PSA 2000 Combinations

Frank Carroll and Roger Glenn taught combination jumps of double lutz-double toe and double flip-double loop. The first and last thing Frank Carroll emphasized was that before a skater does jumps in combination, the jumps must be great done solo.

Carroll's style was very different from the other seminar instructors when critiquing demonstrators. Whereas the others were process-oriented, and sometimes said nothing about glaring flaws unless pertinent to the lecture, Carroll operated on a model of seeking perfection. As the jumps paraded past, he would murmur things like "too bent over," or "too inside," as well as "that was good." I liked his approach. It didn't gloss over flaws, but it pinpointed technical explanations for correct technique, even for errors too small to merit deductions.

A combination should have both jumps equal, landed with flow and not at a standstill. The first jump should land with little friction, good speed and flow; the second jump will be slowed, so you go quicker and think of it as the higher of the two jumps. Rhythm is the most important thing: land with bent knee, in synch; take off from bent knee, developing good timing. If you land and then wait before takeoff, or have a jerky first landing, you cannot expect success on the second jump.

Glenn said that in combinations, judges look for double loops that don't look out of control, and double toe loops that don't look like you stuck in your toe to prevent falling. And that a combination with a good first jump and an almost-good second jump is better than the other way around, because the point of a combination is to land the first jump well.

Carroll said that for the 2nd jump of a combination, skaters must develop a half-right quality, the ability to take off even when the first jump is landed poorly or singled, because in the short program you absolutely must land the combination. He had each skater demonstrate their doubles (lutz, flip, loop, toe loop) and then do exercises: three-turns followed by placing their toepicks where they wanted them for the jump, three-turns with foot held in front for loop takeoff. Saying that you have to manufacture speed from nowhere, he had them do one and only one push into a mohawk into a double loop -- very difficult to resist pushing more than once!

On the lutz, by the way, Carroll says he does not teach the long look-behind. He has skaters look over their left shoulder, enter the jump, and concentrate then on holding their heads still for the takeoff.

At the end of the session, Carroll reminded us that there are other wonderful combination jumps. Bradley and Allen tried double axel, half loop, falling leaf, triple toe combinations. All the demonstrators tried half loop-double salchow, with Allen doing a triple. One-foot axels into double salchows were also in evidence, making me miss Michael Chack.

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