Air Position Exercises and Insights (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna begins a jump lesson with some h-position and d-position drills. The skater in the lesson is a relatively high level skater, and she makes the drills look easy. But for younger and less advanced skaters, there are often lots of movement and control problems. This is especially true when using the forward inside 3-turn to get into the h-position drill. Also, most skaters have more trouble with arching the back, and even though this skater does a pretty good job with this, notice how throughout the lesson Nick is touching her stomach area to fix the back arch.

Many skaters and coaches will be surprised by Nick’s discussion of shoulders, arms, and hands for a proper jump air position. As he notes, almost all elite skaters “round” the shoulders and have the hands in and against the body in the air during their jumps. But the actual arm position varies considerably.

After these explanations and drills, Nick continues with a backspin and then some simple single jumps (loop, flip, waltz jump-loop, axel) to assess this skater’s alignment and landing movements. By having a skater do all of this at the beginning of a jump lesson, Nick gets a much clearer picture of the skater’s fundamental strengths and weaknesses.


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