Salchow Lesson Part 2 – Magic Circle (Chris Conte)

International coach Chris Conte continues a double salchow lesson. In Part 1 of this lesson, Chris focused on control of the entry and then the timing and rhythm of the take-off movements. In this video, Chris discusses the arms in more detail and offers insights regarding free leg movement.

In general, coaches typically choose one of two arm variations for a forward outside three turn entry (left arm in front OR right arm in front). Chris notes that either works fine, but explains that both arms in front is also a valid and helpful method. He often prefers the skating side arm leading (non-axis arm) mainly because he tends to hold that arm as part of his coaching methods.

Next, Chris discusses the width of the free foot as it passes the skating foot. If the free foot passes too wide, it makes the take-off very difficult to control. But if it passes too close, it becomes very challenging to generate the rotational energy and edge pressure needed for the double (or triple). Chris has developed a system he calls “The Magic Circle” and although we can’t see it very well in this video, Chris explains it in detail as he does it with the skaters. [You can see the details in this older Chris Conte video on The Magic Circle.]

Notice that the feet are pigeon-toed or pointed in during The Magic Circle. This is not required for salchow development as many coaches teach an open or neutral free foot and hip as the free foot passes. But the closed hip and foot that Chris describes has the benefits of being very efficient in terms of getting quickly into an effective air position, and it also tends to create a faster jump tempo for most skaters that helps them get the necessary edge pressure and timing.

Chris talks about twisting The Magic Circle and describers it as “washing machine” going back and forth rotationally. Then he shows how to use this to work on the transition to the take-off into the h-position. Notice the focus again on turning the free foot inward (pigeon toe). He then returns to the jump itself and has the skaters attempt to feel The Magic Circle as they move from the controlled back edge up into the forward jump take-off. He has the skaters do singles and then singles into twizzles and finally double salchow attempts.


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