Edge Drill – How The Legs And Feet Turn (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna shares an edge drill intended to help skaters feel how to properly use their feet and ankles, as well as their legs and hips when creating edges. Historically, edges have typically been taught as sideways leans (into the circle) on a static circle. That kind of rudimentary static edge development is necessary, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

As they progress, skaters must learn to create edges and edge pressure by pressing the skating foot forward or pulling it back as well as turning it. Nick likes this drill “for a skater to be able to feel their edges and the way their legs and feet have to turn when they’re skating.”

This is a standstill drill, and Nick starts in T-position. From there, he has the skater press the front foot forward before turning it out strongly. It is helpful to think of the motion being like a 90 degree angle rather than a simple curve. The final position is somewhat like an Ina Bauer. When done correctly, the extended position has the bent knee out over the toe, with the skater on a clear forward outside edge and a straight anchor leg. This is similar to an axel take-off. Nick demonstrates a version of this drill that goes around a circle which he calls the Palm Tree.

For the backwards part of the drill, Nick pulls the “skating foot” back and directly past the anchor foot. Again it is important to pull the skating foot directly backward before turning the foot inward strongly. The final position has the skating leg straight and turned in and the anchor leg bent. Nick also highlights the proper balance point on the blade which is well back from the toe in the “stomping spot.” The backward part of this drill has many similarities to how the edge is created on a loop jump.

Nick says, “It looks easy, but you’ll feel it in your muscles. There’s a real tension between the legs. There’s a dynamic tension in your body to create this rubber band effect where you’re pushing and pulling.” He continues, “It will really help [skaters] feel some new muscles and new angles of their body that are required for good skating.”


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