Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Most Commonly Performed Jumps in Figure Skating

If you are a figure skating fan you have no doubt heard these terms used throughout the many competitions you’ve watched. In some cases you may even recognize them, but in most cases it is up to the narrator or announcer, or whatever they are called, to tell us what moves the skaters are making on the ice. Something I noticed during the 2010 Olympics was that the announcer wasn’t necessarily naming every move the skater made. There were, for example, a number of jumps that occurred that were not even mentioned. It was almost like I was “expected” to know what the move was.

With that in mind, I did some research on the top basic figure skating jumps that every figure skater must know. When skaters learn them, they learn them from simplest to most difficult, so that is how I will list them. Also keep in mind that higher point values are applied to the more difficult jumps and that all of these jumps can be performed as a double or triple jump, raising the level of difficulty, except for the waltz jump.

  • Waltz Jump-the waltz jump is performed by the skater leaving the ice from the forward foot outside edge of the skate. Making a half revolution in the air, the skater lands on the back outside skate edge of the opposite foot.
  • Salchow, pronounced “sal-kow” is named after Ulrich Salchow, who first originated this jump in 1909. This jump is performed from the back inside edge of one skate to the back outside edge of the other with a half revolution in the air and is usually done from a ‘forward outside three turn’ or from a ‘forward inside mohawk’ move. After the preceding move, the skater stops for a split second with a leg extended behind and then swings that leg forward and around in a wide sweeping arc, leaping into the air simultaneously and landing backwards on the foot that was used for the sweeping motion.
  • Toe Loop-the toe loop is usually entered from a ‘forward inside three turn’ and is accomplished with a toe assist in the form of a ‘pick’. After the turn while the skater is moving backwards on an outside skate edge, the skater ‘picks the ice’ with one foot, does a half revolution in the air, and then lands on the foot that did not ‘pick’ the ice. The skater should land in the same position in which they started. This jump was first performed by Bruce Mapes in the 1920s, an American professional show skater. This same jump is performed in artistic roller skating and is called a Mapes Jump.
  • Loop-the loop jump is one of the most easily recognized, most often being done as the second jump in a ‘combination’ jump. With no toe assist, the skater simply takes off from a back outside edge, does a full revolution in the air, and then lands backward on the same edge that was used to launch the jump.
  • Flip-brings to mind somersaults, but is actually much simpler. Gliding backwards on an inside edge, the skater ‘picks’ the ice with the toe of the opposite skate, performs a full revolution in the air, and then lands on the back outside edge of the same skate with which he or she ‘picked’ the ice. The toe assist somewhat resembles a pole vault and the jump is usually entered from an ‘outside three turn’ done in a straight line or from a ‘forward inside mohawk’.
  • Lutz-this jump was first performed by Austrian Alois Lutz during a competition in 1913. Performed similar to a flip, the takeoff is from a back outside edge as opposed to a back inside edge. Staying on that back outside edge while taking off is extremely difficult and points are deducted for rolling to the back inside edge, in which case it becomes a common flip jump. When this error is made, it is commonly referred to as a “flutz”.
  • Axel-First performed in 1882 by Axel Paulsen, the axel jump is launched from a forward outside edge. Making a full one and one-half revolution while airborne, the skater then lands on the opposite foot from the takeoff, on a back outside edge. This jump, when performed as a double (3 full revolutions) or a triple (4.5 turns) is truly amazing.

 I hope this helps you to identify the jumps as they occur on the ice. Personally, I think it is amazing what these skaters do and find it amazing that their whole life has been dedicated to perfecting their performance in arguably the most beautifully performed sporting event in the world.

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You CAN Learn to Ice Skate

by Jassen Bowman

Having been raised in the era of figure skating superstars like Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan, and Todd Eldridge, I have been fascinated by this beautiful display of athletic prowess for nearly two decades. But, like many things in life, there comes a point where the fascination slips into a desire to do something more than just sit on the couch and watch these happenings on the moving picture box.

Being 30 years old and 50 pounds overweight, part of my brain was telling myself I was absolutely, positively nuts to even be thinking about doing this. Even that first time I stepped onto the ice, I was still telling myself that I was about to be involved in a major medical emergency involving multiple broken bones. Three months later, I am not only injury free, but actually making substantial progress.

So, how does one go about learning how to skate? Like anything else, you have to do your homework. It all begins with identifying a facility in your area that even has a sheet of ice. Most major metropolitan areas of the United States, Canada, and Europe have ice facilities of one form or another. Some ice rinks consist only of frozen lakes, while others offer multiple ice rinks within one large building, complete with locker rooms, concession stands, skate rental, and more. Finding a facility near you begins with a simple Google search or a trip through the phone book.

After identifying an appropriate facility, you must then actually contact the ice rink and inquire as to the availability of group classes or private instruction. Most ice rinks offer public skate sessions during which you can obtain one-on-one instruction from a member of the site staff. Many facilities in America also participate in either the U.S. Figure Skating Association or the Ice Skating Institute basic skating skills programs, which provide a structured course of instruction in either a group format or on an individual basis.

Most people will start with group lessons. The advantage of joining a class is that there is an organized curriculum to the entire process of learning how to ice skate, along with being with a group of people of your own skill level. The cost for group lessons is also significantly less than private instruction. It is common for classes to meet twice per week for about four to six weeks. These types of classes vary in cost depending on where you’re geographically located, but in the United States expect to pay between $60 and $100 for such a class. In addition, you will also likely have to rent skates from the facility you are taking lessons at. However, skate rental is generally very inexpensive, at only a few dollars per session.

If you’re looking to test the waters before jumping into a class, or simply desire the undivided attention of an instructor, then private lessons are a worthwhile option to consider. Meeting once or twice with a private instructor is a great way to get started, especially to help you determine whether or not ice skating is something that you will really enjoy and want to stick with as a hobby. Following private instruction with group classes can give you a head start on learning how to ice skate, especially if you take a private lesson on occasion during the course of being in a class. Private instruction is definitely more costly, but pays for itself in terms of the progress that you can make in your skating skills compared to a group environment. Expect to pay anywhere from $45 to $100 per hour for private instruction, with most lessons lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your goals and pace.

Personally, my intention was to meet twice, and only twice, with a private instructor, and then maybe take a class, with the thought that doing that much would get the desire to skate out of my system. My primary interest in learning to skate was to have a wee bit of a clue about what it’s like to be on the ice, since I had already made the decision that the only way I could ever actively participate in the sport of figure skating was to be a judge. However, after those two private lessons, I was hooked on skating itself, and now my weekly lessons are a line item in my personal budget.

Ice skating is an addictive form of recreation. Learning to ice skate will provide you with a great sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. Whether your interest is purely recreational in nature, or you have an interest in any of the related disciplines such as hockey, ice dancing, or figure skating, ice skating will provide you with a sense of pure elation, and will always provide you with additional challenges should you wish to explore them.

In my next article, I will offer insight into selecting an instructor for private coaching. This relationship is such an important one that it deserves careful consideration. I consider myself extremely fortunate that the “next available instructor” to whom I was assigned is such a talented coach and a good personality fit. However, one should not rely on blind luck or good fortune alone when picking an instructor, so be looking for that article coming soon.

Jassen Bowman is a tax consultant by profession, helping taxpayers obtain the tax relief to which they are legally entitled. Outside of work, his lifelong interest in the sport of figure skating has recently blossomed into an intense drive to learn to ice skate He can be found practicing three or four times per week at his local ice centre.

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