Print Left on Ice for Axel (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna explains in detail what the print or tracing looks like for an axel based on how he teaches the jump. A good axel needs to have flow on the jump entry and flow on the landing as well, and it also needs a powerful “active” take-off edge. And although there are many different ways to teach an axel or think about an axel, the tracing on the ice for most good axels is surprisingly similar to what Nick explains here.

Most coaches around the world use a back outside edge entrance for the axel, where the skater is on a back outside edge (either a gliding edge, or a back outside edge resulting from other turns and steps) and steps forward onto the forward outside take-off edge. Yes, some coaches teach or use inside edge preparations for the axel, and some use a straight line entrance. But Nick’s description covers how most coaches and skaters think about the jump, although many if not most will use a bigger (imaginary) circle.

Even though Nick tells his skaters to glide backwards on the circle and step forward onto the same circle, that’s not exactly what happens. As he shows, the forward take-off edge typically comes off the circle to the outside, usually only slightly, although some skaters step more aggressively outside the circle. By pressing the skating foot out in front to generate edge pressure, the skater’s center of gravity (CG) can remain over the circle, although most skaters’ CG will drift outside the circle. Once the skater is in the air, the skater’s CG flies in a straight line to the landing impact point.

Notice how Nick draws the take-off edge as curving deeply before pressing up off the toe pick. This creates the lower body sideways “getting on a horse” axel take-off he has talked about in other videos. A skater does not directly face the landing with the take-off foot on an axel (ever), making the single axel ALWAYS LESS THAN 1 1/2 turns in the air.

The description near the end of the videos explains how the landing location changes based on the shape and location of the take-off edge. Notice the landing should not be further into the circle than the point of take-off, or the skater is “jumping back into the circle” which tends to decrease the flow of the jump.


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