Jump Air Position – Upper Body (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna shares insights about the air position used in jumps by elite skaters. As a critical observer of everything in skating, Nick has found that jumping air position of the upper body has just two critical parts. The first is getting the hands against the body, and the second is a forward rounding of the shoulders. As he notes, many coaches ask their skaters to pull their elbows in to touch the body, but few if any elite skaters actually do this. Elite skaters almost always have their elbows away from their bodies while in their tightest rotational air position.

Nick gives examples of elite skaters with variations in elbow positions, but essentially identical hand positions (against the body). He also discusses the “seatbelt” air position (ala Nathan Chen) and notes that even with that, the hands are against the body while the elbows are typically slightly away.

To help skaters learn to round their shoulders properly, Nick has them hug themselves. He wants the shoulders down for this. And to help learn the proper shoulder position, Nick often teaches the seatbelt arm position on a backspin since it usually results in the desired rounding of the shoulders. The seatbelt position can also be helpful for skaters who arch their lower back, as they can then focus on holding the stomach in properly.


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