Double Axel Insights and Exercises (Jeremy Allen)

International coach and jump specialist Jeremy Allen discusses the double axel, including common errors and drills for creating a proper take-off. The first mistake he mentions is “going out too much” or extending the arms and free leg (and sometimes even the shoulders) too much in the direction of flight. He acknowledges the desired flight direction is “across the ice” and this direction is set primarily with the head (head anchoring) as the hips and shoulders “turn over together.”

Jeremy says, “If you look at a good double axel, as that (take-off) foot is leaving the ice, it’s already turning to backwards.” He then says, “If the (skating) foot only goes forward, there’s no opportunity for any rotational momentum or snap.” He then demonstrates this incorrect straight and open take-off which clearly does not rotate properly.

In terms of arm movements during take-off, Jeremy explains, “Your shoulders are going to be with your arms at all times.” In other words, he does not want the arms to continue artificially in the jump direction, but rather he wants them to move naturally with the rotation of the body as the skater leaves the ice. He then demonstrates a potential problem with extending the arms too much in the jump direction – an air position that is twisted and uncomfortable and less efficient and which rotates “behind your axis.”

One important aspect of a good double axel is the ability to “torque” the take-off foot. Jeremy demonstrates this and explains it as follows. He says, “As the axel is taking off, all of a sudden our (take-off) foot turns, very abruptly.” He notes a long curving take-off edge is not correct. Instead the skater needs to skate in a relatively straight line or very shallow curve, and then create the desired torque at the end of the take-off edge.

To learn this “torque” creation, Jeremy recommends a repeating forward outside three turn exercise, where the skater is getting excellent edge pressure at the very end of the three turn entry edge just prior to the turn. This exercise also provides an excellent way to develop the correct timing and movement of the free leg to “create momentum.” If you watch Jeremy’s free leg during the exercise, the free foot moves to roughly even with or just past the skating foot prior to the turn on the ice, and it continues through sideways as the three turn happens. It obviously ends up backwards as the three turn is completed. A more advanced version of this drill uses little hops so the second half of the three turn happens in the air.

To end the video, Jeremy explains and demonstrates why a big curvy take-off edge is not desirable. It may create rotational energy but it is hard to control and usually prevents a strong torque movement and pressure of the take-off foot, meaning the skater is likely to kick into the circle and either have axis problems where the body is tilted outside the circle, or have a jump with very limited flow.


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