Double Axel Lesson – Part 1 (Chris Conte)

National figure skating coach and choreographer Chris Conte gives a double axel lesson to a skater at a camp. In this first part, Chris shares insights about how he thinks about the jump. Sometimes this simple framework is the difference between good and great coaches. To start the lesson, Chris confirms that the skater is tying her skates correctly. Double axel development is challenging enough without equipment issues.

Next he watches a single axel and analyzes it for the skater and the coaches sitting in on the lesson. Chris offers observations regarding strength and quickness, highlighting the need for precise timing and quickness over raw strength. He uses a “mini Cooper analogy” to show how a skater can get height from the speed across the ice and the ability to push the skate out in front on the take-off edge.

Then Chris addresses this skater’s tendency to spin into the rotation a little before take-off. He explains that given the correct edge, rotation is “free” and skaters really need to minimize attempts to create more with the upper body.  He says, “Rotation is going to happen from your foot turning on the ice quickly.”

To end this part of the lesson, Chris  notes that he doesn’t consider putting a skater on the pole harness for double axel until they have air times of 0.43 seconds or more on the single axel. He says,”The pole harness is a finishing tool. I shouldn’t have them in it for months at a time. It should be a week, 2 weeks maybe of pole lessons on something. If it takes longer than that, they weren’t really ready to be in the pole. There was some other issue.”


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