Toe Loop Jump – 3 Rule Breakers Plus Other Tips (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating coach Sheila Thelen gives a very concise presentation on some of the most important aspects of the toe loop jump.  These ideas and tips apply to single and double toe loops as well as triples and quads!  Sheila gave this presentation because there is still so much misunderstanding about this jump, and she sees this confusion regularly as she travels around giving seminars and workshops.  She talks about “rule breakers” which are ways this jumps is different than many other jumps.

The first rule breaker is the feet really do “criss cross apple sauce” and she notes that the distance is at least shoulder width for the picking movement.  Next, rule breaker number two is the jump comes off the heel of the blade (non-picking foot).  The other toe jumps typically come off the front or middle of the blade.  Those coaches that continue to teach picking up the non-picking foot from the center of the blade should watch video to see how all elite skaters actually do it (the way Sheila demonstrates).  The final rule breaker is there is no h-position on a toe loop.  For some reason this final concept is controversial, even though almost no one can do a triple using an h-position.  Simply put, the h-position on toe loop adds complexity and inefficiency that is not desirable.

Sheila continues with additional tips as well.  For beginners she avoids the common inside three turn entrance and prefers to use a forward outside 3-turn and step or a forward inside mohawk and step.  She notes that beginner skaters simply lack the ability to control the inside 3-turn so teaching the toe loop with it is counterproductive.  Notice the focus on keeping the jump pattern straight by using the hockey lines.

To prevent the shoulders and head from pre-rotating too early in the take-off, Sheila recommends using the “bite the coat” exercise as well as putting the non-axis side hand on the axis hip during the setup and jump (stomach ache drill).  These “tricks” can really help a skater develop control and flow with this jump.


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