Using a Balloon for Jump Training (Lorie Charbonneau)

International coach Lorie Charbonneau shares an inexpensive and safe training aid on the ice for jump development. A simple air-filled balloon can help skaters improve jump technique and challenge their precision and consistency. Lorie says that balloons are helpful to “use your lower core and your hips and your ankles and knees to pre-rotate jumps and to take away your upper body.” She continues, “We use balloons because they’re nice and light. They don’t interfere with your rotation or any kind of timing and if you happen to drop it nobody is going to get hurt.”

Lorie shows how to hold the balloon, with the elbows down and fingers up on the sides of the balloon. Skaters can use their arms “but only as far as you can while still holding the balloon with both hands.” Lorie has the skaters attempt a variety of single jumps before moving on to axel and double salchow. For younger skaters, Lorie uses a marker to draw a face on the balloon to help the skaters with head anchoring. Although the advanced skaters in this video make the single jumps look very easy, most younger skaters will be challenged when holding the balloon.

For multi-revolution jumps, skaters may need to squeeze the balloon in the air to create a more efficient rotational position. But it can also help skaters stay “more open” in the air to build awareness when working towards triples. The balloon can also help coaches identify errors in the jumps, especially those with axis or alignment issues. The bigger the balloon, the more of a challenge it provides the skater.

Using a balloon as a training aid is good for all skaters. For those skater who like a challenge, it is fun and different. For those who struggle with change, it’s a great tool for identifying issues and getting them out of their comfort zones.


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