In the past we asked some professional ice skating instructors their advice on helping skaters work on and land their axels.  Here is what they shared with the Ice Skating World community concerning this all-important jump.

Subject: AXELS

Submitted by: T.G
“In response to the axel gaining height…. I would have the skater do back-to-back axels. See how many they can do in a row type of game. This will force the skater to develop power when she is entering the jump. By the third or forth axel they will really have to work on the take off . Afterwards, remind them of the muscles they were using and to try to apply that on an axel when being done by itself. This exercise usually takes a few weeks to work, but with patience, power will develop and it will result in more height.”

Submitted by: Valerie
“My advice is to work back spin and walking over to the backspin. The student can work on the jump at home by jumping up and turning back on stair step. Pay close attention to the free leg and have them practice swinging free leg in and up. Good for those with inverted hip lines. Happy axels!”

Submitted by: Katie
“Although I am not a coach, I am a figure skater who figured out how to do a proper axle about a year ago with the help of my coach. Her tips were ‘kick up,’ ‘don’t stop with top pick before takeoff,’ ‘stand straight,’ ‘transfer weight in the air,’ and ‘keep your right arm and whole right side up.’ All these tips can be used for my doubles too. I just thought I’d share the tips I’ve learned. Good luck and happy skating!”

Submitted by: Sylvie Kademian
Rink: Kettering Ice Arena
“Have your student try the jump from a stand still. That way he/she has no forward momentum to help complete the rotation. From a stand still, the only way the student will get the rotation is to jump ‘up’ instead of ‘out.’ Once the student can confidently do it from a stand still, move to an entrance from a forward outside edge. Then do an entrance from crossovers. HOPE THIS HELPS.”

Submitted by: Angela
“[Response to Patti Brown] Hi Patti, I have a student that tends to get more ice coverage on this jump than height. Unfortunately, this jump is so intimidating. I would work on making sure that when the skater is making the transition from the gliding foot to the take off foot they do not fall to an inside edge (outside edge to outside edge), they keep their chest and chin up the whole time (if they look down, that’s where they will stay!), and the free leg and arms work together. And as their weight transfers in the air, an example I use is: it’s like a fireman sliding down the pole. Anyway, I hope this helps.”

Submitted by: Chris Mattern,

Rink:  Starcenter, Dallas
“[Response to Patti Brown]. I had a student with the same problem I found I needed to put a little skid in her take off. That makes her go up instead of out it also initiates the rotation. Not a big skid just about 2-3 inches right at the end of her take off. Also on the back edge have her lean into the circle and make sure she’s not lunging forward when she steps in. I hope this helps and good luck!”

Submitted by: Marta Nilsen, Lexington Ice & Recreation

“I like to start my students working on waltz jumps into backspins a month or two before I plan to start on the axel. This way they are practicing the actions and gaining muscle memory before we really start working on it. I think this adds to their confidence when they actually attempt the axel for the first few times.”

Subject: AXELS
Submitted by: Patti Brown, Centennial Ice Arena Highland Park
“I am glad that this topic is here because I am having a devil of a time with a student and her axel. My biggest problem with her is that she has no lift in the jump but great ice coverage and she does not get the concept of attacking the jump. We have done waltz-loop, waltz back scratch, double bunny hops. I have had her jump towards the boards so she has to lift in the jump otherwise she hits the boards.”

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