Back Outside Pivot – Basic Skills (Nick Perna)

Figure skating coach Nick Perna continues his explanation of pivots. Check out Part 1 and Part 2.  In this video, Nick discusses the back outside pivot.  This pivot is typically learned in basic skills classes and it helps develop many important skating skills.  As Nick notes, it’s helpful for building the body positioning and pivoting motion of a toe loop jump (although not a direct application).  It’s also good for learning choctaws.

Nick begins by talking about the free leg.  As he explains, the free leg MUST be turned out.  (Turning the free leg inward is a common problem and is also one of the most common problems on the toe loop jump!)  The back inside part of the bottom toe pick of the free foot (becomes the pivot foot) should be in contact with the ice.

It is important to sit back on the back outside pivot or the skater will not be able to hold it.  Nick shows how to press on the edge and keep the circle large to maximize the duration of the pivot.  He says, “You have to feel like you’re kind of sitting in a chair.”

Nick shares an important “back slalom” drill on two feet to develop the feeling of separating the feet and getting to the proper positions.  On the pivot itself, Nick talks about how the free leg needs to gradually come behind to the correct position.  The light pressure on the pivoting toe pick while the pivot is still traveling is really a “slight pushing” on the toe pick.  Arm position is optional and he shows various options.

One important tip Nick offers is to try to lower the heel of the pivot foot to help keep the weight back into the circle.  This also helps establish the backward lean without arching that he discusses as well.

At the end, Nick shares a fun drill that can be done repeatedly to develop mastery of the back outside pivot.  It consists of switching from a back outside pivot to a forward outside pivot and back.


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