Toe Loop Theory – Getting Jump Height (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh continues her explanation of the mechanics of a toe loop.  In the first video of this series, she introduced the idea of the edge and the heel take-off with a straight leg, as well as an exercise to help develop the necessary movements and feelings.  In the second video, Michelle addressed the shoulders and explained their position and movements at critical moments of the take-off.  In this video, she discusses how to get height on the jump.

[Editor’s note: Michelle, like most top coaches, teaches the toe loop with a straight non-picking leg at take-off, rather than what many coaches consider the more traditional h-position take-off. Those coaches with backgrounds teaching an h-position often do not understand how to help a skater develop lift using the straight leg technique.  This short video addresses this important topic.]

As Michelle explains, to drive a toe loop up in the air, the skater really needs to “get down and underneath the jump.”  Two important concepts help skaters do this.  The first is the hands and arms and Michelle describes how to use them to help generate lift for the jump.  The arms should be in front when the toe goes into the ice, and they go down and up to help with the jump timing.  The second concept is the “incline on the take-off, the tilting backwards… that’s how we get the toe loop to go up.”  She continues with these observations, “It’s a common mistake that skaters are trying to push up and they’ve got their weight in front of them.  You really have to get your weight behind you and allow that foot to glide through down and up.”  She says the upper body should be “nice and level when you take off, but tipping backwards.”


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