Skating Fridays

Air Time

All this week, I’ve been running my freestyle program. I am competing this weekend in a local adult competition and wanted to be ready. For some odd reason, my axel has felt a bit wonky.

Full disclaimer: it took me 12 years to get the axel to where it is now, and even that’s been a long and difficult journey.

I was landing this jump forward, which meant that it was 1/2 a revolution under-rotated. Naturally, I videoed myself to see what was going on. I concluded that my arms were opening up too early. On the next attempts, I focused on pulling in my arms to see if it would help. While it did, my legs started doing weird things.

Upon closer analysis, I noticed that the distance between my takeoff print and the landing print was wider than normal. Once I watched the video and used a frame timer, I noticed something strange: the air time was actually greater than usual. Take a look:

My standard axel is about 0.33 in air time. That means that from the time my toe pick leaves the ice to the time my toe pick hits the ice on landing, I spend 0.33 seconds in the air. It’s a pretty average flight time, and just enough for me to get around.

However, the latest axel attempts have measured in around 0.37 seconds. While 0.04 doesn’t seem like a lot of time, it is in ice skating. It can mean the difference between landing a single jump and a double jump. And in my case, it means that my body has extra time in the air to freak out. Which is precisely what it was doing.

Armed with that information, I set out to re-learn the mechanics. And I had to do it quick because I was competing in a few days. I’m not sure if my body is adjusted to the new height or distance yet, but it’s a start. I’m hoping that my body will know what to do once it’s time to compete.

Here is a cleaner version of the new, bigger jump:

Can you see a difference? It’s subtle, but it’s there.


  1. February 14, 2020 / 6:10 pm

    I can really see a difference as you get some more air time: not just height, but in the flow out of the jump. I’m told on turns that as I have more speed, my edge will feel “flatter” and that I should avoid trying to hook my edges to produce more rotation. I wonder if it’s the same on jumps–that you won’t need quite so much force pulling in your arms? Or that you might delay? At any rate, this looks like progress even as I’m sure it feels really “off” because it’s new.

    • evabakes
      February 15, 2020 / 7:02 am

      My edge definitely does feel flatter, but I feel like I need to pull my arms in tighter. My jump coach mentioned that because I am covering my distance, my rate of rotation is actually slower than before (hence the need to pull in my arms tighter). I’m interested to see how this translates to other jumps. I haven’t been working on anything other than my program since it’s competition season.

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