Skating Fundamentals: One Foot Balance (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna talks about the importance of learning to balance at a standstill on one foot. To help skaters master the control of the exit edges of turns, Nick uses a drill he calls the hitchy coo which he explaines in detail in another video. But part of the hitchy coo drill has the skater balancing at a standstill on one foot.

Nick notes that skaters who can balance on one foot without gliding will usually be able to control their gliding edges. This kind of balance work requires good alignment and good body tension. Notice how Nick’s head is right over his skate as he stands on one foot facing the camera. Also, notice how the free hip is slightly raised and the skating hip is under and aligned over the skate.

Nick recommends doing balance drills in various positions, and ultimately, skaters should be able to balance in any position, including spiral positions and landing positions.

To help learn this skill faster, Nick suggests doing balance drills off the ice. Helpful tools for this include wobble boards, half foam rollers, and BOSU balance trainers. He does not recommend doing off-ice balance work in skates, as the skate needs to be able to turn freely like on the ice to maintain balance and control.

On the ice, Nick also shows how skaters can use the barrier to initially learn to balance. Notice how he places the skating side closer to the wall to improve alignment and minimize leaning.

Nick equates this kind of balance training to the barre work of ballet. It teaches fundamentals that will allow much faster future progress. He says, “You’ve got to have the letters before you can spell the words.”


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