Introduction to Beginner Axel – Part 1 (Nick Perna)

International coach and jump specialist Nick Perna works with a class of young skaters at a camp, introducing the early concepts necessary for axel development. A significant percentage of this class is not really ready to work on the axel, but as Nick demonstrates it’s never too soon to teach important concepts that will make axel development dramatically easier down the road.

Nick begins by explaining to the class the need to “get the waltz jump right” to be able to do an axel. He says, “The fundamental parts of a waltz jump apply to the axel, the double axel, and the triple axel.” So poor waltz jump fundamentals can dramatically hinder overall axel progress.

By watching individual waltz jump attempts by skaters in the class, Nick is able to share ideas about what makes a good waltz jump and what makes a poor one. He covers quite a few tips in this section including: hold landings, straight free leg on landing, keep head up, bring arms through narrowly, kick the free leg/foot through, and bring arms and free leg back and through together. Nick explains, “We want to go for height and distance. Primarily in a waltz jump and an axel as we’re building towards a double axel and even a triple axel, height is more important than distance. Distance usually comes with speed. When we’re going fast and we jump high, we’ll tend to have a longer jump.”

He continues, “The main thing is you want to try to get vertical height. And that height comes from getting under the jump and getting the leg to come through and up into the air.” And more, “You have to start now at this early stage when you’re learning waltz jumps and axel beginnings to start thinking about going up with your jump and getting your (free leg) to come through.”

One of the fundamental skills necessary for axel development is learning to step onto a forward outside edge under control with a bent free leg. Nick calls this “kicking the butt” as a way to visualize just how much knee bend is necessary in the free leg. He says, “You have to be able to bring your (free) leg back so that you feel like you’re kicking your bottom, even though you’re not going to actually kick your bottom.” Nick also explains the need to flex the free foot rather than pointing the toe. Additionally, teaching skaters at this level to keep the skating shoulder forward and the free shoulder back on the forward outside take-off edge pays huge dividends later during axel development.


Sorry, this content is for members only.

Click here to get access.


Already a member? Login below

Remember me (for 2 weeks)

Forgot Password

FavoriteLoadingAdd to "My Favorites" (Beta testing)
Member Login

Forgot Password