Figure Skating Jumps: On-Ice Air Turns – Part 1 (Nick Perna)

In the figure skating video below, Nick Perna teaches a class about “on-ice air turns.”  This is the first of a three part series. (Recommended: See Nick’s presentation of off-ice air turns.  This was part of a 7 part series on off-ice jumping drills:  Part 1, Part 2Part 3Part 4, Part 5,and Part 6)

The first concept Nick addresses in this video is the difference between off-ice and on-ice air turns.  Off the ice, air turns take off and land in one the same spot.  But moving on-ice air turns travel down the ice while turning.

When teaching this drill, Nick has the skaters first stand on a line and do standstill half turn jumps, focusing on starting the rotation from the bottom up.  In other words, he has the skaters focus on using the legs and hips, not the upper body to start rotation.  He wants a strong core in order to prevent back arching. Back arching causes problems with jump axis, rotation creation, and landings.

Nick demonstrates the correct alignment of the body in the air.  Audrey Weisiger often describes this as “nose over toes.”  Unfortunately, when coaches tell their skaters to “stand up straight” when jumping, many skaters become off axis as a result of pulling back too much.

Next, Nick has the skaters so the same half-turn drill moving down the line.  The skaters simply repeat half-turn air turns while traveling in a straight line.  Once a skater has mastered this, Nick continues with full rotation air turns while moving down the line.  He starts with forward-to-forward full air turns.

One of the common errors seen in the video relates to air position (bent knees in the air).  Nick recommends locking the knees in the air and flexing the toes upward.  Another error is the tendency for many skaters to drift off the line.  In order for the skater to keep the jumps on the line, they must use both sides equally.


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