Friday, May 6, 2011

Jumping, Part 2

I've been talking about the various half jumps that Stitch has begun working on. Right now he's learning Waltz, Half Flip, Half Lutz, and some weird step thing called a Half Toe Walley which invited an evening's worth of Wall-E jokes during dinner one night.

In Skate Parent Land, that weird place in the stands where everyone sits and stares and asks, "which one is yours" and "how old are they", Jumping is the first and final measure of your kid's skating ability. If your child is not jumping, then they cannot skate. Period. That is the culture of the Stands. Do you remember The Two Questions? Well, now there are three. Age, Level, and what kind of jumps can they do?

Even I find myself sinking into this warped mentality. When other parents ask me what level he's at, and I say Pre-Freestyle, I've been quickly following up with "Oh, but he's learning that Lutz thing!" as a qualifier.

Of course, this is silly, and it's not all about jumping. Today I read a fabulous interview with Patrick Chan, who says that his best coach was the one who taught him how to use the blade properly, and not focus on jumps. I also recall reading somewhere that within a four minute program, a skater spends about thirty seconds total in the air. Me, I love to watch the dance step sequences the most.

I've heard Rink Gossip of kids who could jump like demons but had terrible technique otherwise. I had a chat with one mom where she bemoaned that Figure Skating had become so ugly, and that it was the focus on Jumps and Extreme Gymnastic Poses that was doing it. We then did a Parental Pantomime of the A-Frame Spin together, perhaps as a token of our shared opinion.

So, as of today, I am making a promise to myself and to Stitch to not participate in the Jumping Contest. When Other Parents ask me, I'll say I don't know what jumps he can do and I don't really care. I'm getting weary of the insinuation that Stitch can't skate simply because he's not making full rotations yet.


  1. "I am making a promise to myself and to Stitch to not participate in the Jumping Contest."

    Good! I don't think the number of rotations has much to do with how good a jump is. And some half jumps are harder than some full rotation jumps. Also he'll probably get to the full rotation jumps any day now.

    That said, I'm curious what definition of toe walley your coach uses. It's not listed and there seem to be two opinions:

    (for counterclockwise jumpers)

    RFO 3 turn to RBI and jump

    LFO 3 turn to LBI, step to RBO and jump

    The first one is counter-rotated, the second is a variation on a toe loop.


  2. Not a clue on Toe Walley technique. Dad took him to lessons that day, I was on kitchen duty. I still can't tell a Flip from a Loop, but I make a mean Gnocchi Sausage Bake. ;)

  3. Yum, gnocchi sausage bake.
    I completely agree some half jumps are harder. For me a half loop is much harder than a full loop.

  4. AMS: Half-toe wally is a counter jump off a back inside edge. If you are not jumping off a back inside edge, it is not a walley. If you are not counter rotating it is not a walley. The second jump you describe is not a "variation" of a toe loop, it IS a toe loop, just set up differently. Jumps are defined by their entry edge and whether or not they have a toe assist, not by the set up. Maybe if you were listening instead of skating off on your own you would have learned this.

  5. Xan, I was just saying I've heard people giving both definitions and I was looking for more opinions. I think yours is the more logical of the two. There is often confusion surrounding unlisted jumps. Full toe walleys seem to be rare, even compared with walleys.

  6. So, uh, Orangechiffon, if you want my recipe I'll post it. It's pretty easy.

  7. Oh, never mind, toe walleys are in the USFSA rulebook. I had just assumed since they did not have a symbol they wouldn't be in there... so all those people doing toe walleys off an outside edge are wrong or out of date, not opinionated.