Looking for an analogy for a double axel....

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by Jozet, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    A lot of people who don't watch skating beyond the Olympics and ice shows ask me about skating, from time to time. I try to explain some of the difficulty of what they are watching, or what kids are working on and the difficulty level, but sometimes they don't get it because they don't quite understand how the skills "work".

    So, if you were going to try to explain to someone what a double axel is in regard to its level of difficulty and maybe how it would compare to attaining skills in other sports, what would be a good comparison or analogy - sports or otherwise - that non-skating people would "get"?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Dick Button always said it was the most dangerous of jumps because of the forward take-off. Because if you slip off that take off it really can be very scary. Most skaters have done a waxel at some stage and when you see it is really is quite frightening.
     
  3. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    In her online video, Nancy Kerrigan said something similar: that the forward takeoff is psychologically tougher because it's scarier to jump toward something.
     
  4. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Any relatively tough, getting-close-to-virtuosic piece of classical music (for whatever musical instrument makes sense)? Running a mile in under 5:00? As in, not very many people who try can actually DO it. No, not the hardest thing that the best skaters can do, but very, very challenging and a relatively rare accomplishment. And it takes a heckuva lot of hard work, and usually at least some natural talent/ability, to get there. I'm sure there are better analogies, but that's all that comes to my mind at the moment.
     
  5. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    Thanks, LilJen! Yes, I think more people in general would understand those analogies, especially "running a mile under 5:00". I know so many runners these days.
     
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    That is also why many skaters have trouble getting the jump. Plus it has an extra half revolution to the other jumps.

    The other way I look at it is is being a make or break jump for many skaters. If you can't get a double axel, you really are limited in how far you will go as a competitive skater (if you have international ambitions). The triples after that are bonuses.
     
  7. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it's sort of the entry card into the elite levels of competition. Not enough on its own, but without it you probably won't get to play on that level at all.

    Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with other sports to give a good analogy, but the racing time example is probably useful.
     
  8. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    If they're having trouble understanding how it "works", ask them if they can jump into the air and do 2 1/2 turns and land standing up.

    Then ask them if they think the could do the same thing taking off and landing on a 1/8 inch wide piece of metal, while travelling fast on a slippery surface.

    That should give them some idea of how difficult a double axel is :p
     
  9. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    But that only implies difficulty to an average person. I don't think many people watching skating and think "I could do that"- at least not the way everyone watches luge and thinks that (and I hear luge is hella hard.)

    I think the running time makes a lot more sense. I could NEVER run a mile under 5 minutes. Heck, I can't run it under 10. But an elite runs faster to that. Comparing a double axel to a 5 minute mile says "heck, even some people who are good at skating, won't be able to achieve this".

    Asking me if I can jump 2 1/2 times in the air is meaningless and doesn't frame the skill in anyway that allows me to judge the difficulty of it to someone who is good at the sport. Of course I can't do it, but that doesn't mean it isn't easy to a skater. I can't shoot a free throw either, but I expect it to be easy to a basketball player, thus, I expect a double axel to be easy to a skater. But it isn't.
     
  10. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    Getting an Axel is like getting your first kip in gymnastics. You celebrate with a rip on your hands. :p

    Getting a double Axel is similar to doing uneven bars, letting go and catching the next bar. Physically it should be easy for a girl in training, but mentally very scary!
     
  11. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Being able to swing to a handstand and do a giant? ("giant" = you swing 360 degrees all the way around the bar)
     
  12. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I understand what you're getting at, but OTOH to anyone who's never run a timed distance, the 5-minute-mile comparison won't work either because they don't have that context.

    I agree that most people watching skating won't think that any jump is easy, but explaining the technique of the jump might make them understand how hard it is.
     
  13. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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  14. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Every school I've worked in/gone to makes kids run for PE. (That's the only time I've ran...we had to get in under 13 minutes to pass, and I got in a few seconds before the buzzer every time.)

    I would think '5 minute mile' would have context for MOST people. Non-athletic people will likely just think "holy crap, that's fast". I know when I went and looked up mile times on wikipedia I was shocked the records are in the 3s.

    How about "like making a penalty kick in soccer against a great goalie?"
    A triple axel might be like a half-court shot in basketball (only a few people will ever do it), but I can't think of an equivalent to the double axel- a double axel seems much harder than a 3-point shot, for example.
     
  15. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I think this is a really good one, since soccer/football is truly the world's game...
     
  16. Emmett

    Emmett Member

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    The Axel jump is a right of passage in figure skating. The single axel is truly an accomplishment for most skaters. This jump requires the skater to have sufficient control of thier body to be able to vault themself into the air with the weight over one side of thier body and transition that weight to the other side of thier body while in the air so that they can land on the opposite foot after 1 and 1/2 revolutions.

    Of all skaters in the US, less than 3 percent are able to perform the double axel. This requires more speed and height than the single axel. The timing must be very precise as well as control of the entry edge. As the rotation is faster the transition in the air must also be quicker and more precise also.

    There is an old line in skating that says "You can't buy a double axel, you can only rent it". I believe that skaters such as Patrick Chan, Scott Hamiliton, and Alyssa Czisney will agree with this statement.

    The triple axel futher amplifies the need for timing, body control and strength, all happening at precisely the right time. Again it is a right of passage. Less than 0.1 percent of skaters achieve this element. Many otherwise technically excellent skaters have reached a block wall at this point. It is still a thrill for me to witness this accomplishment when a skater is able to perform it during an event. :)
     
  17. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    Where are you getting these statistics?
     
  18. Emmett

    Emmett Member

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    Hi FigureSpins
    The statistics are estimates only. They are based upon membership in US Figure Skating of about 100,000 basic skills members and 60,000 full members and about 2800 entries into the US Figure Skating qualifying competition system. If we also assume that the majority of the entries are at the juvenile and intermediate levels where the double axel is a rarity then the "less than 3 percent of all US skaters" is a correct statement.

    The triple axel is currently being performed by 20 to 25 men in the US. Granted there are a lot more men and women working on it but I believe that you have to perform in in an event for it to really count. These numbers are less than the 0.1 percent of the full membership of US Figure Skating.

    I am not aware of how this compares in other countries but would have to believe that it would track about the same.

    I hope this answers your question.
     
  19. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    I think you have take into account percentages, as well. A lot of basketball players will at some point or another put up a long-distance shot that goes in, but that doesn't make it reliable. Most skating coaches require a good 2/3rds or higher success rate on a jump in practice before you can include it in a program. So, a double axel would be a 3 point shot, but your expected shooting percentage should be >67%. That should help put some perspective on this...
     
  20. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

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    A double axel is something most skaters will never land cleanly, even after years of training. I think a good analogy might be something like a third degree black belt in karate, kung fu, or some other martial art. Landing a clean triple would be the fourth degree black belt.
     
  21. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

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    When I am tring to explain to non-skaters how difficult it is to do an axel (or any double or triple), I simply ask them to stand on the floor, jump up and rotate 1.5 (or 2 or 3) revolutions. They usually can't do it. And then I add that they have the advantage of jumping up from two feet and landing on two feet on a non-slippery floor, whereas skaters do it from one foot, landing on a very thin blade of one foot on slippery ice. I also explain to them that when skating with a speed, there is less space for error - when you start jump, you have to go with the timing, you can't stand on the floor like they have just done getting ready for ages...
     
  22. Adultsk8r509

    Adultsk8r509 New Member

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    I concur with this thought. Having tried many times as a child and never landing one and returning to the ice 10 years later and finally landing it one night at a public session (multiple times) only to have the "rented" jump taken away the next day when I fell trying and blew out my landing knee.

    I can only imagine as you tackle the Axel and all the other double jumps and start approaching the DA that the hurdle must feel the same.

    I have no idea about percentages, but anyone who can do a DA is a great skater in my book!

    www.waltzjump.com
     
  23. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Of course they can't. They aren't athletes.
    I don't think that does anything to give a relative idea of the difficulty of the jump though.

    I expect seasoned athletes to do a lot more than I can do. And yet many international level skaters have trouble with 2A (think qualifying rounds at 4CCs!). So how hard is it?

    I don't think I've ever met anyone who thought it would be easy for THEM to do a double axel, but they still think it should be easy for a skater to do. Even more so with 3A. Almost every layperson I know thinks a 3A is a standard jump in every televised skater's arsenal. And yet, almost none of the women do it, and many of the men struggle with it. Comparing it to being difficult for someone who can barely stand up on skates is meaningless.


    It's not like curling, where people watch and wonder where the difficulty is for a normal person (curling is deceptively difficult). People watch skating knowing they can't do that. So what exists to compare to how hard it was for the elite to do it?
     
  24. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

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    I still think it gives loads of perspective to non-skaters to actually try something themselves, either on the floor or on the ice. Sure, they know they can't do a double axel, but they don't realize *just how far away from it* they really are. Yesterday I took a friend skating for the first time since her childhood--and this is a figure skating fan, mind you--and even though she had seen videos of my skating programs, she told me after half an hour on the ice that she had a whole new appreciation for what I did. This was not after seeing me do an axel or double salchow, but just after seeing me skate once around the rink at full speed, do some one-foot changes of edge, then a RFI bracket and LBO bracket on lobes. Nothing I was doing impressed her when she was watching from the sidelines earlier; she didn't get it until we were both on the ice and I was doing those things on the ice right next to her while she just tried to skate forward without holding onto the boards.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  25. AusTechSpec

    AusTechSpec Member

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    The double axel is the jump that separates those with the ability to make it, and those without... the cold hard truth...
     
  26. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say that. Not everyone with double axel 'will make it'. To make it you need triples. If you are a male, you need also quads.
     
  27. AusTechSpec

    AusTechSpec Member

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    I completely agree....

    Which is why I was careful to note that it separates those with the "ability" to make it....

    Generally speaking, when a skater gets the double axel, the triples soon follow.. A true triple sal and toe have the same number of rotations as an axel...

    However those who get stuck on double axel clearly do not have the ability to go any further... It is very rare (not unheard of) to see a skater who will learn a triple before their double axel...

    The again, skaters like Patrick Chan sure have trouble with it hahahaha
     
  28. Jozet

    Jozet Active Member

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    So is achieving a consistent double axel a matter of physical ability/talent, or more a combination of physical ability and psychological ability (not giving up, not getting frustrated, not being afraid of the jump...?)

    It seems that with the single axel, most all the kids I've seen go after it for 6 months-year will land it.

    Is this the same for double axel: that given enough time and attempts, eventually a skater who can land other doubles can land it? Or is the "natural" athletic ability and skating talent (coordination, psychological wherewithal, etc. ) needed for a double axel so much more that it's an exponentially more difficult jump to the point that "trying harder" just will never be enough?

    I'm trying to understand the double axel "mystique" a bit more.

    My only observations are that learning double axel usually happens during the perfect storm that is the early teenage years, and there is a lot emotionally, etc. going on that causes some kids to move away from double axel and that level of competitive skating. But I also wonder to what extent all the skaters who attempt to learn the jump with some level of real discipline will also never get it. (I mean, I know never doesn't always mean never, still....)
     
  29. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    To answer your first question -from what I've seen on freestyle sessions, no. Double axels seem to require more than 'just' repetition to land them. This is coming from someone who skates as an adult and it took me years to get a single axel. I get the sense that how you approach a double axel matters a lot more. I.e. you always have to be fully committed to the jump when you try (unlike a single which is more forgiving) and I can see how teenage skaters can get frustrated with a jump they fall on day after day. To the point where they start changing things that shouldn't vary, like slowing down their approach, overusing their arms, etc. And sometimes you can see that a skater needs to address other things before they even have a legitimate shot at landing the jump, like start doing plyometrics to build up muscle mass and get more height on the jump.

    I don't know too many skaters who would describe the process of learning the jump as 'fun', but I've seeing them go :eek: :) :D :rollin: :cheer2: once they do land it, so it's probably safe to say they think it's worth it in the end.
     
  30. AusTechSpec

    AusTechSpec Member

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    you just about hit the nail on the head right there....