On-Ice Figure Skating Jump Warm-Up (Michelle Leigh)

Olympic coach Michelle Leigh guides two skaters through a series of warm-up drills prior to jump training.  These exercises help skaters get used to jump movements while focusing on air position and alignment details that will be important skills throughout their jump development.

The first drill is “forward claps” which is repeatedly pumping up into a jump off two feet and clapping the feet together in the air.  This exercise develops stronger edge pressure, jumping rhythm, and really allows the skaters to focus on locking the legs in the air and flexing the toe upward.  (Flexing the toe upward helps lock the leg straighter!)  After doing the drill forward, Michelle has the skaters turn around and do the same drill backwards.  Notice the similarity to the warm-up drills used by Chris Conte.  The skaters clearly have a more difficult time locking the legs and flexing the toes upward when going backward.  (Michelle says, “Flex your feet.”)  Michelle wants the skaters to keep their heads up throughout this exercise.

Next, Michelle demonstrates and then has the skaters perform an air position drill.  Notice that the skaters are skating forward on their LEFT skates (even though they rotate to the left and land on their right feet) and they’re tucking the right skates behind while locking the right leg and flexing the right foot.  A major focus of this drill is the shoulders.  Michelle wants the shoulders turned down the line made by the skating foot.  She also wants the arms in tight to simulate a clean and efficient jump air position.  Next, Michelle adds cones to this drill to get the skaters to sense they are skating through a very narrow hallway in the correct position.

In the next drill, Michelle has the skaters do a straight line waltz jump and attempt to control the landing in the desired air position drill.  This is much more challenging as the skater must counter the rotational forces of the waltz jump and they are now going backwards in the air position drill.  The skaters are now gliding on their right feet rather than the left foot as demonstrated in the forward drill.  One common mistake is skaters let their head turn on this drill.  Michelle wants the head turned back over the right shoulder.  Michelle says, “We do this exercise to just get our shoulders in line with our skating foot and try to get our body in control.”


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