Skating Fridays

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks – the Split Jump

As a former coach once told me, I’m not a spring chicken anymore.  While I can fully understand and grasp new skating techniques or concepts, my body doesn’t always want to cooperate. It shouldn’t seem too difficult to do some of these elements, but in reality, it is.

Last September, I made it a goal to get my splits back. In my early competitive gymnastics days, splits were easy. I could pop into one without blinking. These days… not so much.

Since September, I have been stretching my splits just about every day. They have improved, but definitely not to where they used to be. The purpose of getting my splits back is to be able to do a split jump or a split falling leaf jump.

I have a split falling leaf in my freestyle program, but it looks horrendous. My legs are uneven, and I barely get off the ground. My split jump attempts last year were just as bad.

I reached out to a skating friend of mine, who happens to be the current Adult Gold WORLD Champion (she won the Gold Ladies international event in Germany last year) and got her advice on this elusive jump. She gave me some exercises to try and within a few days, my split jump improved immensely.

Here is a video of my split jump the week after getting the advice from the world champion.

And here is a photo still of a split jump from this week. What a difference!

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. Well, at least one trick. I hope to have this split jump fully stretched out this year, and maybe I will even start working on a Russian split jump.


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