Drills to Cross Feet in Jumps (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna is giving a skater a lesson on the double toe loop, and trying to get the skater to cross her feet in the air. This is a common problem, so seeing the process that Nick uses will be helpful to many coaches (and skaters).

Nick starts by having the skater do walkthroughs of the jump. Notice that he wants precision in total rotation from the skater, not just a jump entrance and a random number of turns. He says, “Walkthroughs have to be accurate.” What he means is the walkthrough should simulate the actual jump. In these walkthroughs, Nick is focused on getting the feet crossed. Next, he has the skater do a “hop through” which is a jumped version of a walkthrough. The skater should have very little speed and jump height for a hop through.

Next, Nick has the skater attempt the double toe and land in a backspin. This drill works best if the skater can land with the feet crossed. The most common error with this drill is what the skater in this video does, land without the feet crossed, and then cross them to do that backspin.

Then Nick moves on to pivot drills. A forward inside pivot drill is an excellent way to get skaters to work on the weight transfer of the jump (axel, toe loop, salchow). But it’s also a fantastic drill for developing an accurate air position, including crossing the feet. This skater struggles with this drill, as do most skaters who have never worked on it before. Nick comments that “Remember that the change of weight from left side to right side is only this wide (hip width). It’s not a big whumpty dumpty thing. It’s very close.” Nick wants the skater to push the landing foot down and behind the take-off foot to get the feet crossed in the air.


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