Skating Fridays

My first REAL axel

I landed my first axel at age 30. Now when I say “axel,” I want to be clear and explain that I landed an “adult” axel. What’s the difference between a real axel and an adult one, you ask? Well, in a real axel, the free leg is completely crossed over the landing leg, with ankle contact, like this:

For the life of me, I could not get my legs to cross. My free leg would be bent and parallel to my landing leg. It looked like a stork. Nick Perna refers to this as “Adult Leg Syndrome.” Here is an axel from December 2013 so you can see what it looked like back then. Notice the stork leg.

I have done countless exercises and drills to address this error. I could execute all the drills with no problem. But, when it came time to actually incorporate it into the jump, my body would revert back to the stork leg. It was so incredibly frustrating.

I had a breakthrough recently. In fact, this happened in my lesson the day after I returned from the Grassroots to Champions seminar I attended. Although my attempts during the seminar were unsuccessful, the axels I tried the following day were correct.

My coach recorded these during my lesson. She and I both squealed like little girls when she and I both realized that I finally landed an axel with my legs crossed. I jumped up and down and started clapping my hands. Then I tried it again to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and the subsequent jumps were also correct. Take a look:

After I analyzed (and re-analyzed) the video, I saw that the landing
was fully clean too boot!  I am thrilled that after years and years of
countless drills, exercises and visualization, I finally got it! Now
let’s hope that I maintain these and build that muscle memory so the
stork leg goes away permanently.

Time to celebrate!


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