You already know this, but falling hurts. Falling on ice hurts even more (thank you, Captain Obvious). I learned this the hard way last week during a lesson.
Coach B was trying to refine my axel. She noticed that my ice tracing was a bit “curly” and wanted to fix it. We went on a hockey circle and she explained that the axel takeoff should be going away from the circle and the landing should also occur outside the circle.
What I was doing was jumping inside the circle, and therefore landing inside the circle. Yes, I am getting all the way around and have a technically clean jump, but it doesn’t look as pretty. I’m aiming for high grades of execution here, so I want the axel to be as perfect as possible.
Here is a graphic that I drew for you to understand what Coach B is talking about.
|LBO: Left Back Outside Edge; RFO: Right Forward Outside Edge (this graphic is correct for ‘lefty’ skaters like me)|
This totally made sense to me. So I went and tried it on the ice. I took off away from the circle and promptly fell. Hard. Somehow, I managed to land on my right hand, and it bruised up pretty badly. Four out of my five fingers became purple (and hurt to bend), and the heel of my hand was black and blue as well. Everyone on the ice stopped to make sure I was OK, and that was pretty embarrassing.
The good news? I had done the exercise correctly.
Several days later, a skater came up to me and asked if I was OK. She and her mom had seen my fall from the previous week. Thankfully, my bruises had healed by then, but it was still embarrassing that my big fall had made such an impact on her.
This week’s lesson: Falling on the ice hurts. And if you do fall, don’t fall on your hands.