Pivots – Part 1 (Nick Perna)

Figure skating coach Nick Perna explains how he teaches pivots.  Nick thinks pivots are often overlooked because skaters usually learn them so early in the skating development process and coaches aren’t demanding about improving the positions.  Also, even relatively advanced skaters typically do not work on pivots and some high level skaters have never even tried all 8 pivots!

When teaching a pivot, Nick wants the majority of the skater’s weight over the pivoting foot.  The other foot essentially does a swizzle push to generate rotation.  (Note that the pushing foot does a “blurb” although Nick does not mention this to his skaters.)  Nick shows common errors of keeping too much weight on the non-pivot foot and bending the non-pivot leg.

For a good forward inside pivot, Nick wants the pivot leg bent and the non-pivot leg straight.  He also wants the pivot leg turned out since it looks better.  He shows how it relates to a hockey glide with the leading foot turning out toward the outside edge.  Nick claims that turning the pivoting foot out accelerates the rotation “because it’s pulling the pivot around.”

Skaters should be able to do pivots comfortably in both directions and on both feet.  Nick uses a drill that alternates between pivots to create a series of pivots making it easy to practice many at once.  He shows one such drill with hockey glides between the pivots.

Pivots should not pump to continue spinning.  Nick says, “That’s cheating, unless that’s the effect you’re going for.”  He continues by explaining how to get a pivot that rotates multiple rotations and looks strong.  He says, “They have to get a good blurb and cut… but then they have to create tension, just like a camel spin.”  He explains this “pulling” in detail.


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