Off-Ice Training During Pandemic – Part 2 (Chris Conte)

International coach Chris Conte continues a comprehensive discussion of his approach to remote off-ice teaching during the coronavirus lockdown. This series is a continuation of the previous 3 part discussion with Chris and International head coach Lorie Charbonneau regarding ramping up an off-ice program during the isolation period, with more emphasis on the technical details. In Part 1 Chris shared his basic home setup and provided background for off-ice training during normal times when ice is available.

In this video, Chris begins by explaining the goals of off-ice jumping, which to him are “refining base technique of how you’re going to accelerate lift and rotation together, increasing quickness, and improving ground force reaction times.” He sees the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to “prolong the early off season” which could be a “blessing in disguise” for skaters who need to refine basic technique and work on their athleticism. He is optimistic that some skaters who develop improved off-ice skills will actually make faster progress on the ice when it becomes available.

Next, Chris discusses the current off-ice jump class schedule. As discussed in Part 1, skaters typically get large numbers of jump impacts on the ice, making off-ice jump training take a back seat during normal times. But without on-ice impacts at this time, his high level skaters are now doing a one-hour off-ice jump class 5 days a week. That is in addition to conditioning, strengthening, and flexibility training that his skaters are also doing at this time.

The number one issue with off-ice training is the potential for injury. He says, “It’s important that off-ice jumps are done technically correctly, particularly the technique used to land on the ground.” Before even getting to technique, Chris discusses 3 important safety considerations.

For a safe introduction to off-ice jumping at the basic level, skaters need at least a basic level of core strength, balance and control. Chris wants skaters to be able to correctly perform a quality basic 2-foot squat and a neutral-ankle 2-foot calf raise on straight legs, and the ability to balance on one leg in an h-position (both legs) is also key. Those skills should be mastered before any rotation. Chris also encourages skaters to develop a comfort level with rhythmic bouncing or hopping, and jumping rope is an excellent option and should be a goal with lower level athletes. He says, “If they can’t jump rope properly, they’re going to have a lot of trouble doing rotational jumps properly.”

The second important aspect of safety is related to an appropriate training location and floor, and proper footwear. Having a floor that is somewhat forgiving is helpful. (He says, “There are better surfaces to jump on than concrete.”) Having a space that is large enough to prevent falling into things is absolutely vital. Chris offers his thoughts on the best shoes for off-ice jump training, and these insights are very important to minimize ankle injuries. His top recommendations are for “zero millimeter drop cross training shoes” and Capezio-style dance shoes.

As a final aspect of safety for an off-ice jump class, Chris wants his skaters to be “properly warmed up and in a state of relaxed focus” prior to each class.

See all parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


Sorry, this content is for members only.

Click here to get access.


Already a member? Login below

Remember me (for 2 weeks)

Forgot Password

FavoriteLoadingAdd to "My Favorites" (Beta testing)
Member Login

Forgot Password