Figure Skating Tips: Jump Class – Part 3 (Michelle Leigh)

This is the third video in a multi-video series from Olympic coach Michelle Leigh as she teaches an on-ice jumps class to some young skaters.  (On-ice jumps Part 1On-ice jumps Part 2)

In this video, Michelle starts with salchow drills.  Notice that Michelle uses the “stomach ache drill” or “one arm salchow” for all of her skaters and not just the ones with problems.  All skaters should be comfortable doing a salchow this way to prevent the arms from swinging around.  When Michelle has the skaters “wait for the V” she’s working on their head control.  And by simplifying the drill to use just one arm, Michelle can get the skaters to focus on making sure that arm does the correct thing, all the way through landing.  Notice how every skater looked strongly to the landing side and stretched their landing on the first drill!

Next, Michelle does toe loops.  This video was shot in mid-December which explains the reindeer and elf and other Christmas references.  Good coaches have a natural ability to engage their skaters and keep their attention and these kinds of references work great for skaters of this age.  Notice how Michelle lets the class have fun for a moment on something not related to skating (moving antlers!) which helps the skaters get a deeper focus when they return to the skating drills.  Michelle has the class do “one arm toe loops.”  Obviously this class has not yet mastered these but Michelle moves on anyway to keep things moving for the camera.

Next up, Michelle works on their loop jumps.  She goes back to having them look in the glass as shown in earlier videos.  Notice she leaves it up to the skaters what entrance they use.  This is another powerful focus and motivation enhancer as the skaters feel more engaged because they are also participating in the decision process.  Michelle explains and demonstrates exactly what she wants.    The second skater does the drill the way Michelle wants.  You can see that some of the skaters are having a hard time with the direction of the setup for this drill, which was caused by the setups that they had been using with their other coaches.  Those setups weren’t wrong, just not what Michelle was looking for to take advantage of looking in the glass.  She wants the skaters to be gliding directly away from the wall as they initiate the loop jump movement.

Michelle then switches to the flip jump.  Notice that Michelle wants the skater to leave the arms in the setup position until the push and then she wants both arms forward until after the three turn.  Michelle also has the class do the jump with both hands over their heads.  This variation is useful for skaters that tend to pull in tight as they take off.

When discussing the lutz with the skaters, one of the skaters asks if they can do lutzes with their hands on their hips.  Michelle initially tries to steer them away from that as it’s hard to get skaters to use their shoulders properly at this level in lutz, and even harder with their hands on their hips.  But she compromises and explains the technique for doing it properly.

This video is packed with tons of information, both stated and demonstrated.  At the very least, it’s a masterful demonstration of focus and refocus techniques as well as group motivation techniques.  It is very rare to get a look at how an Olympic coach works with young skaters.  We’re very lucky to have Michelle sharing this information with us.  Please leave a comment.


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