Pivots and Divots

Excerpts from Diane Miller`s “Introducing Single Jumps”

2007 PSA Conference

April 1, 2012

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I love working with this level of athlete. I think it’s really refreshing to have a basic individual to form and shape and make them into what you want.

Most important! Do you have a basic philosophy of coaching? Make sure you have some non-negotiable things that you absolutely must have happen in a basic jump. From there you can adjust your technique here and there. For me, the head is instrumental in all of jumping. I have my athletes anchor their head on every single jump that they do. I also initially teach things in a straight line, then I take it to a curve. I also like to teach everything from a standstill to start with, this gives them more control. The fewer variables that you have, the better off you are. I like to teach all of my jumps on the floor. I think it’s a lot easier for the kids to feel where they are and to know where their body parts are.

It’s important to teach the jumps correctly from the beginning.

First, teach them how to jump. Christy Krall says, ‘to prepare, first bend ankles, knees, then hips. When you jump up, it’s the opposite; hips, knees, then ankles.’ I talk a lot about bending in the ankles with my athletes, otherwise if you tell them to bend their knees you will get a lot of rear ends sticking out. This goes with my jump philosophy that our hips are the first things to come in, then we explode off the knee and the foot.

1. To start, take the skater to jump off the ice. With their feet together, have them put both arms slightly behind their hips with their elbows a bit bent this will help to keep their back tight so they are not hunching forward. As they jump, have them bring their arms all the way through to the front.

2. Bunny hop: I teach similar to the waltz jump. I have three positions and I teach them all the way through the Axel. One is my set position, just like the off- ice exercise, this time with their weight over the skating hip. Two, bring the arms through with the free foot which will end up slightly in front of the skating foot, both knees are bent. Three, as they explode out of the skating knee both arms will continue to follow through to the front. Teach them the other way too so they learn how to jump off of both feet.

3. Waltz jump: I immediately try to correct a common error where the free leg likes to swing around as it comes through. Right away I teach them how to convert by going over the same three steps. Alignment is power! I also have them land with their free leg up in front in a lowercase ‘h’ position over the right side and then push it back. This will also teach them how to control their landings. As an exercise have the skater hold on facing the boards and have them jump over to the opposite foot back and forth. This will help give them that feeling of conversion.