Figure skating is fun even when all you know is the basics. But it can be more enjoyable when you know other techniques, especially the jumps. Learning the jumps vary in difficulty. So, how long does it take to learn figure skating jumps?
Learning to do figure skate jumps can take weeks or years, depending on the type of jump, but you must first know how to skate. Jump types include Toe loop, flip, Lutz, Euler, Loop, Salchow, and Axel. The Axel may take many years to be able to do it. But you can learn the toe loop jump within weeks.
However, other factors could determine how quickly you’ll be able to learn these jumps. This article discusses how to figure skate, the types of jumps, and how long it’ll take to learn these jumps.
How to Figure Skate
If you’re new to figure skating, you’ll need to learn to figure skate before you even go-ahead to do jumps. Here are the steps for figure skating:
1. Get the Gear
The right equipment is the first step in learning figure skating. You’ll need to try out skates. At this point, you don’t need to have your gear; you can just rent out from a local sports store. Whether buying or renting, you should make sure you get something that fits. This should be tight enough but still with enough room to wiggle your toes. The right skates should fit you like a glove.
2. Practice Loosening Your Knees
Maintaining stability as a figure skater is important, and more than you know it, the only way to achieve that is by loosening your knee. First, you might want to tighten your knees, thinking that would help you maintain balance. But that won’t work. You need loose knees as it helps you move and prevents your legs from getting sore. So, relax your muscles by shaking your leg around. Crouching can also help you relax your knees.
3. Learn to Move Forward
Once you can stand on the skates comfortably without losing your balance, it’s time to learn how to move. Moving on skates is pretty easy. Just have one leg pointed forward and push the other back and out to the sides. Then, use the back leg to push yourself. You can move ice by simply alternating these movements. Before you go ahead to try this on ice, you can practice with roller skates for a while. Even though the way you balance yourself would be different, it’s still a good practice and can make getting on ice easier.
4. Learn to Stop
As you’re learning to move forward, you also need to learn how to stop. You can do this easily by slightly bending your knees and leaning to the side. This will make the blades of the skate angle away from the direction you’re facing. Another technique is the T stop. In this case, you’ll turn one of your blades to form a T shape with another and angle away from the direction you’re facing.
5. Learn to Stroke
The last basic movement you’ll need to learn is the basic forward stroke. It’s the same motion as when you’re moving forward normally, only that you have to stretch longer and hold the push leg behind for much longer before switching to the other leg. Knowing how to stroke is essential as you’ll need it for all the moves you’ll do when figure skating. So, practice it continuously till it becomes natural and graceful.
How Long Will It Take to Learn Jumps?
Once you can figure skate, it’ll take between a few weeks and as much as three or even five years to learn the jumps. This will depend on the complexity of the jumps. You can learn simple jumps such as toe loop within a few weeks. But landing a double or triple axel is the most difficult and may take many years. Some people never master it their whole lives. No one has also performed a quadruple axel jump in any competition. Generally, the more rotations necessary for the jump, the more difficult it is.
Beyond that, other variable factors such as the skater’s age, natural physical ability and talent, frequency of lessons, and hours of practice per week could also affect how soon you can make those jumps.
Types of Jumps in Figure Skating
There are several kinds of jumps in figure skating that you can learn. Six are the most common because they’re also performed at the Winter Olympics. They include:
1. Toe Loop jump
It’s the simplest jump and easiest to learn. All you need to execute this jump is your toe picks. Your hips will be facing the direction you’re rotating in.
2. Flip Jump
This is a toe jump except that you execute using the back inside edge of a foot and then complete with the back outside edge of the other foot. Again, you’ll use the toe of the free foot in making this jump.
3. Lutz Jump
This jump is one for the pros. It’s one of the most challenging jumps you can make in figure skating. Named after Austrian figure skater Alois Lutz, you perform it using the toe pick and start with the back outside edge of one foot before landing on the back outside edge of the other.
4. Euler Jump
This is an edge jump. To execute this move, you need to take off using the back outside edge of one skate while you land on the inside edge of the opposite skate. You can do it as a single job or combine it with other jumps in a triple jump move.
5. Loop Jump
This is the most fundamental jump according to the US Figure Skating. The skater can execute it by taking off using the back outside edge of a foot, completing one rotation in the air and then landing on the same edge of the same foot.
6. Salchow Jump
Start this jump with the back inside edge of one foot and land with the back ousted edge of the other foot.
7. Axel Jump
Named after the inventor, Axel Paulsen, this is also an edge jump regarded as the most difficult and oldest jump in figure skating. It’s the only jump where you have to start with a forward takeoff, and you can do the double or triple Axel. This jump requires incredible strength and body control from the roller skater to reach enough height, complete all the rotations fast enough, and then land with a strong base that’ll absorb all the force. This isn’t a jump you want to fall from, and it’s generally reserved for pros. Not even all pros can do it. Only 14 women have performed triple axel jumps in competition.
Jumps are part of what makes figure skating exciting, and there are lots of them to try out. Unless you’re planning to go pro, there’s no need to waste time on the very complex jobs. But if you already know all the basics and want a little challenge, there’s no harm in trying.