Double Axel Insights (Frank Carroll)

Olympic Coach Frank Carroll talks about the double axel.  The double axel is the key jump separating the rest of the doubles and the triple jumps.  It is a major hurdle for most skaters, and especially for young female skaters.  In this figure skating video, Frank begins by talking about why some skaters can’t do a double axel even though they can jump very high.  He explains that two rotations of the double axel must be done backward and many big jumpers spend too much time “forward” during the jump.  He says, “Axels start forwards but turn backwards.”  To do a double axel, “the change-over from the forward take-off to the backspin is very, very fast.”  Frank shows an exercise to develop the quickness of the weight transfer.  Notice in the demonstration, the leg can not come through too far or this movement will certainly be too slow.

Frank also takes a few moments to explain that to get this quickness into rotation, a double or triple axel needs to be more efficient about getting into rotation than a single axel.  He notes that a big single axel may cover a lot of distance in the air, but a double axel will typically cover less distance and be higher, and the triple axel will cover even less distance and be higher still.  Frank talks about having to restrict the free leg movement on double axels and triple axels.  He demonstrates that some triple axels have a very small free leg movement and the skater gets into rotation so fast they are essentially “rotating on the way up.”  Frank says, “The range of motion of the free leg diminishes from a single axel to a double axel to a triple axel.  So the answer to really fixing a lot of these jumps lies in the ability to control your free leg and get lift from it, but in a very, very controlled area.”


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