Pole Harness - A Figure Skating Training Aid

A Figure Skater Jumps
A Figure Skater Jumps. technotr / E+ Collection / Getty Images


A pole harness helps figure skaters master jumps. It is a figure skating training aid that looks somewhat like a fishing pole. The device makes it possible for a skating coach to skate around the rink at a high speed with a student while the skater is attached to a jump harness and allows the student to get the feel of a jump while moving. The pole harness also can build a skater's confidence.


The inventor of the original pole harness is Jan Glerup, a Canadian figure skating coach. Figure skating coach and inventor, Nick Perna, has used the pole harness so often, that almost everyone in the skating industry thinks that he invented it, but he is not the inventor. Although he did not invent the pole harness, he has worked with the inventor on cosmetic changes, safety modifications, and specialized handling issues to improve the use of the teaching tool.


Many ice arenas are equipped with a jump harness that hangs from the ceiling. Skaters are limited to skating and jumping in a straight line while using that type of harness. A pole harness gives a skater freedom and helps a figure skater get the actual feel of a jump while moving at high speed.

Pole Harness Coaches Must Be Trained:

Pole harnesses must be used by skating coaches who are trained on how to use them properly, and can be dangerous if not used correctly.

Coaches unable to use the device may send their students to another rink to work with coaches that specialize "on the pole."

A trained pole harness coach can support a skater and ease his or her landing of jumps with a real jump entry rather than the artificial entry that is done on a straight line with a traditional ceiling jump harness.

The coach can be right beside the skater and can make corrections. The device can be used for skaters who are learning triple and quadruple jumps; it can also be used when pair skaters learn throw jumps such a a throw triple Salchow.

Does a Pole Harness Really Work?:

Many figure skating coaches believe that the pole harness is a necessary part of a figure skater's training and that it is essential that skaters get experience on the device in order to get the feel of jumps. Other coaches do not believe in using pole harnesses and/or traditional jump harnesses. They think the devices are a bit like bicycle training wheels and that skaters will never be able to do jumps on their own after using any type of jump harness.