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Thread: Overcoming axel mental block

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    Overcoming axel mental block

    Hi, adult skater here - been skating once a week for over a year now. Ive got all my jumps up to the Lutz and, although the outside edge still eludes me every now and then, my coach has begun talking about trying Axels soon.

    The thing is, I am TERRIFIED of the forward entry. I have no idea why - I literally find the waltz jump the hardest out of all my jumps as I hate the forward entry, yet I have a nice and high flip jump (easily my favourite and best jump).

    I've even started dabbling with double sals and double toes and although theyre always underrotated I have no mental barriers that stop me from trying them and if I fall I get straight back up and try again.

    Ive just started to consistently rotate my axel off ice, so I know I have the potential to rotate it, but I just cant bring myself to try. I even spend ages trying to convince myself to do a simple waltz-loop, waltz-backspin exercise and when I do, I psyche myself out that much I always fall.

    So, does anyone have any tips or excerises to try and overcome the Axel mental barrier?

    (PS, I know someones bound to suggest a harness but unfortunately neither the rink or coaches have or use one )

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    On the Ice sandraskates's Avatar
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    My mental block was double toes. After numerous nasty falls you know what I did? I skipped over it and went onto double loops (nice ones at that).

    If you don't need it for any test or competitive purpose, you may want to just skip the axel for now until you get more comfortable at the thought of attempting it. Skipping it and working on double-sal isn't a big deal (IMO) and if you can get the sal it may up your confidence in trying the axel. (I hope you are attempting the double sals and toes with your coach assisting).

    If you want to keep working at it, don't think so much about the rotation. Just work on the the proper technique that hopefully your coach will give you. I always like to think "up" when I go for a jump. Don't think about rushing to get the rotation.

    Edited to add: It is going to take some time for you get to get these higher jumps if you're only skating once a week. If you can fit in more practice, you should get a lot more comfortable with the various take-offs, which will also help you in your axel quest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandraskates View Post
    My mental block was double toes. After numerous nasty falls you know what I did? I skipped over it and went onto double loops (nice ones at that).

    If you don't need it for any test or competitive purpose, you may want to just skip the axel for now until you get more comfortable at the thought of attempting it. Skipping it and working on double-sal isn't a big deal (IMO) and if you can get the sal it may up your confidence in trying the axel. (I hope you are attempting the double sals and toes with your coach assisting).

    If you want to keep working at it, don't think so much about the rotation. Just work on the the proper technique that hopefully your coach will give you. I always like to think "up" when I go for a jump. Don't think about rushing to get the rotation.

    Edited to add: It is going to take some time for you get to get these higher jumps if you're only skating once a week. If you can fit in more practice, you should get a lot more comfortable with the various take-offs, which will also help you in your axel quest.
    Thanks for the advice! My coach says hes pretty happy for me to learn doubles in any order. Toe assisted jumps have always been my best and he expects me to land my double toe first.

    However, he is pretty insistent that whilst I can do doubles in any order he'd like me to ideally get an axel first, or at least train for one simultaneously. So unfortunately I can't just fully skip over it and come back to it later. His reasoning is the axel teaches you the proper technique for the early doubles in the same way the waltz does for the early singles, so I must train the axel.

    Yes, rushing rotation is something my coach tells me off for. In fact, for my lutz, he made me do about 2 months solid of takeoff only and banned me from rotating because I'd always rush the rotation and flutz. Ill give the 'up' tip a go to try and stop doing this!

    This past week ive found the time to up my ice time to three times a week, however I'm not sure how long I'll be able to continue it for - hopefully long enough to get somewhere with my axels and doubles.

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    Just want to add that I know myself and few other adult skaters who have dbl Sal more consistent than Axel. I was landing Dbl Sals before my Axel came anywhere close. The good news about this is that once I got my axel entry correct, the work from the dbl Sal transferred over and now my axel is pretty consistent.

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    Are you sure it's mental and not some kind of muscle or postural imbalance making the forward entry unsteady and thus scary?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimyue View Post
    Just want to add that I know myself and few other adult skaters who have dbl Sal more consistent than Axel. I was landing Dbl Sals before my Axel came anywhere close. The good news about this is that once I got my axel entry correct, the work from the dbl Sal transferred over and now my axel is pretty consistent.
    Glad to hear this is more common than I thought! Hopefully one I rotate a double itll help out my axel

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanyuufan5 View Post
    Are you sure it's mental and not some kind of muscle or postural imbalance making the forward entry unsteady and thus scary?
    Good point! I have had a knee problem for about three years now, and consequently the muscle in my right leg has degraded away. The physios are all clueless as to what it is as x-rays and ultrasounds all come back clear buts my knee is constantly swollen and buckles on me . Maybe this is holding back my waltz/axel take offs.

    However I think there is definitely a mental aspect too. In everything skating related - jumps, twizzles, turns, crossovers etc - ive always hated doing anything forwards and felt more comfortable going backwards.

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    Have you tried to practice waltz jumps from stand still just facing forward? Without speed, not like a normal entry when you skate backwards.

    A lot of people learn axel this way, you can practice this first off-ice in combination with practicing waltz jump on the ice from stand still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daniiltimin View Post
    Have you tried to practice waltz jumps from stand still just facing forward? Without speed, not like a normal entry when you skate backwards.

    A lot of people learn axel this way, you can practice this first off-ice in combination with practicing waltz jump on the ice from stand still.
    Yes, my coach has also suggested this but for some reason I feel more comfortable going from the normal entry. In my mind, if i go from speed, there is less opportunity to pull out of the jump. Therefore I prefer going from speed as it helps mentally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Figuringitout View Post
    Yes, my coach has also suggested this but for some reason I feel more comfortable going from the normal entry. In my mind, if i go from speed, there is less opportunity to pull out of the jump. Therefore I prefer going from speed as it helps mentally.
    But you just mentioned earlier that you are TERRIFIED of the forward entry. Most of the time doing a jump with speed is what scares people. To get over it, jump from stand still either facing forward or backwards like you would normally do if you have speed. It really helps to get over this fear of the axel jump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daniiltimin View Post
    But you just mentioned earlier that you are TERRIFIED of the forward entry. Most of the time doing a jump with speed is what scares people. To get over it, jump from stand still either facing forward or backwards like you would normally do if you have speed. It really helps to get over this fear of the axel jump.
    Daniil is right, the hardest part of the axel is to have a good, active edge entry from forward outside edge. If you can't hold this edge
    with comfort and power, you will never feel comfortable doing the axel. It seems easier to do it with speed because it means you have to hold the edge for a shorter time but you're not really learning it. I especially see this issue with people like OP who progress really fast, so don't feel bad! Everyone who progresses fast has to come back and work on things they missed at some point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jf12 View Post
    Everyone who progresses fast has to come back and work on things they missed at some point.


    And everyone who neglects good, strong edges is going to pay for it eventually. (Not saying that's what OP did, but I sure did. I wish I'd know how important they are when I was first learning.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanyuufan5 View Post


    And everyone who neglects good, strong edges is going to pay for it eventually. (Not saying that's what OP did, but I sure did. I wish I'd know how important they are when I was first learning.)
    I don’t think people set out to neglect it, but it’s hard to know what a good edge even feels like as a beginner until you need it for some skill or other!

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    Quote Originally Posted by daniiltimin View Post
    But you just mentioned earlier that you are TERRIFIED of the forward entry. Most of the time doing a jump with speed is what scares people. To get over it, jump from stand still either facing forward or backwards like you would normally do if you have speed. It really helps to get over this fear of the axel jump.
    Yes, its jumping forwards that I am scared of. When I go with speed Im more likely to attempt the jump, but its just because I have less opportunity to pull out of it and the fall is likely to be worse if I bottle the jump halfway through. I guess this is the wrong way to overcome fear though, as I'm just throwing myself forwards and hoping it works out instead of actually focusing on learning the jump properly until I'm comfortable with it.

    Thanks for the advice, I will focus on standstill entry and technique and hopefully that will help me feel more comfortable with the forward entry .

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    On the Ice sandraskates's Avatar
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    I know there are many different ways to teach and learn axels. I am not always a fan of the "learn from a standstill" method, especially if the skater prefers to attempt the jump from a moving launch.

    My issue (and it is my issue) is that in a launch from standstill there is a tendency to concentrate more on achieving the rotation, above all else. Then what happens is the skater starts to twist too much in the jump. That's a hard habit to dial back.

    That said, one never knows what technique will click with a skater so it's good to have multiple options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandraskates View Post
    That said, one never knows what technique will click with a skater so it's good to have multiple options.
    And there's always ice dance.

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