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Teaching an Axel jump

Written by Tim Grafton May 2006 to March 2009

Updated August 2010

Thanks to Kathy Casey,  Seminar April 3 to 7 2006 and March 26th to 30th 2007

Axel jump demo,  click here

Watch this video for a full step by step description of the preparation, jump and landing, click here.

Axel drills and progressions from Kathy Casey seminar

  1. Standing still jump off both feet 360 degrees
  2. T push moving forward slowly jump off both feet 360 3 turn and hold landing position
  3. Moving forward slowly jump up and down on right leg,  landing on flat of blade
  4. T push tiny Waltz jump and land and back spin then push out and hold landing position.   Note:  This drill teaches the swap into the air position that needs to occur with an Axel jump,  it is best done with little height as this trains quickness.  Another drill is to jump into the air position and glide backwards in a straight line.
  5. T push Waltz jump - loop jump combo
  6. Half Axel :- T push moving forward slowly Waltz jump takeoff (but stop leg swing when the legs are together,  legs stay parallel beside each other in air,  not crossed),  1 turn,  land on both legs flat on the blade and do 3 turn hold landing position. Click here for video of the half Axel jump.   Note:  This skill does not teach the crossing of the legs into the air position,  skill No. 4 above does,  it is just a matter of combining both skills to fully rotate the Axel jump.

Notes:  This technique should

  1. Gather the feet together quickly on take off

  2. Avoid legs flying apart in the air.

  3. Cut back / 3 turn should disappear quicklyie in weeks

  4. No. 4 as above - this drill helps teach the skater to transfer their weight from the skating leg (usually left leg) after takeoff onto the landing leg (usually the right leg).

The skater should aim to execute 1 turn in the air landing on one or two feet,  the jump needs to be nice and straight in the air with the feet together on the takeoff and in the air,  land and then do a free turn to hold the landing position.  Once this has been achieved the next step is to build up height until the skater starts to over rotate the jump,  only once this has been achieved should the skater go for the next step which is to try and fully rotate the jump.

If the skater can land forward on the right leg and then do a free turn to hold the landing position then this cut back is likely to disappear quickly as the skater gains confidence and improves height and/or rotational skills.  This is what the jump drills that Kathy showed us aim to do.   However in applying this I found it difficult for skaters to land forward on one leg flat on the blade (the right leg),  which leads me to think that it might be important to start teaching the forward landing on the right leg earlier on.  My opinion is that landing on two feet forward flat on the blade is almost just as good,  once the jump is landed fully rotated and the skater gains confidence the natural tendency is to start landing the jump on one foot which is what happened in skater Hs case.

Drill number 4 (Waltz jump into a back spin),  this is important as it teaches a number of things,  firstly it teaches the transfer of weight on takeoff from the takeoff foot to the landing foot and it teaches this without being obvious or having to tell the skater this is what they are learning,  which is a bonus for young skaters,  some coaches specifically teach this transfer of weight from the takeoff foot to the landing foot,  this might be a more efficient way to teach this,  but without scientific proof it is hard to say.  Secondly it teaches the skater to twist into the air position,  thirdly it teaches them to finish in the landing position as does No. 6,  this is important for when the skater starts to land the jump on a cutback for various reasons.

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