Double Axel Lesson: Important Drills – Part 1 (Audrey Weisiger)

World and Olympic coach Audrey Weisiger gives a double axel lesson to a skater who has been working on the jump a while, yet has never landed it.  We join the lesson already underway with Audrey asking for a single axel landing with the arms in a “hoop” position and then keeping the feet crossed during a series of running turns on the ice.  This exercise shows Audrey the take-off mechanics this skater uses and the air position and landing alignment.  She then has a discussion with the skater about “holding back” or jumping with too much caution.  Next she asks to see a double loop.  The jump rotates slowly and kindles a discussion about learning to always rotate at maximum speed.

Notice how slowly the skater rotates in the first double axel attempt.  Audrey observes that the skater doesn’t get much lift or power from the free leg on the take-off, but notice that the jump is still high, making a powerful kick-through unnecessary.  Audrey then has the skater do a variation of a forward outside jump pivot drill where the skater actually starts in a front spin and jumps up into a backspin.  This drill had the desired effect of dramatically increasing the skater’s rotational speed.  Almost all skaters must become comfortable spinning very fast to properly learn double axels and triple jumps.

On the next double axel attempt, the skater gets more rotational speed.  Audrey discusses the concept of “climbing up on the horse” while keeping the free foot “behind” (although it still comes through!).  This is more natural for skaters like this one who do not have a big free leg swing.  Audrey also talks about pivoting on the left toe before lift-off.  Eventually the discussion moves to the arms and the movements needed to quickly get from the take-off to a proper and efficient air position.

After a better double axel attempt, Audrey has the skater do a one-foot axel and then a one-foot axel into a series of turns on the left foot with the right foot tucked behind.  The final part of this drill has the skater stepping down to the right foot (which is still tucked under) and then check out.  This drill is very challenging for most skaters, and this skater is no exception.  Notice the loss of flow resulting from alignment issues and too much focus on the inside landing edge.  This lesson is continued in Part 2.


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