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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Salchow takeoff timing help?

    I went to an adult learn to skate class, where at the end we were doing salchows. My waltz jump is... well... not tiny -- probably about a foot from takeoff to landing tracing, and I've got a freezeframe from a video showing both feet about 4-5 inches off the ice at once in the middle of it, with knees relatively straight.

    So I thought I'd be able to figure out the salchow, but I just don't get it!

    When I try to kick my right foot across for the takeoff, it drags my left foot around and back (if that makes sense) so I end up turning in a small, counterclockwise circle on my toepick. That might be alright if it let to some sort of takeoff, but my body and free leg don't turn at all (ie. only my left foot really moves), so I end up in this tiny, scratchy LBI edge with my right foot stuck behind me.

    I've tried doing the jump from an absolute standstill (probably not recommended ), starting on two feet to swing the right foot forward -- this works, as it gets into the right position, and I'm only about a quarter underotated. But from the three turn, I can't even take off.

    Does anyone know what is causing this? I assume it's some sort of problem with the timing, but I really have no idea.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    This is a good clip which explains about the salchow by Nancy Kerrigan. I find the logic behind it very good.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCdq7cAvX5k

    I also find it crucial to have a really strong back inside edge and get your weight over it.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  3. #3

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    I am about Nancy Kerrigan's explanation. 6-3-9 does the clock move around as you do so you are always facing 12?

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    I am about Nancy Kerrigan's explanation. 6-3-9 does the clock move around as you do so you are always facing 12?
    Yes, your front faces 12. It's viewed from above. (I've never heard it before, but it is a good technique)
    6 - Free leg behind skating leg
    3 - Free leg comes around the free side after takeoff **
    9 - Free leg continues around to the cross over onto the skating side

    I've never seen a low-level skater reach the "9" position. The best they get is free leg across in front, but they don't have the "hang time" to continue all the way across. Because you have to change axes in the air to land backwards, you need good hang time to cross to "9" and then bring the body around to land. Just mho.

    ** - The "3" swing-around position is one option, but a bent knee-through instead lets the skater roll up to the toepick with more control. I find that the swing-around causes the on-ice spin that the OP described. The free hip pulls the skater off the edge and causes the body to tilt unless the skater has very good core and limb control.

    As for timing, many coaches and skaters use the "I Like Seven Up" phrase to set the rhythm:

    . I - LFO edge
    . Like - 3-turn to LBI edge
    . Se-ven - check and hold the back inside edge for two "beats"
    . Up - roll up and bring the free leg/arm around to takeoff

    One of the best drills is to practice the entrance, then just jump up without rotating, so that you get the feel for the roll-to-the-toepick takeoff. It does feel like a wierd waltz jump after a while. Land it on two feet, arms checked, for safety. When you get the hang of it, popup and land it on your normal landing foot.
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 11-21-2011 at 02:02 PM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    Yes, your front faces 12.
    6 - Free leg behind skating leg
    3 - Free leg comes around the free side after takeoff **
    9 - Free leg continues around to the cross over onto the skating side

    I've never seen a low-level skater reach the "9" position. The best they get is free leg across in front, but they don't have the "hang time" to continue all the way across. Because you have to change axes in the air to land backwards, you need good hang time to cross to "9" and then bring the body around to land. Just mho.

    ** - The "3" swing-around position is one option, but a bent knee-through instead lets the skater roll up to the toepick with more control. I find that the swing-around causes the on-ice spin that the OP described. The free hip pulls the skater off the edge and causes body tilt unless the skater has very good core and limb control.
    Ok thanks for the explanation, that makes more sense.

    For me, the 3 is no good. I have a tendancy to pre-rotate my salchow take off so bringing the free leg around to get to the 3 position is no good. My coach always tells me to kick "straight through", knowing it won't be as straight as that, but thinking of kicking round always throws the jump.

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    I teach it that way, too. I learned it with the swing-around and always struggled with Salchow takeoffs. I felt like the free leg's swing was taking me up in the air like helicopter - I wasn't pushing off the ice from the takeoff foot. (The circling on the ground was my desperate attempt to "get a grip" on the ice, lol.)

    My last coach suggested I change it and suddenly it was a lot less work to get up in the air. I teach the knee-through initially, then the swing-around later as their control improves, usually after they master a Lutz. At that point, the skaters have better edge and body control.

    When your coach says "kick straight through," s/he probably doesn't mean to keep the free knee straight. It's more that you're passing the free leg alongside the skating leg instead of swinging around. To do that well, you have to bend the free knee and straighten it in the air. I use the phrase "bring the knee through and up" so the skaters don't go wide to avoid kicking the ice. Works for me.

    You still have to check the free leg behind [6], then bring it alongside (square hips) [3] and then in front/crossed at takeoff [9], so it is really "6-3-9" but with the free leg closer to the skating leg rather than splayed out to the side. It's just that your clock is more oval than round.
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 11-21-2011 at 02:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    I teach it that way, too. I learned it with the swing-around and always struggled with Salchow takeoffs. I felt like the free leg's swing was taking me up in the air like helicopter - I wasn't pushing off the ice from the takeoff foot. (The circling on the ground was my desperate attempt to "get a grip" on the ice, lol.)

    My last coach suggested I change it and suddenly it was a lot less work to get up in the air. I teach the knee-through initially, then the swing-around later as their control improves, usually after they master a Lutz. At that point, the skaters have better edge and body control.

    When your coach says "kick straight through," s/he probably doesn't mean to keep the free knee straight. It's more that you're passing the free leg alongside the skating leg instead of swinging around. To do that well, you have to bend the free knee and straighten it in the air. I use the phrase "bring the knee through and up" so the skaters don't go wide to avoid kicking the ice. Works for me.

    You still have to check the free leg behind [6], then bring it alongside (square hips) [3] and then in front/crossed at takeoff [9], so it is really "6-3-9" but with the free leg closer to the skating leg rather than splayed out to the side. It's just that your clock is more oval than round.
    Yes you describe it exactly as my coach teaches it to me, though she has a thing about the free knee not being too bent and trying to keep it straight (without kicking the ice). Personally I struggle with that and in some group lessons where the coach has us bend the free I feel like a have more control.

    The difference I think is that a bent leg produces a jump that looks like Nancy's (very pretty) or a jump that looks more like Robin Cousins (or Tara Lipinski) where the free foot has gone past the skating foot before the jump which, to me, look quite ugly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    The difference I think is that a bent leg produces a jump that looks like Nancy's (very pretty) or a jump that looks more like Robin Cousins (or Tara Lipinski) where the free foot has gone past the skating foot before the jump which, to me, look quite ugly.
    Robin Cousins never did anything ugly on the ice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny_Hop View Post
    When I try to kick my right foot across for the takeoff, it drags my left foot around and back (if that makes sense) so I end up turning in a small, counterclockwise circle on my toepick. That might be alright if it let to some sort of takeoff, but my body and free leg don't turn at all (ie. only my left foot really moves), so I end up in this tiny, scratchy LBI edge with my right foot stuck behind me.
    [It sounds like you're a CCW jumper, so I'll use "right side" and "left side" instead of skating/free side.]

    The bolded part of your description jumped out at me. On the takeoff, a skater needs to bring their entire right side through, not just the foot. In fact, a fairly common mistake on a Salchow is for a skater to bring the lower half of his/her right side through without moving the upper body, which results in... spinning around the LBI edge without going anywhere.

    On a double or triple Salchow, it's very important to check the 3-turn strongly and keep the weight over the left side - maybe feeling the weight/pressure just above the arch on the inside of the left foot. On a single Salchow, the basic principle still applies, but it's less important; in fact, it can be helpful for new beginners to use the momentum of the 3-turn to assist in the take-off, to a certain extent. [On the takeoff of a quad Salchow, it's very important to be insane. ]

    As you finish the 3-turn, make sure that your left arm is in front of your body, ideally about straight in front of your left shoulder (and you should be looking at it [well, kinda: your head is in line with your arm, so they're pointed in the same direction; however, if you're actually looking at your hand, you're probably looking down and you want your head to be level - it's Very Heavy and so you pretty much always want it to be aligned over your core - but if you're having trouble, looking at your hand might keep your head aligned, but don't make it a habit and Do Not try this on anything but a single!].

    Now that your left side is totally - I mean, aligned correctly - there's still the right side. I haven't watched the Kerrigan video, but to pick up on the clock analogy, if my head is facing 12:00, my right side is aligned around 5:00. Right arm should be over the right leg. Now on the takeoff, the entire right side should come through together, with the shoulder, arm, hip, and free leg rotating around the clock in alignment.

    For a beginning Salchow, don't worry too much about whether the knee of the right leg is straight or bent. It matters quite a bit for a double/triple Salchow, but it's difficult to do the proper triple technique on a single, even for skaters who do triples: the snap of the transfer from the right side to the left side creates much momentum that has no place to go on a single, and it becomes very difficult to check the landing. (This is especially true for throw Salchows: if you see a girl do a huge, proper throw single Salchow that's as big as her triple, that's a girl who can consistently transfer her weight properly in a triple, and thus a girl who has a huge advantage when it comes to landing a triple consistently.) That being said, you want your weight to be about down the center of your body in the air, and having your right leg completely straight means that you have more mass away from your center, which will make it harder to do the transfer of weight from your left leg on the takeoff to your right leg on the landing.

    Three practical thoughts:
    1) Try doing a single Salchow off the ice. If you skip the 3-turn and start by standing on your left foot, in proper alignment, you'll develop a really good feel for the motion of bringing your right side through because it will be the only momentum that you have. If you feel out of balance at any point on the floor, that probably means that you're out of balance at that point on the ice too, but it's harder to feel that on the ice because the glide disguises it. If you have trouble balancing or holding the take-off position on the floor, you probably don't have the balance/muscular strength to do it on the ice, but doing it off-ice will probably help you gain the balance/strength.
    2) Some LTS instructors teach a single Salchow by saying that it's a LFO 3-turn, turn forward on your L toepick, do a waltz jump. While this isn't really true and could lead to bad habits if taken seriously, it might be a helpful exercise, either to understand the concept of the take-off or to try on the ice, because it will keep you over your left side and because it sounds like you "get" the Waltz jump concept well.
    3) Someone I know used the LBI edge of a Salchow takeoff as a measure of whether his/her blades needed to be sharpened: skidding on the take off edge and going around in a circle like you describe was the sign that the LI edge was worn down. Might be worth asking your instructor to look at your blades to see if they need to be sharpened.

    Now that I've said all that , it's entirely possible that I took your comment that you're "kicking your right foot" too literally and you are, in fact, using your entire right side on the takeoff. I thought about it and decided to post anyway, in hopes that someone might find my description of the entrance to a Salchow interesting and/or helpful. That being said, your description of spinning around the LBI edge when you try to take-off suggests to me that you might be moving your R leg/lower body without allowing the R upper body to rotate together with the lower body.

    Good luck learning the Salchow! The entrance/take-off is actually one of the harder techniques, even though it's supposedly the "easiest" non-Waltz jump jump. There's a reason why so few elite skaters include a triple Salchow in their programs: I'd say it's harder than 3Lo, 3F, or 3Lz for many skaters!

  10. #10
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    ITA with everything 5Ali3 said. I guess I think of my single salchow takeoff as "5:00 - 2:00 - 11:00". This refers to the position of my free leg in relation to the rest of my body; this does not refer to what direction I am facing on the ice surface.

    I do a long, fairly flat 3-turn (not too round or you won't be able to check it before initiating the jump, and it will be spinny). If you can't control your 3-turn well enough to hold that back inside edge without curling, try it from a RFI mohawk instead. On the inside edge, I keep my right leg and right arm checked back at 5:00 (not quite 6:00; that would be the flip jump) and make sure I have control so the edge isn't curling on its own. Then, as I bend my left knee and get ready to jump, I release my free leg and shoulder so my shoulders and hips end up squared and my free foot is passing next to my jumping foot by the time I actually jump. As I leave the ice, my right foot is at 2:00 and continues past the jumping foot to aim for 11:00. When you jump, remember to point the toes of your jumping foot so you jump off the toepick and straight forward, as if you are doing waltz jump that just happened to start on a back inside edge instead of a forward outside edge (once you're up on the toepick, it's all the same!).
    Last edited by Doubletoe; 11-21-2011 at 11:15 PM.

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    I'd seen this video a while ago of Michael Weiss (thank goodness he found scissors at a hair salon) demonstrating jumps and found some of them useful:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_KZe...feature=fvwrel

    It's not as detailed as the 6-3-9 Nancy video, however it does seem to give some info about spinning on the take off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gotice View Post
    I'd seen this video a while ago of Michael Weiss (thank goodness he found scissors at a hair salon) demonstrating jumps and found some of them useful:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_KZe...feature=fvwrel

    It's not as detailed as the 6-3-9 Nancy video, however it does seem to give some info about spinning on the take off.
    Thanks for posting that - it was helpful. It's a shame they showed a double salchow instead of the single salchow as it would have been useful to see.

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    Thanks everyone! Unfortunately now I've hurt my knee and my coach reckons I should have a break from jumping, so I'll have lots of time to revise these videos before I'm attempting salchows again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny_Hop View Post
    When I try to kick my right foot across for the takeoff, it drags my left foot around and back (if that makes sense) so I end up turning in a small, counterclockwise circle on my toepick. That might be alright if it let to some sort of takeoff, but my body and free leg don't turn at all (ie. only my left foot really moves), so I end up in this tiny, scratchy LBI edge with my right foot stuck behind me.
    Sounds like a couple of things could be wrong - you're not keeping the left side checked, and/or you're not moving the right leg independently of the rest of the body. Firstly, make sure your left arm is directly in front of you. If you're keeping it out to the side, it will drag you around. You should aim to hit the palm of the left hand with your right knee.

    Secondly, practice swinging the leg forward without doing the jump, first at the boards and then from a BI glide. Make sure you're swinging the entire leg through - I see skaters often kick from the knee down, like they're kicking a soccer ball. The "hinge" is in your hip, not your knee.

    Hope you heal fast!

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    I thought I might update everyone to say that I landed my salchow last week in adult skating class! I figured out that the problem actually had nothing particularly to do with the timing of the jump, but an error in the three turn. I was trying to do a three turn as though doing it in isolation, with the free leg toe-to-heel with the left foot. The class coach went through the salchow in great detail and I noticed that she specifically mentioned keeping the free leg extended during the three turn. When I did this, along with having practised a takeoff exercise she mentioned, I could land the jump from the three turn.

    Thanks for all your advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny_Hop View Post
    I went to an adult learn to skate class, where at the end we were doing salchows. My waltz jump is... well... not tiny -- probably about a foot from takeoff to landing tracing, and I've got a freezeframe from a video showing both feet about 4-5 inches off the ice at once in the middle of it, with knees relatively straight.

    So I thought I'd be able to figure out the salchow, but I just don't get it!

    When I try to kick my right foot across for the takeoff, it drags my left foot around and back (if that makes sense) so I end up turning in a small, counterclockwise circle on my toepick. That might be alright if it let to some sort of takeoff, but my body and free leg don't turn at all (ie. only my left foot really moves), so I end up in this tiny, scratchy LBI edge with my right foot stuck behind me.

    I've tried doing the jump from an absolute standstill (probably not recommended ), starting on two feet to swing the right foot forward -- this works, as it gets into the right position, and I'm only about a quarter underotated. But from the three turn, I can't even take off.

    Does anyone know what is causing this? I assume it's some sort of problem with the timing, but I really have no idea.

    Thanks!
    The salchow was my worst jump for a long time. My problem was definitely timing. When I did the takeoff 3 turn, I wasn't holding the second lobe of the turn long enough. The lobes should be equal size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    The salchow was my worst jump for a long time. My problem was definitely timing. When I did the takeoff 3 turn, I wasn't holding the second lobe of the turn long enough. The lobes should be equal size.
    I had this same problem for a long time...in trying to correct it I created the new problem of looking down at the ice checking the size of the lobes before i jumped.....trying to hone technique is an ever changing thing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    I had this same problem for a long time...in trying to correct it I created the new problem of looking down at the ice checking the size of the lobes before i jumped.....trying to hone technique is an ever changing thing!
    And then you think you have it figured out for a few months until the jump goes on vacation...
    I just started doing salchows and loops again, but I'm only trying 4-5 of them per session since they hurt my knee too much otherwise. Sals are coming along, but my loops used to be this nice, floaty jump and my quad's stil too weak for me to get that 'pop' right now. So they're wimpy and a little muscled. MustS remind myself this is still progress from a few weeks ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ioana View Post
    And then you think you have it figured out for a few months until the jump goes on vacation...
    I just started doing salchows and loops again, but I'm only trying 4-5 of them per session since they hurt my knee too much otherwise. Sals are coming along, but my loops used to be this nice, floaty jump and my quad's stil too weak for me to get that 'pop' right now. So they're wimpy and a little muscled. MustS remind myself this is still progress from a few weeks ago.
    I have a constant love/hate relationship with both loop and flip. When i get them, I have them for a few months at a time, and I love them. Then inexplicably I will lose them both for many months at a time, never to be seen again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    I had this same problem for a long time...in trying to correct it I created the new problem of looking down at the ice checking the size of the lobes before i jumped.....trying to hone technique is an ever changing thing!
    Ha ha. That's another tip I find useful. Look where you want to go (ie., not down when you are jumping).

    Try counting 1-2-3 at an even pace. Hold each move (entrance edge, takeoff, landing) for one beat. That helps me when a jump isn't working. I'm notorious for rushing takeoff and being too slow to check out on the landing.

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