Teaching Turns on a Straight Line Using “Hitchy Coo” (Nick Perna)

International and World figure skating coach Nick Perna shares a method for teaching complete mastery of all one foot turns in figure skating.  He does not introduce this at the Learn-to-Skate level, but after a skater has developed some level of control of the entrance and exit edges.  He usually begins with the forward outside three turn.  The idea is simple:  do a turn on a straight line.  By removing the rotational component, skaters can often quickly master the entrance and exit edges.  And by breaking the straight-line turn down into an entrance edge (flat), beginning of the turn (stop), pause, finish the turn (the “hitchy coo”), and exit edge (flat) as Nick does here, it keeps the movements simple and controlled.  He teaches the overall process in 3 phases.

Nick begins by making sure the skater can do the entrance and exit positions on a flat.  That’s the first phase.  The second phase is what Nick calls the “hitchy coo” or the turn exit.  Nick starts the hitchy coo from a standstill, halfway through the “full turn” on a flat.  The hitchy coo is a small blurb cut with associated free leg movement into the exit edge position.  The third and final phase of the learning/teaching process is to learn to enter the turn.  Nick has the skater come to a stop half-way through the “full turn” and balance there.  Nick says, “That’s essentially the same thing as doing a one foot stop.”  He continues, “To do the turn correctly, your weight has to be behind that turn slightly, so your foot is out ahead of you.”  He uses front T-stops and one-foot stops to master this skill.  Once a skater has mastered the 3 phases, Nick says, “We slowly start blending it together.”  By slowly removing the pause in the middle of the turn, the turn gets smoother and smoother.

Nick notes that by doing a forward outside 3-turn on a straight line, you’re also essentially doing a forward inside bracket, a forward outside rocker, and a forward inside counter.  Nick closes the video with more detail on the hitchy coo and the free leg movement.  He describes the motion as a “throw” and “catch” of the free leg.  He notes that it helps some skaters to jump the hitchy coo to develop the correct feeling and motion.  Simple one-foot side hops can help build this skill by getting the skater used to throwing the leg weight and jumping.


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