Off-Ice Seminar Class – Part 6 Jump Landings (Chris Conte)

International coach and jump specialist Chris Conte continues an off-ice jump class for skaters at a seminar. In Part 1 Chris taught some basic walking and skipping drills which served both as a warm-up and as an introduction to fundamental movements. In Part 2 Chris worked on the basic concepts of small stationary and non-rotating off-ice jumps, and in Part 3 the focus shifted to creating rotation on the floor. In Part 4 Chris elaborated on the fundamental principles and basic movements needed for both lift and rotation and in Part 5 he offered insights about landing, particularly the idea of checking the rotation. In this video, we get to see how to implement these concepts and exercises with skaters who do not have much experience with this kind of off-ice training.

At the beginning of this video, Chris asks the class for a relatively simple air turn of one rotation, taking off from two feet and landing in the “check” position with control. He “walks through” the exercise to show how the feet should cross naturally and when and how the body needs to “prepare” for landing. In passing at 0:48 Chris shows a “2-foot alignment landing” from a waltz jump, and this is a great exercise to help get used to preparing for landing in the air and turning the shoulders to line up with the landing foot.

Next, he demonstrates the arm movements he usually teaches when focusing on lift, and notes how easy it is to get into the “seatbelt” air position when moving the arms this way. After that he returns to the single air turn with landing, this time including a hop and the final movement to the stretched landing position. He encourages the class to do this exercise without opening the arms for landing at all.

While working with one of the skaters in the class, Chris notes that the check movement is “a learned movement” and is not natural for the human body. He next discusses the natural human reaction called “the fall reflex” which typically makes the human body buckle at the waist. Chris tells the class to use the moment where their bodies want to do the fall reflex and instead do the check. He says, “That’s what figure skaters do that’s really amazing. We train out a couple normal reflex responses of the body so that when we’re falling out of the air, we’re rotating fast and falling on an axis.” He continues, “That’s all a landing is… a very well-controlled fall out of the air.”

For the skater who is struggling in class, notice the focus on head anchoring. Chris also simplifies the exercise to reduce the required rotation in the air to help the skater reach the desired positions (half turn in air, hop around). At the end of the video, Chris explains that we learn to overcome the fall reflex on single jumps, but this doesn’t help us when we start learning doubles “because we experience the fall reflex all over again from a new place.” And this is true throughout jump development at every level.


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