Summer Skating and Learning the Lutz

by Mary on August 12, 2012

smiling skater

Done with my program and happy

Hi friends. I’ve been a little scarce due to summer family activities and that will continue for a week or two. I’ve got lots of recipes in development, some done and photographed, but those will have to wait. Meanwhile, a little skating?

Last month I skated in a small local competition with my bronze freestyle program. I felt relaxed and expressive and finished right on time with the music. My elements went well, including some slightly harder jumps I’d added like a waltz jump-loop combination and a salchow-side step-waltz jump sequence. That left me really happy as you can see in the photo. My skating friend Marianne kindly donated her services to take photos of every program in the competition.

But no one was there to take video. And I’d signed up for that competition in hopes of getting one, since I hadn’t gotten a video the last two times I’d performed this program either. Maybe I’ll have to brush up my program and skate it one more time in the fall, hoping it goes well again.

Lately I restored my flip jump. I’m not sure whether I learned the flip jump as a teenager– probably so— but it took me a lot of work to relearn it as an adult. I love it. It’s one of my favorite jumps. But between training for tests which didn’t include the flip jump and resting my knees various times, I haven’t trained it for ages and am happy to be doing it again. I’ve never put a flip jump into a program but hope to do that soon.

I’m also working on the lutz jump, which I never mastered either as a child or an adult. I tried to learn it about five years ago but got sidetracked by other skating projects. The flip and lutz jumps are superficially similar in some ways and it frustrates me to have a nice flip jump but no lutz jump at all. I have to remember that the flip and the lutz are in fact quite different from each other and the lutz is much harder. Michael Weiss has an instructive video on the flip and the lutz that illustrates the difference between the two:

Both the flip and the lutz begin with the skater gliding backward on the opposite leg from the one which will provide the center of gravity to rotate around in the air. So both involve shifting the center of balance from one leg to the other on the takeoff. But on the flip takeoff the skater is already leaning toward the leg which will become the new center of balance, so shifting the weight is fairly easy. On the lutz, the skater on takeoff is leaning deeply away from the leg which will become the new center of balance. So it takes a lot more effort to shift the weight from one side to the other.

In addition, the flip commonly is preceded by a half-turn in the same direction the jump will turn, providing momentum. The lutz doesn’t start that way, so all the momentum has to be provided by the skater winding up his or her body in the opposite direction.

My old coach told me that the lutz doesn’t just happen, you have to really go for it. Working on it! At my lesson two days ago I couldn’t even get off the ice. Now I’m getting an inadequate hop and turning halfway around before landing on both feet in a very unlovely way. But I’ve got a nice lutz jump in my mind, we’ll see if I can make it real. My freestyle coach assures me that I’ll get it. For any readers who are skaters (or skating geeks) I found this coaching video with nitty-gritty details about how to learn the lutz takeoff. For the rest of you, see you with a recipe in a week or so.

Update 8/18: I’ve been working hard on my lutz. Yesterday I got it fully rotated with a one-footed landing for the first time. That was my only one-footed landing in many attempts, and I fell immediately. Because I fell I’m not counting it as my first lutz, but I’m making progress.

Update 8/25: Landed it!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah August 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Congratulations! I can only dream of having a fraction of that kind of grace on the ice. A good run is when I can waddle around in a wide loop around the rink for 20 minutes without landing on my butt or face. When you nail that lutz (which won’t be long now), I sure hope someone will be there with a video camera so I can live vicariously through you!
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mary August 20, 2012 at 3:20 am

Thanks, Hannah! I hope it’s not long!


Caroline August 20, 2012 at 3:09 am

Those jumps are hard! I skated for a couple years when I was younger and all I can do now is a waltz jump 🙂
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mary August 20, 2012 at 3:23 am

I’m glad to learn that about you, that you used to skate. I think waltz jumps are really fun, I’m glad you can still do them. If you ever want your other jumps back, the muscle memory is there and I’m sure you could get them.


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