Axel Edge Pressure – Part 1 (Nick Perna)

Figure skating coach Nick Perna offers tips for skaters to improve their axel take-off edge.  The take-off edge on the axel jump is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of figure skating.  Nick explains that many skaters tend to lunge forward with their body and “they never really get underneath the jump.”   Nick explains the proper motion as a “swing-set type motion”  and he shares a tip regarding timing (when to jump off the swing!).  This is a priceless description: “They have to have a backswing with a bent leg, the hips come under, the leg comes through, and then they get to jump only after the leg has passed through.”

Next Nick describes and demonstrates the “wall kick” drill.  He explains how to do the drill and he shares common errors as well.  The body positions are particularly important in this drill, so just standing there and hitting the wall with the skate is not very useful.  Notice the free shoulder held back and the upright body.  The skating foot leads into the wall.  After showing the two-foot version of the drill, he demonstrates the version where the skater picks up the back foot off the ice.  The final position is not “balanced” as the skater should be falling backwards if the drill is done correctly.

After mastering the wall kick drill, Nick explains to the skater that this helps create the “active edge” needed for good axels.  He explains the timing as it relates to the free leg coming through and the jumping motion itself.  Nick also wants skaters to be able to do the bread drill on the forward outside edge.  And although a waltz jump can have an active edge, most skaters don’t have much edge pressure on a waltz jump.  But Nick notes, “If you have a lot of speed and you’re really moving into the jump with power, you can get that crunch and get a good launch on a waltz jump as well.”

See PART 2 here.


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