Double Axel Off-Ice Training – Part 1 (Chris Conte)

International coach and choreographer Chris Conte begins a series of videos where he shares a process of off-ice training techniques for developing the double axel. Obviously these methods also work for single axel development (as well as the triple axel). Chris recorded this himself with just a smartphone, so the audio quality isn’t quite up to regular iCoachSkating standards. However, the information is so good that we can overlook the audio issues.

Chris begins by clarifying direction of flow and then talks about various foot positions while standing on the floor. The purpose of the positions will become clear throughout the video. Chris takes a starting position facing 90 degrees from the direction of flow, with the hands directly in front of the body (also at 90 degrees to the direction of flow). Next, the step onto the take-off foot results in a position that is similar to an Ina Bauer, with the shoulders still parallel to the direction of flow and the upper body up. Chris emphasizes the step to the back of the skating blade.

Then Chris brings the free leg forward and turns the skating foot 90 degrees, ending with the body in the classic “getting on a horse” axel take-off position. Note that this position has the shoulders facing the direction of flow, the skating foot 90 degrees past the direction of flow, and the free leg held in a position such that the free knee is roughly on the “line of the jump” (in the direction of flow from the take-off point). Chris notes that he does not want the free foot to be on the line of the jump at this point (since that would cause the lower body to cut across the direction of flow and cause the skater to tilt outside the circle – probably the most common and classic double axel mistake). He also says, “I’m not a big fan of that tradition h anymore.”

Next, to help everyone visualize what is happening, Chris uses an inflatable duck that he places around his waist. (The duck is affectionately named “Herbert Washington Quackers III.” Chris has too much fun while he teaches…) Note that the duck is not facing the line of the jump at the moment of take-off. At that moment the duck has already moved past the line of the jump.

Check out the rest of the videos in this series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.


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