The axel is typically regarded as the the most difficult figure skating jump. The single axel is the first jump that requires more than one full rotation in the air. The axel takes off from a forward outside edge, rotates in the direction of the take-off edge, and lands on the opposite foot on a back outside edge. Contrary to popular belief, the axel DOES NOT rotate 1 1/2 times in the air. Total rotation of the entire element is roughly 1 1/2 revolutions, but some of that is actually accomplished on the ice.
The axel is particularly challenging because few skaters learning the jump have proper control of the forward outside edge needed for take-off. The double axel is especially challenging for more advanced skaters because it requires significantly more athleticism and control than any other double jump. In terms of skill, it more closely resembles a triple jump than the other doubles. Also, skaters learning a double axel often have ingrained bad habits from years of doing single axels incorrectly, making the jump that much harder. Even now, more than 50 years after they were first landed, the triple axel is a rare accomplishment of only the most athletic and skilled figure skaters.
The videos below share an astonishing amount of information on how to do an axel. As with nearly everything in figure skating, the mechanics of what actually happens in the jump vary to some extent from skater to skater. But teaching methods vary even more. Coaches use a very large variety of descriptions and drills to develop the skills and help their skaters land this amazing and beautiful jump.
The videos below are organized into figure skating axel tips published from most recent to least recent. Regardless of the date of publication, ALL information below is relevant today for coaches, skaters, and skating parents.