The Double Axel (Charlie Tickner)

Figure skating jump specialist Charlie Tickner explains how to do a double axel.  This video is a continuation of Charlie’s presentation on the single axel (Part 1 and Part 2).  In general, Charlie teaches a double axel using traditional methods and he begins by encouraging all skaters to do their double axel attempts using the same take-off they learned for single axel.  He explains the common problems of pulling in too early and twisting into rotation, rather than climbing up into the jump properly (maximizing air time) and efficiently transferring the weight to the landing side (proper air position).

Charlie also spends some time talking about another common error.  Many skaters simply don’t pull into a tight rotational position, or they do it too late, or they open too early.  Charlie tells his skaters, “You have to plan to land the jump” meaning you can’t give up on it when in the air.  Lack of entry speed is another common error as speed can be converted to more height and rotation by the take-off edge.

Charlie also tries to simplify the double axel or make it seem less daunting to skaters by reminding them, “it’s a waltz jump double loop.”  Although this is an oversimplification, many athletes respond to this kind of motivation.  Charlie does not like to think of it as an “axel single loop” but rather a “waltz jump double loop.”  He emphasizes the need to stay in the rotational position all the way down to the ice and then have a quick exit movement to the landing position.  He also recommends using a harness to help the skater learn the proper timing and feeling for the jump.

Charlie tries to cut through the mystique of the double axel by saying, “It’s not as hard as you think it is.”  He says, “It’s not two and a half rotations.  Maybe that will help.”  Slow motion video analysis proves that Charlie is correct as most double axels rotate between two full rotations in the air and two and a quarter rotations in the air.

While additional energy for the jump may come from a higher entry speed, Charlie also recommends a strong push into the double axel.  [Editor’s note:  Top coaches seem to disagree on whether a strong push is helpful or necessary.  Some believe a strong push can cause problems with proper body positioning and alignment.  But all coaches seem to agree that more overall speed on the entrance edge is helpful for creating the height and rotational energy necessary for the double axel.]  Charlie notes that a strong push (more speed) creates a stronger edge.


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