Working The Landing of Double Loop (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating coach Sheila Thelen works with a skater on the landing details of the double loop. This skater still has a slightly inconsistent take-off with varying air times, and some attempts are clearly a bit short of rotation. But Sheila offers a number of tips for skaters that are very close to landing a jump, but can’t seem to control the landing.

Sheila begins by noting that so many skater completely “blank” in the air when they’re jumping. Although many elite athletes also blank and simply let their bodies react, they have literally thousands of repetitions allowing them to “go with the flow.” When learning to land a new jump, however, some focus is usually required in the air and at landing. Sheila gives this skater something to focus on. Sheila wants a “stronger” air position with “active muscles” and an awareness and preparation for the landing while still in the air.

Sheila asks the skater whether a single or triple has more impact forces. Theoretically, if both jumps are the same height, the downward velocity just before hitting the ice is exactly the same. Thus Sheila explains that the skater should be able to use the same force to land the double. Although this is a simplification of what’s actually happening, this concept is helpful for skaters to build confidence and make better attempts.

Notice how the skater struggles with landing the final jump as Sheila shifts her focus away from her strong air position and in-air landing preparation. This is often the challenge of coaching. When you fix one thing, it breaks again when you try to improve it or fix something else.


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