Lutz In Ice Skating: Correcting A Flutz – Part 1 (Nick Perna)

Nick Perna fixes an incorrect lutz take-off edge or flutz.  This video is the first of a multipart series covering the entire half hour lesson.  We get to sit in on a practical lutz lesson as Nick works with 9 year old Emily.  The flutz is a mistake that is extremely common at low levels in figure skating and is still a big problem even at higher levels within the sport.  (It would be an overwhelming problem if all the lower level skaters with flutz problems reached the higher competitive levels.)  A flutz is a lutz jump attempt that takes off the back inside edge rather than the back outside edge.

Nick has previously shared exercises and drills for getting and staying on the proper edge as well the theory of a proper lutz (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3).  Those drills and exercises are very powerful and they form the basis for this lesson.  This new video series is particularly valuable as it shows how to use the exercises in practice and what can go wrong and how to address these practical issues.

In this first video, Nick is told Emily has a flutz problem and rather than take a look immediately at a lutz attempt, he starts the lesson with a backspin.  He’s looking for basic positions (h and d positions) which Emily does well enough for Nick to continue.  Next Nick looks at Emily’s loop jump because it’s closely related to flip and lutz.  Notice the emphasis on a proper h-position (and the details of how to do it) and the focus on head alignment on the landing position.

Next Nick takes a look at the flip jump.  Emily’s flip is quite “curvy” and Nick notes that this often implies a flutz problem.  As Nick notes, “Oftentimes when a skater has a real swingy entrance to a flip jump it ends up being a much more pronounced inside edge for the take-off of the flip, which means that they’re probably going to have a pronounced curve on their flutz as well.”  Nick’s suggested correction is simply to straighten out the flip.  He puts it on the hockey line and notes, “There’s really no back inside edge until the actual take-off.”

Finally, Nick gets to see Emily’s first lutz attempt and says, “It’s definitely a flutz.”  To correct the problem, Nick first has Emily do backward power pulls on her right foot (since she jumps to the right).  Nick wants Emily to press strongly on the edges to create a “crunch” sound on the ice.  Nick says, “I feel it’s really important that you can do a good power pull that has a crunch before you can do a lutz because a proper lutz has an active edge on the take-off.”  He further notes, “It has to be an active edge.  It can’t just be a passive gliding outside edge.”

This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of teaching the lutz jump.  Unfortunately, because most coaches working with low level skaters do not know this, they teach the lutz jump to skaters that aren’t ready to learn it properly.  In other words, most skaters first learn a lutz jump when they still cannot control and push on their back outside edge (i.e. can’t do strong back power pulls) so they have no chance of creating an active take-off edge.  This means these skaters will automatically do what feels natural and flop over onto an inside edge.  One of the major culprits in creating flutzes is the overdependence coaches place on the gentle gliding back outside edge setup which makes a real lutz very difficult for low level skaters.  As Nick explains in this series and the previous videos on lutz, the feeling of the outside edge should be developed thoroughly using drills and exercises prior to introducing any common lutz entry edge including the shallow back outside edge entry.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this lesson…


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