Ice Skating Edge Training: The Bread Drill (Nick Perna)

Nick Perna begins a series of videos covering drills and exercises he uses to help his skaters develop power, agility, coordination, and edge control and awareness.  In this video, Nick explains and demonstrates the Bread Drill.  The Bread Drill is important because it teaches the skater to “push and pump off one edge and just one edge.”  Done correctly, the drill leaves a pattern on the ice that looks like the top of a piece of bread.  Nick says, “It has a curve, a dip, and a curve.  I like to call that dip a ‘blurb.'”

Nick begins the demonstration with the forward inside Bread Drill.  When you watch the demonstration, notice that Nick stays on one edge the entire time and the drill can keep going indefinitely.  Nick says a good goal is to do six “crunch-blurbs” in a row.  The edge does not switch during the blurb, although the direction of the curve may change (or it may simply become more shallow).

Nick says, “It’s a lot harder than it looks initially.  It is a very good drill because they can’t switch edge in between.  It teaches them to produce power off the cutting edge, and then the blurb is going to be a silent shallow edge of the same type.”

Nick spends a few moments explaining how this is different than alternating power pulls.  For the inside Bread Drill, the skate stays on an inside edge during the blurb.  “It’s actually a forced edge in a sense during that transition where the blurb is during the next cut.”  Skater’s can easily develop the proper motion and feeling by simply pumping.  Initially Nick lets the skater determine the free leg position, as long as the skater remains aligned over the skating side.  Then as the skater becomes more proficient, Nick requires specific free leg positions.

Next, Nick demonstrates the forward outside Bread Drill before showing the backward inside Bread Drill (which most skaters find relatively easy).  A common error on the back inside drill is the skater is too far forward on the blade.  [Nick notes that this drill can be very helpful for improving the salchow jump!]

To help skaters determine the proper place to put their weight on the blade, Nick uses a concept he calls “The Stomping Spot.”  He defines it as, “that spot that if you stomped your feet, that’s where you’d be.  It’s middle to back of the blade.  It’s not on the front of the blade, it’s in that center to back spot.”  Nick suggests having the skater pause the drill and hop up in the air and land on the stomping spot to make sure they are in the right place on the blade.  They should take off and land in the same spot while gliding.

Finally Nick demonstrates the back outside Bread Drill.  He notes that if they can do this drill well, “they shouldn’t have any problems doing the blurb cut into a lutz” as he’s explained in his lutz videos.  He notes that this drill is even better than power pulls for learning lutzes.

To demonstrate full control, Nick has his skaters do the Bread Drill on all different sizes of circles.  He often uses the hockey circles for this advanced training.


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