Skating Fridays

Spotting (Ballet technique for Figure Skating Jumps)

I’m continuing to enjoy my ballet classes every other week. Although we focus on my upper body, we’ve also worked on lower body movements. In fact, last week I was able to balance on one leg while in the tippy-toe position (a coupe relevé position). It was the first time I was able to do that without falling over!

One thing I’ve continued to struggle with is spotting while turning. This means that the head stays anchored and only turns at the last possible moment. While figure skatings typically don’t spot during spins, the concept is important for jumping.

I had a jump lesson the other week and my coach said that I needed to anchor my head over my free side during the double salchow and double toe loop attempts. Unfortunately, my head likes to turn too early, and it throws off the rotation. Also, another side effect is that my body tends to break at the waist when my head turns early.

We tried  a few singles and double walk-throughs with the head anchored, and my body stayed upright longer. So what I’ve learned is that I need to continue the “spotting” technique used in ballet and apply it to multi-rotational jump attempts.

This is going to be hard!


  1. November 1, 2019 / 9:33 pm

    Isn’t it crazy how much difference the head makes? I guess that’s because it’s a pretty heavy part of the body, in addition to being the “control center.” It will be cool to see if this makes the difference in those doubles!

    • evabakes
      November 3, 2019 / 6:38 pm

      Yes – it’s amazing how that one little correction can make a huge difference. This habit is going to very hard to break!!

  2. November 13, 2019 / 9:56 pm

    Interesting. I never thought of figure skating jump technique as ‘spotting,’ but of course it is. We leave the head in place until the last moment when taking off even as the rest of the body starts to turn and well, that’s spotting! And here I’d been saying all along that we don’t spot in figure skating like you do in ballet. Only true for spins (though I have seen some skaters spot on slower spins/turns).

    • evabakes
      November 14, 2019 / 8:41 am

      I was a big opposer to spotting in figure skating. Now that I know it’s helpful for jumps, it’s taking me a while to learn how to do properly! It’s so hard to break old habits.

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