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Jump Air Position – The Knuckle Drill (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna shares a drill he calls the “knuckle drill” to help skaters work on their jump air position for multi-rotation jumps. The drill can also be effective as a training tool for the backspin.

To do the drill, Nick has the skater get into the desired air position near the wall (with plexiglass), with the skating foot facing parallel to the boards about a blade length away from the base board. The skater should be in a properly aligned d-position with the axis arm in tight and the knuckles of the free side hand (in a fist) on the the plexiglass. The skater then pushes off with the knuckles and tries to do a single rotation backspin in place, right next to the wall, and then use the hand/knuckles to stop the rotation. A single rotation simulates a double jump, while two rotations simulates a triple.

Skaters who pull with the upper body and shoulders to create rotation will typically move away from the wall and fall out of the backspin. The goal is to maintain proper alignment, creating essentially all of the rotational force by pressing off the glass with the knuckles.

As Nick notes, “The [skaters] that have good backspins and have good air positions can do it easily. The ones that can’t, usually have trouble with it.”


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