Frisbee Provides Jumping Insights (Nick Perna)

International coach and jump specialist Nick Perna offers a number of helpful jumping insights based on the concepts associated with throwing a frisbee. As he notes, many skaters benefit from seeing and using physical objects for understanding important ideas. Nick begins his presentation by explaining that a jump travels in a straight line after it leaves the ice (vertically it follows a parabolic shape, but horizontally it moves in a straight line). He says, “Even though we take off on a curve and we land on curves, the jump actually is going through the air in a straight line.”

Next, Nick explains how the final moments of a jump take-off are similar to the final moments of a frisbee throw. To get the direction of the throw correct, the frisbee must be released at the right moment and with the right movement. If the throw direction is wrong, the frisbee may still be spinning but it won’t have the desired flow across the ice. In some cases, skaters will “pull back” against the natural flow of the jump at take-off in an attempt to create additional rotation, but this usually creates a jump that has little or no flow or distance. Nick demonstrates this with the frisbee.

To help skaters better understand the flow through a jump take-off, Nick often shows his skaters video of pair throws. He says, “In pair skating when the guy holds the girls waist, she literally becomes a human frisbee.” He demonstrates this movement with the frisbee, and then encourages coaches to have skaters throw actual frisbees to fully understand these concepts.


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