Written by Penelope Knowles
Drawings by Don Dinh
Becoming proficient at the full swing opens up a whole world of trick possibilities for the flyer. In this particular instance, we will be discussing the straight jump. Learning a straight jump is a prerequisite for more difficult tricks such as full twisting straight jump, suicide, shooting star, forward under, turn-around, layout, as well as many others. Mastery of the straight jump may also indirectly help the athlete learn to smooth their swing.
- The flyer should be able to perform a full swing on their own timing without the vocal or physical help of the lines person.
When performed correctly, the flyer will rise up in the “seven position” before executing the last three kicks. There is a slight pause after the second beat (figure c) when compared to the typical swing. The rhythm for the straight jump will be: kick (figure b), kick (c), pause (c), kick (d), release (e). When the athlete completes the last kick, their body should be at a good angle for a successful catch. When “hands/hep” is called, the flyer will let go and present to the catcher while looking up at the catch trapeze (see figure 1). If the student is performing a straight jump to the net, they should be able to land softly on their stomachs if desired.
Although it is a simple trick, there are common errors that the flyer must to be aware.
1. Being too aggressive: The straight jump is a gentle trick, especially during the moment of release. Being too aggressive can lead to over flipping; the flyer may generate an increased flipping motion, and may inadvertently perform the suicide dismount by mistake.
2. Whipping arms downward after letting go of the bar: By whipping the arms downwards after the release, flyers will smack the arms of the catcher, leading to a clunky catch, and sucking away height for the return. Athletes must keep their arms back and let their arms naturally come forward due to the correct angle of chest/feet.
3. Letting go of the bar early: This increases the chances of failing to reach the correct angle for the catch which may result in a miss (See figure 2). In addition, just like with any trick, letting go of the bar too early will cause the flyer to travel across the trapeze, creating an unsafe situation for both the flyer and the catcher. Flyers may also have a more difficult time landing on their stomachs or twisting to their back because they were not able to fit the final kick in.