Drill for Blade Usage, Alignment, and Balance on Turns (Nick Perna)

Figure skating coach Nick Perna explains a drill he uses to help skaters develop balance, proper body alignment, and better blade usage in order to improve turns.  The basic drill has the skater standing still on two feet, and while keeping both legs straight, marching in place like a tin soldier (hence Nick’s name for it, the Tin Soldier Drill).  With the legs straight, the skater must use the hips to raise the free foot off the ice.  Use of the “stomping spot” on the blade is a simple concept for skaters.  Then Nick has the skater do the same drill moving forward slowly and then backward slowly.

After mastering this, Nick has the skater stand again on two feet with knees locked and simply twist back and forth.  The goal is to do this without making sound or snow.  Once the skater can do this, Nick has them continue twisting while lifting one foot up using the hip as in the Tin Soldier marching drill described above.  Up to this point, both legs are absolutely straight.  After mastering that, Nick allows them to bend the free knee.


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