarly, having a strong back outside edge on the ice after the toe mark is also undesirable as it indicates a jump that is not moving in the correct direction (too “spinny”). She says, “To continue the flow of the toe loop, you want the foot to follow through in the direction of the jump, leaving the ice off the heel.” She warns against having an “excessive skid” which kills the flow of the jump and also results in axis issues.

Common errors for flip and lutz are almost entirely wrong edge issues. She says, “It’s really critical when our kids are young to make sure that they can feel the difference between what a flip feels like and what a lutz feels like.” She demonstrates the knock-knee  (knees inward) position and wider pick placement of the flip as well as the bow-legged  (knees outward) and narrow pick placement of the lutz. For lutz, “At the moment of take-off the feet are as close together as you can in an open knee position.”

For common axel errors as seen in the tracing, Michelle starts by discussing too much take-off edge or skid. This changes the direction of the jump, reducing flow and creating axis errors. On single as well as double axel, an even more common error is trying to take-off too straight which shows up as a relatively shallow take-off edge all the way to the toe pick mark. The edge must curve to create the necessary rotational energy for the jump. Michelle demonstrates how to properly create the edge and turn the take-off foot while still jumping in the correct direction (sideways).


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