Landings and Landing Positions (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating specialist coach Sheila Thelen teaches a class of beginner skaters to improve their jump landings. She begins by describing the arm positions, with the axis side arm pointing into the circle and the non-axis side arm pointing outside the circle. The inside arm is shoulder level and the outside arm is raised slightly to help the skater better feel the outside edge. Sheila does not want the non-axis arm in front. Also, she teaches the head turned toward the axis side, looking over the axis side hand.

In terms of free leg position, Sheila wants it as high as possible “without spiraling” or being in a back spiral. Most coaches talk about foot turn-out, but Sheila instead describes it as knee turn-out, since this comes from the hips and most skaters will move the hips correctly when thinking about the free knee. Sheila also discusses the idea of flexing the free foot on the landing movements (and even the final landing position) as a way to ensure the free knee is locked and the free leg is straight. So much focus is usually placed on pointing the free toe that it tends to dominate the thought process, typically at the expense of a bent free leg. Coaches like Sheila are more concerned about getting the free leg straight than on toe point, at least at this skating level.


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