Axel Insights and Drills – Part 4 (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 Part 2 he offered additional exercises that build on the previous exercises. In Part 3, he talked about the hip/shoulder relationship and how to use the body and axis arm to generate more rotational energy. In this video, Jeremy discusses random but important axel concepts and drills.

He begins this video offering two drills to help skaters learn to increase edge pressure on the axel take-off. The first exercise starts with a forward crossover into a forward outside swing roll on the take-off foot, then a change of edge while leaning back and keeping the free foot forward, followed by another change of edge to the forward outside take-off edge and body position for axel. Jeremy says, with this exercise “you really have to isolate the pressure down into the ice because you have not step.” The second drill he shares in passing is the back outside counter entry for axel. It’s a bit more advanced but it also forces the skater to feel the edge pressure to perform the counter, and then again to do the axel.

Next, Jeremy discusses the common axel error of keeping the free leg straight on the forward step. Many skaters leave the free leg straight because they were taught this technique for waltz jump while others simply cannot control the forward outside edge with the free leg in the correct position. Jeremy demonstrates the correct position with the free leg bent and the free foot inside the circle. Some coaches refer to this position as the “checkmark position” and some refer to it as “kicking yourself in the butt.” A straight free leg that is outside the circle usually results in either very little edge pressure and a take-off with very little rotational energy, or the skater compensates and drives the leg around and across the take-off path causing severe axis issues.

Another common axel error is when a skater steps forward and leaves the hips behind. When a skater “puckers” or “pikes” the hips like this, it dramatically reduces edge pressure and body alignment for creating a successful jump. As Jeremy notes, it can work for a single axel but it’s very rare for a double or triple axel. For skaters with this problem, a common cause is having pronation problems with the take-off ankle and another cause is having poor turn-out with the hips. Jeremy says, “As you’re stepping for an axel, you’re stepping through a Bauer position. Most skaters naturally can’t do this – they have to work on the Bauer.” So a good prerequisite for working on the axel is a solid Ina Bauer.

Finally, Jeremy discusses head positioning and awareness of jump direction. He shows premature head turn can affect jump direction, and he also shows the effect of compounding such a head error with the error of excessive arm movement towards the jump direction. He wants skaters to pick something in front of them to look at and keep the head facing in that direction “even as they’re starting to turn over the jump.” So even with this desired head anchoring, it’s still necessary to make sure the right shoulder continues into the rotation as the right hip does (see Part 3). Jeremy notes that head anchoring can make a huge difference, especially for smaller skaters.

Axel Insights and Drills – Part 1 (Jeremy Allen)
Axel Insights and Drills – Part 2 (Jeremy Allen)
Axel Insights and Drills – Part 3 (Jeremy Allen)
Axel Insights and Drills – Part 4 (Jeremy Allen)


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