Teaching a Skidded Axel Take-Off – Part 3 (Chris Conte)

Figure skating coach and choreographer Chris Conte continues his presentation on how he teaches a skidded axel take-off.  In the first part, Chris introduced the topic and demonstrated how he begins the process with the hockey glide.  In the second part, he presents much more detail on the hockey glide.  In this video he adds arms, the “checkmark” prep position, and a repeating take-off exercise.

When adding arms, Chris likes the fingers to touch.  He repeats, “Press through, skid up.”  He talks about how the rotational energy is generated.  He spends some time talking about lunged steps and re-bended loading.  He explains, “I’m not an extra movement guy.  Less movement.  Less to mess up.”  To prevent little skaters from lunging forward with the upper body Chris tells them, “Keep your face up out of your soup before you take off.”

Next he practices the hockey lunge and skid with the free leg coming through to a balance point on the bottom toe pick.  At this point, Chris wants the feet at a right angle.  [Editor’s note: In reality, almost all skaters will keep the hips closed and the feet parallel, not at right angles, as the hips turn and the free leg comes forward.  Asking for the right angle is one way to prevent excessive uncontrolled rotation when learning the technique.]  The technique then uses the snizzle Chris has explained extensively in other videos to transfer weight and get to an efficient rotational position.

Next Chris introduces the “checkmark” position with a one-foot skid to a balance.  He shows how to repeat this to speed mastery.  He makes it clear that the skating side must remain still and should not spin into the rotation for this drill.  Chris continues by demonstrating skidded half-axels or once-arounds (sometimes called bell jumps).  He finishes the video by acknowledging that he typically does not teach the skidded axel until after a skater can already do an axel, as preparation for a double or triple.


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