Double Axel Lesson – Part 3 (Chris Conte)

National figure skating coach and choreographer Chris Conte continues with a double axel lesson for a skater at a camp. In Part 1, Chris analyzed the skater’s jump and talked about how he thinks about the jump, including the “how to make a Mini-Cooper fly” concept. In Part 2 he continued the theory for double axel and offered drills to help the skater build proper awareness and movement patterns. In this video, he focuses primarily on perfecting one drill.

There are some golden nuggets of axel theory in this video. Chris wants skaters to accelerate into an axel, rather than bleed off speed throughout. He also wants the skating side to lead. He told the skater, “You put your whole self in. Just put your left side in.” Chris also wants pressure on the end of the edge so the skater’s foot turns on the ice.

The drill in which the skater drags the free skate on the ice is intended to help skaters feel more comfortable pressing the skating foot (and hips) forward during the step and “keeps the back straight.” Without this forward pressure, the skater cannot create any edge pressure. A good jump needs pressure and quickness and Chris demonstrates this by snapping his fingers.

Great insight: Chris says, “The stopping action of that front foot will decrease the radius and fire the other side through.” The decreasing radius is helping create rotational energy.

Although the skater makes a large number of attempts at this drill, we think it’s helpful to see them and try to see what Chris is seeing. He clearly likes some attempts and doesn’t like others. Good coaches train themselves to see these subtle differences.


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