Axel Insights and Drills – Part 2 (Jeremy Allen)

International coach and jump specialist Jeremy Allen continues a multi-part series on the axel, with an emphasis on the importance of edge pressure and how to generate it. In Part 1 he discussed the take-off and the need for edge pressure, and he showed a number of exercises to help a skater generate this edge pressure. In this video, he offers additional exercises that build on the previous exercises.

The first exercise is simply an unsupported version of the “left foot action” edge pressure drill he showed at the wall in Part 1. He shows the basic exercise and then does multiple repetitions of the exercise down the line. It is very important that this exercise does not curve. The line helps keep the desired direction of the free leg, while helping the skater focus on keeping the skating foot also going straight until the moment of added pressure at the end of the take-off edge.

Notice that Jeremy repeats the phrase “through, up to the toe” to indicate the skater needs to stay down in the skating knee until the free foot passes through, thus mastering the correct timing of movements for the take-off. A common error for this exercise is the free knee crossing “inside the circle” and ending up way over on the non-axis side of the line. This causes major axis problems in the jump and should be avoided at all costs. To help skaters keep some distance between their knees and to ensure the free leg moves in the correct direction, Jeremy tells his skaters to imagine a bowling ball attached to the inside of the skating knee so they “need to leave a little bit of space there as you go through” with the free knee and leg.

The torque and edge pressure at the end of the take-off edge should make a quick sound and Jeremy demonstrates this. Some skaters will skid to create this torque while others maintain a clean take-off edge. Jeremy notes that this skid/no-skid is skater-dependent and coaches can base their approach on what is natural for the skater or what the skater needs to create controlled edge pressure.

Next, Jeremy demonstrates in more detail what actually happens in most cases for a double or triple axel take-off, where there is no h-position but instead the hips stay neutral (or closed) without opening so the free leg actually tends to go through sideways. But Jeremy claims the “basic motion is the same” and the drills using h-position will keep the free leg moving in the correct direction. He says, “The hips turn over with the knee… but the general direction and trajectory is the same no matter what.”

Jeremy then demonstrates an advanced exercise for working on axel edge pressure he learned from coach Darin Hosier. It is basically the same exercise as before, but after going up to the toe the skater pulls back to a back outside counter and then repeats it over and over, remaining on the take-off foot throughout. Jeremy says, it’s “extremely hard but if you can do this you pretty much have that axel technique with the take-off foot mastered.”

To end this video, Jeremy discusses the idea of keeping the non-axis arm in front during the take-off compared to swinging both arms in a more traditional take-off. He demonstrates both in some detail.


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