Skating Fridays

Online Webinar – Vincent Zhou

Vincent Zhou

A few weeks ago, I attended an online seminar featuring Vincent Zhou. As I’ve shared before, I am grateful for our skating community at this time. More and more elite skaters are donating their time and talent to help other figure skaters virtually. I am thankful that Vincent took some time out of his day to share his best practices on the lutz jump.

Vincent shared this about his journey towards the quadruple lutz, of which he was the first skater to land one in an international competition: “I always wanted to do crazy stuff and be one of the best skaters. The trailblazers (Jin Boyang, Yuzuru Hanyu) for multiple quads were coming along. It was starting to become THE thing to do. I was ambitious and competitive and always wanted to push myself to do more and test my limits. I knew that I wanted more and that I needed more. I had the hunger to do these things one day.”

The screenshot below outlines the key words that Vincent uses when he sets up for a quadruple lutz jump (4Lz).

Lutz key words

Vincent’s coach, Tom Zakrajsek, shared that a skater’s head must be exact on a 4Lz. It must be organized and on your axis or else it will be cheated. The head is really important and can cause you to rotate slower if it’s not in the right place. Also, developing your landing position is critical.

One interesting thing I learned was that women and men approach this jump differently, possibly because of the way our skeletons are built. Women tend to pre-rotate the jump almost 180 degrees before they take off; men, on the other hand, are more square and don’t tend to pre-rotate prior to takeoff. In addition, skaters’ rotation positions vary, and it is dependent upon your takeoff. Notice that the men execute a “seatbelt” position with their arms, while the women tend to place their arms in the traditional rotational position.

4Lz screenshot

One other ah-ha moment I had was that the trend is NOT to keep feet tight throughout the jump. Tom showed us several examples of top skaters with space between their legs, which I found surprising. Here is a quick screenshot of one.

4Lz legs

According to Tom, you have all the rotational energy you are ever going to get once you leave the ice.  All you have to do is quicken it. Your moment of inertia has to strengthen and you have to pull in completely, but not instantly (if you do it instantly, jump will decompress and fizzle). There is a fine line with timing on takeoff.

Finally, Vincent had some wise words to share, which I need to do a better job following: Do not associate negative thoughts with new elements. Don’t put harder jumps on a higher mental platform or else it creates mental roadblocks. Instead, think, “I’m capable, I’m trained, I’m ready to do this.”

Thank you to Tom and Vincent for sharing their wisdom with us!

2 Comments

  1. June 5, 2020 / 2:52 pm

    Whoa, that is a lot of detail to take in! Fascinating stuff about the pre-rotation, head position, and legs not having to come together quite so tightly. It’s amazing that the brain can work that quickly (or maybe it’s just muscle memory). Thanks for sharing this, Eva!

    • evabakes
      Author
      June 5, 2020 / 2:57 pm

      What’s even harder to believe is that all of these things have to happen in less than 1 second! I don’t know how these elite skaters can think about their head, shoulder, torso, etc. and still manage to rotate 4 times in the air in less than a second. It blows my mind!

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