Lutz Drills and Insights (Nick Perna)

International coach and jump specialist Nick Perna shares his updated process for developing the lutz jump. Nick briefly references his earlier iCoachSkating lutz videos which can be seen here: Introduction and Basics, Correcting the Edge, and Setups. These videos focus on the ideas of an active edge (“the cut”) with a toe flick and a very narrow toe pick placement. More recently, for lutz development Nick has incorporated his Bread Drill concept, as well as the concept of a Blurb. All of those previous videos are very valuable, so all viewers should watch them (or re-watch them).

Nick initially makes sure the skater can  do a back outside Bread Drill in what Nick calls “position number one” where the entire free side is back, including the free arm and free leg. Nick likes using a straight line lutz setup, but he acknowledges that a shallow outside edge also works (as does a shallow inside edge). He has the skater do the setup and one bread pull, which the skater will need to step out of to prevent falling because the single bread pull causes the skater to become unbalanced. The active edge is causing the skater to “fall” forward and away from the axis side (to the left for most skaters), which Nick contrasts with the flip take-off pulling back and to the axis side (very different).

After a skater can comfortably do the setup and one bread pull cut, he adds the toe pick and toe flick with a jump straight up without rotating. After the skater can do this properly (outside edge, with toe flick, close pick placement), Nick has the skater do the same thing but try to “jump sideways” toward the non-axis side (left, for most skaters). This helps skaters learn to move their center of mass correctly and minimize any chance of pulling back to the axis side while still on the take-off edge, thus incorrectly changing the edge. Finally, Nick has his skaters do half lutzes using the exact same take-off, allowing the body to start to rotate. He uses both left-right and right-left forward landings.

One of the biggest challenges when learning a proper lutz is timing, and Nick spends the rest of the video discussing this. He compares the lutz to a back outside counter, and notes that waiting on the edge typically causes a change of edge problem. He says, “If they wait, even a little bit, they’re going to change that edge. Because you’re starting to fall forward, something has to happen to correct that. And if you don’t take off at that point to correct that unbalance, then you’ll change edge to correct it.” So the bottom line is skaters need to cut and toe in at nearly the same moment to prevent falling while still maintaining the proper take-off edge. He says “the skater is literally falling forward as the toe pick is going in.  As soon as they cut that toe pick has to go in.” He then explains the take-off mechanics from this position through the moment the skater leaves the ice with the necessary backwards lean. The falling forward body position automatically changes to the backward lean as the body rotates through the take-off.


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