Skating Fridays

Off-Ice Axels: A Comparison {Video}

Well, I learned not too long ago that our local competition has been officially cancelled. It was slated for the end of September and usually helped me gauge how my program was coming along. Since our rink has been closed since mid-March, the board of the figure skating club made the difficult decision to cancel the competition. They couldn’t guarantee that judges or skaters would want to travel to the rink this year.

I guess that’s somewhat of a blessing in disguise. First of all, I have no program. I have chosen music for my next freestyle program but have not worked on choreography yet. My new costume hasn’t been made yet either.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing off-ice lessons for jumps and spins. Honestly, I was hesitant to do the off-ice jump lessons because historically, I have never been good at them. But I figured, what the heck.

Coach asked me to do an off-ice axel, and I had trouble. To tell you the truth, I’ve always struggled with these. It’s fitting that my off-ice axel looks exactly the same as my on-ice axel. My arms are loosey-goosey and my legs start to open up mid-jump. My right hip jacks up and turns into an open “4” position. As a result, my off-ice axel is cheated.

Fast forward a month later, after countless exercises to learn a quicker snap. I’ve worked on getting my ankles together tightly and keeping my hips closed. Much to my surprise, my off-ice axel has improved dramatically. My on-ice axel usually clocks in around 0.33 seconds of air time, while the latest off-ice axel is about 0.40. What’s interesting about this comparison is that the air time on the first video is higher than the second – so while my air time decreased over the course of a month, my rate of rotation increased. I landed the first jump a quarter turn short of clean, while the second one is fully backwards.

Take a look for yourself. The first video is from April 23, 2020 (around the time of my first off-ice lessons) and the second one is from May 27, 2020.

If you are a skater, have you been doing off-ice during the at-home period? If your rink has re-opened, have you noticed a difference in your skating? How has off-ice helped or hindered your progress?


  1. June 19, 2020 / 8:19 pm

    So smooth, Eva! That second landing definitely looks cleaner. And you look so comfortable! I’m sure you’ll feel a difference once you’re back on the ice!

    • evabakes
      June 19, 2020 / 9:11 pm

      I couldn’t believe the difference until I watched it on video! And yes, it has helped me on the ice also. 🙂

  2. June 23, 2020 / 7:56 pm

    So you are back on the ice just now? Enjoy!

    • evabakes
      June 23, 2020 / 8:07 pm

      My rink isn’t open yet but our sister rink is. It has limited times and there are many restrictions. But at least it’s ice and we can skate!

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