How To Do An Axel – Axel Class Part 4 (Tom Zakrajsek)

Olympic coach Tom Zakrajsek teaches an axel class at the Grassroots to Champions Supercamp held in Faribault, MN in July/August 2013.  This video is the third in a multi-part series by Tom sharing the information he covered in his classes at camp.  In the first video of the axel class, he discussed warming up properly and shared details of the forward take-off edge.  In the second video of the axel class, Tom focused on the standstill axel and he shared more details of the forward take-off edge, including very important timing information.  In the third how to do an axel video, Tom talked more about the movements of the forward take-off edge and he shared a drill he calls the pogo stick exercise.

All parts of this series:
Axel Class – Part 1
Axel Class – Part 2
Axel Class – Part 3
Axel Class – Part 4
Axel Class – Part 5
Axel Class – Part 6
Axel Class – Part 7

In this video, Tom is teaching a slightly more advanced class of skaters who have all landed the axel.  He starts again by discussing the warm-up for the class and then he lets the class do their own jump-specific warm-up exercises.  (Internet comedian and YouTube star Michael Buckley of WHATTHEBUCKSHOW does an axel at 0:52 in the video!)  Next, Tom spends some time chatting with the class about overall jump or skill development.  He notes that it’s a process.  Skaters at this level need to continually be reminded of this as many assume that once they land a jump for the first time, they have it and they’re done working on it.  Tom explains it, “You acquire it, then you have to stabilize it, then you refine it.  So that’s the process of getting a new jump.”  By stabilizing a new jump, Tom means making it consistent.  And by refining it he means making it look really nice and getting it to a place where another rotation can be added.

Tom’s big focus in this class is on axis and alignment.  He really wants them to be aware of what they’re doing.  He also talks about the arm swing and has the class practice this movement in isolation.  He also discusses the hoop again (and mentions “frame”) and he says, “There has to be some space between your hands and your chest when you take off on an axel.  You’re going to swing your arms to a position.”  He continues, “You want to shape your movement and try to do that accurately.”

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One Response to “How To Do An Axel – Axel Class Part 4 (Tom Zakrajsek)”
  1. January 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Nancy Thanks so much for sharing, Tom! I like that you explained to the students that their axel has to be refined and may not be consistent at first.

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