Give your Apex Jumps a Stratospheric lift by breaking the technique into core components: The Approach, Takeoff, Flight and Landing. Combine these four sequences to create an Apex Jump of EPIC proportions
Critical to the amount of velocity you’ll have in the air is your approach, which can be broken down into a Drive and a Preparation phase. The Drive starts with a sprint of 2-6 steps to accelerate up to your target speed. That might not be your max speed, depending on the scale of jump. The direction of your final drive determines how big a chunk of the Apex you’re trying to bite off, and also plays a part in the success of your jump
The Prep Phase is your last chance to bail out. Take one last glance at your landing point, prep your footwork for the jump, then crouch a little to load your legs
The takeoff is critical and can easily turn a good apex jump into a bad one. Maintaining your speed, with legs loaded, you jump as long as you can (forward at a 45deg). Jump too vertical you won’t get the distance. Watch your balance too
As you lift off, flex your core and swing your leading knee (the one you takeoff with – usually your left) and your opposite arm upward. Keep the rest of your body in an upright position. Use your arms in the air for balance. Don’t lean too far forwards or backwards. At your max height, pull your arms down and crunch your core. You’re essentially using your upper body and core to keep your lower body up
Aim to land with your right skate first, shortly followed by your left. This results in less stress on your joints than crashing down on both feet simultaneously. It’s also better for point scoring as you only need that first skate to land in bounds to score. As you land, finish low, like you’re sitting in a chair: but watch you don’t fall BACKWARDS or you’ll land on your butt. Allow your body to relax on the landing to keep the landing soft. Try not to knee yourself in the face
Check out these YouTube Videos I found around the web
Drills to practise
- Approach – 20 ft sprints. Practice from different parts of the track before the apex. Visualise your takeoff. Start low, forward and loaded. Finish somewhat upright with an upper body lift at the end. Imagine you’re scooping yourself up into the air
- Takeoff – off skates box jumps and standing vertical jumps, lateral one leg lunges (like you’re jumping sideways over a small fence), high knee lateral jumps. Going to the park and actually jumping over fences
- Flight – any good core drills like swimming, hanging knee ups, lateral pull downs, planks and crunches
- Landing – on skates crouch for flexibility
- Double apex hop – Like a normal Apex jump but faster and with less height, great against fast moving packs. You can use one toe stop to push off instead but you’ll have less lift. Very useful technique if you curve around the apex on one skate at speed then have only one blocker to avoid and they’re not completely on the line
- Double apex jumps – This is two smaller apex jumps layered one after the other with a short landing in between. The longer the landing in between, the more loaded you can get but the less speed you will have. If you’re going too fast you won’t have enough power in the right leg to load up and go again.
- 180 Apex Jump – (example here https://youtu.be/x0aAiaMlOhE ) This is where you leap off the right foot, transition in the air then land backwards on your left skate first. You need your right foot to land pretty soon after your left for stability. Fail this landing and you’ll eat concrete. Check out a slo mo video of Lil Slinky from Stockholm on Volt Ron’s YouTube page180 apex jump – with 10x slow down – YouTube
- The ‘double-leg’ Apex Jump – Using both legs to jump into the air. Here’s an old video of Scotty Slamilton (currently skates for Vancouver Murder) nailing the double legger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVyXb_JPtTs
Relevant WFTDA Rules
Definition: An attempt to legally shorten the distance travelled around the curve of the track by leaping over the track boundary and landing back in bounds. (WFTDA Glossary)
- 2017 WFTDA Scenarios – White Jammer attempts an apex jump and fails to land in bounds. They land fully out of bounds, enter behind all Blockers, and continue to skate. Outcome: No penalty. Rationale: White Jammer did not have an intention of removing themself from gameplay. Keep in Mind: Should White Jammer successfully make the apex jump but still remove themself due to the belief that they did not complete it successfully, no penalty would be applicable.
- WFTDA Scenario C3.11 – White Jammer is on their second trip through the Pack and jumps the apex, passing all four Red Blockers while mid-air. White Jammer’s right skate lands in bounds, with their hips ahead of all Blockers. Moments later, White Jammer’s left skate lands out of bounds. Points: Four points. Rationale: White Jammer’s in bounds status was maintained while airborne because the first part of their skate to touch back down touched in bounds. White Jammer’s upright status was maintained while airborne because they touched the ground skate-first. The fact that White Jammer touched out of bounds with the other skate does not affect points (but may affect their subsequent position relative to the Skaters they passed while airborne).
- WFTDA Scenario C4.2 – Red Jammer skates along the inside line and attempts to jump the apex to pass the Pack. White Pivot legally initiates a block to Red Jammer’s upper arm, which knocks Red Jammer off balance, and their jump comes up short. Red Jammer falls out of bounds. They fall small, but their momentum causes them to slide back onto the track, into White Blocker’s legs. White Blocker trips over Red Jammer and falls. Outcome: Red Jammer is penalized. Rationale: Red Jammer is considered in bounds when White Pivot initiates a legal block. Though Red Jammer fell small, their forward momentum back onto the track means that they are a safety risk for more than just a “small” space. White Blocker’s loss of position as a result of that risk is enough to warrant a penalty.
Disclaimer: Apex jumps (or any techniques where you’re airborne at high speed) can be a dangerous manoeuvre so always ensure there is plenty of open space for you to land
How do you apex jump? Comment below