Landed my first lutz!

by mary on August 26, 2012

skater jumping

A different jump (toe loop) from one of my programs

Landed my first lutz jump today! Went on to land it seven more times in the midst of lots of unsuccessful attempts but not one fall. I’ve been learning the lutz and lately sensed that it was close, but didn’t know if it would come in a week or a couple of months. I’d imagine it working, go for it, and fall. I was getting frustrated, highly counterproductive in figure skating.

Frustration and trying too hard were making me rush the jump. When I figured out how to stop rushing, it worked. For the lutz, skaters stretch a leg behind while skating backward and tap the toe pick into the ice, providing something to spring off from like a pole vaulter’s pole. Then the knee bend needs to be deepened to gather energy for the jump, just like a pole vaulter’s pole bends before the push off.

That’s not what I was doing. When I can’t do a jump, I try harder. For me, that often means trying to jump up and turn as soon as the toe pick digs into the ice, which doesn’t work at all. That failure often spurs me to even more vigorous wasted effort. Instead I need to wait, pressing into the ice until my feet come together and it’s time to push off and release my arms into the rotation. It’s only a fraction of a second between the toe tap and the takeoff, but it’s time I need to take. Which means relaxing. Not trying to force it. A good thing to practice on or off the ice.

I’m not claiming to have a good lutz jump yet, just a beginning one. So far my lutz clunks down to a halt on the landing instead of flowing. More speed would help, but so far my brain won’t let me jump this one at a higher speed.  Either my timing is wrong or I’m aborting the jump unconsciously, or both– brains are good at nixing foolish maneuvers that are not going to work. If only they were as good at preventing blunders less physical than falls.

Lots to work on, but still I’m pleased!

Update 8/30: I’m getting more consistency, though it’s far from 100%, and some flow out of the landing, but still can’t do the jump at speed. I’m also skating on the wrong edge of my blade just before the takeoff, which is a classic mistake to make on the lutz. I’ll have to fix that problem before it becomes ingrained.

Update 9/6 My coach is back from vacation. I was happy to be able to show her a lutz, and she enthused when she saw it.. She’s not concerned about the slight edge change before the takeoff, says that will be easy to fix later and wants me to focus on other aspects of the jump like the pattern and timing for now.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb August 27, 2012 at 2:50 am

Congratulations, Mary! That’s a wonderful milestone! :)
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mary September 2, 2012 at 5:17 am

Thanks, Deb! And thanks for stopping by my blog.

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Kiran August 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

That’s a wonderful milestone, Mary! Congrats :)
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mary September 2, 2012 at 5:16 am

Thanks, Kiran! They sometimes separate the ‘high’ and ‘low’ figure skating practice sessions by whether you have a lutz jump, so it does feel like a milestone. Other times they use the axel for that distinction, I don’t know whether I will be able to ever get that. But it’s feeling a mite more possible.

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Jane August 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Congrats! That is really awesome!
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mary September 2, 2012 at 5:13 am

Thanks, Jane!

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