Toe Loop Exercises (Debbie Warne-Jacobsen)

National level coach Debbie Warne-Jacobsen shares exercises and insights for toe loop development, including toe loops in combination. She begins with a “toe drill from the wall” which is a drill to work the pivot of the take-off for the toe loop. She draws the desired tracing with a marker on the ice and the skater then stands at the wall with the toe pick in the ice (“tap in with the left toe is located behind the left ear”) while gliding back and forth on the back outside edge. On the third glide backward, the skater does the pivot and jumps through into a pirouette and landing.

The take-off direction is not directly away from the wall, but slightly further around rotationally. Debbie does it this way to ensure skaters will pivot all the way through and get their axis side through the take-off (not get stuck). She says, “I want them to pick up the circle on the toe loop. I want to tap in and use the circle as they wind up into the air.” This also helps prevent jumps that don’t pivot all the way through where the skater jumps outside the circle.

Next, Debbie has the skaters do a single toe double toe combination. This is a great exercise to work on patience and timing and it’s important to master before the next drill, which is a four jump combination consisting of single toe, double toe, single toe, double toe. Debbie notes that it’s important to “jump out on the singles” to help maintain flow and create the necessary alignment for the doubles.

The last exercise is a way to work on toe loop alignment on the reach. Debbie has the skater glide backward on two feet on the hockey circle, with the hands having palms together over the circle. The skaters then push back on the circle into the “reach back position” with the shoulders twisted into the circle and the axis arm pulling back. The upper body should be stacked over the skating foot (axis foot) and not drifting out to the non-axis side. The free foot should be behind the skaters non-axis ear or shoulder, and not twisted across inside the circle or hanging awkwardly outside the circle. This exercise is repeated over and over to work on the feeling of this alignment. After the alignment is acceptable, the skater can do the exercise with a single or double toe loop on the circle.


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