Off-Ice Seminar Class – Part 7 Pirouette (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 Part 6 we saw how to implement these concepts and exercises with skaters who do not have much experience with this kind of off-ice training. In this video, Chris works on alignment for axis-side rotation.

To begin this video, Chris explains the need to lift the non-axis hip when extending out of the bent knees. He notes this is “a little more advanced” and this is building toward a loop jump on the floor. As he explains, “I’m going to take off more dominantly from one leg (the axis leg) than the other.” An important key is as the body moves into a position where the shoulders are ahead of the hips, the shoulders stack themselves over the axis side hip and foot (alignment). Chris says, “I’m already over the landing hip and that doesn’t matter if I’m taking off from this leg or this leg, I want to be over [the axis] hip.” He talks about a triangle position with the non-axis leg and he discusses the movement of “the duck” which he uses as an illustrative teaching tool.

Next, Chris has the skaters spin on the axis foot on the floor. To allow it to rotate, it’s necessary to unweight or unload the axis foot by coming up and releasing the skater’s weight from the floor during the rotation. This is due to the movements of jumping without actually leaving the floor. Skaters that struggle with this exercise typically have axis problems where the shoulders move too far to the non-axis side or the free hip drops once the skater gets into rotation. At 3:15 in the video, Chris clearly demonstrates what can go wrong and what it should look like. He says, “One of the things to work on is learning to translate towards your landing leg. If the spine moves in any direction it’s away from my free hip, not towards my free hip.”


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