Jump Development Exercises Pt 6 – Inside Axels (Chris Conte)

Chris Conte continues with Part 6 of a multi-part series on jump development exercises.  In this series, Chris provides a set of warm-up exercises with a variety of drills embedded in them to develop important jumping skills associated with axis, air position, head control, and strong powerful landings.  The drills are general and apply to all multi-rotation jumps and are not focused on specific-jump take-off methods or technique.  In Part 1, Chris introduced the “snizzle” which is a combination of “snap drill” and “twizzle.”  In Part 2, he showed some basic warm-up drills including the backward jump snizzle.  In Part 3, he covered a warm-up drill and a landing drill.  In Part 4 he revisited snizzles with his demonstrator.  And in Part 5 he introduced the “hop around.”

In this video, Chris returns to snizzles but adds the inside axel.  The inside axel can obviously be thought of as “a snizzle in the air.”  To build the skill, he has the skater do a repeating sequence of a single snizzle followed by an inside axel and a hop.  Chris mentions tempo and the importance it plays in jumping.  In particular, he cautions against increasing the tempo too soon.  He says, “Do not increase the tempo until you have correct alignment.  But if you find the tempo is too slow, you’re not going to get correct alignment because those two things are related.”  The rest of this discussion regarding observed positional errors being a result of timing is priceless.  Notice his recommendation to coaches to “train your eye” every day.

Next Chris has the skater do inside axels with hop arounds in a repeating sequence.  Then he has the skater do inside axels over and over, with only a hop turn from backward to forward between each inside axel.  Chris explains the benefits of doing these kinds of drills that repeat.  He also discusses the idea of starting on a hockey circle rather than on large patterns around the ice.  Chris adds yet another even more advanced drill by having the skater use a different arm position on alternating inside axels.

As Chris talks about this he says something that is critically important and represents one of the fundamental reasons for using all of these jump development drills he’s sharing.  He says, “She’s actually checking as she folds into rotation so she’s ‘pre-checked.'”  The idea is simple.  He’s trying to get the skater into a checked air position as quickly as possible that is efficient for rotation and provides maximum control for landings.

Chris explains that he wants every attempt in the sequence to look the same, rather than any of the attempts having wobbles or wiggles.  He notes that he uses walleys to get skaters focused on making every attempt in a sequence identical as well as for shoulder control.  As he explains, for “walleys you need a little bit of pre-rotation, so it help them learn to snap back.  You really can’t do a walley without upper body pre-rotation.  But it’s a controlled pre-rotation.  Pre-rotation isn’t evil, but we have to learn to control it.”  The idea here is that many skaters have shoulder and upper body pre-rotation on many or all of their jumps, and learning to “snap back” helps them still get to an air position that will allow safe and consistent landings.


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