Skating Fridays

The Key to Gracie Gold’s Loop Jump

Yes, I am talking about that Gracie Gold. You know, the one that I got to meet in February.

Anyway, I was having a lesson with my coach, who used to work occasionally with Gracie, and he asked me to execute a single loop jump. Easy, or so I thought. Coach saw that my free side opened up way too early, which caused me to have a huge gap in between my ankles during the mid-air rotation. He was not happy.

“Did I ever tell you the Gracie Gold loop jump trick?”

Intrigued, I said no.

Coach then goes on and asks me to set up for the loop jump. I cross my right foot over my left (I am a clockwise jumper so those of you who are counterclockwise will want to reverse this) and get on two deep outside edges.

“Gracie always thinks about leaving the pinky toe of the free foot on the ice as much as possible before taking off the toe pick. The pinky toe should be the last thing that leaves the ice.”

Once I visualized this technique, I tried one. I left that right pinky toe on the ice as long as I could. Then I jumped. And what do you know? My loop jump improved immensely. Coach said that my takeoff and air positions were now correct. I did not open up my free side, and I had less air in between my ankles while rotating.

Here is a video containing both an incorrect loop (the first one) and a correct one (the second one).

If that’s hard to see, check out these video stills. You’ll see in the first loop attempt, my air position results in a large “h” and I have difficulty getting proper ankle contact:

In the second attempt, I am leaving my pinky toe on the ice as long as possible, and my resulting air position is completely different:

What a cool visual from a very cool and talented young lady. Thanks, Gracie!

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