Beginner Axel Class – Part 2 (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh continues her seminar class for skaters just learning the axel. In Part 1, she introduced the jump with an emphasis on head anchoring and proper take-off mechanics with flow. In this video, Michelle explains that skaters should self-analyze their attempts and focus on just one thing. For example, many skaters open the arms too early, and if that needs to be a focus, a good place to start is waltz jump backspin, with additional spinning hops while keeping the arms in. Another option is keeping the arms in tight on a single loop. Michelle says, “If you need to keep your arms in, settle your axel down until you know you can jump and keep them in.” Landing (any single jump) and holding the arms in tight is a classic and powerful axel exercise at this level.

Another common issue for skaters learning an axel is landing on two feet or the wrong foot. As Michelle says, “If you’re trying to land it on one foot, don’t worry if you don’t land it.” Skaters should say to themselves, “I know I’m getting better because I did it on one foot, even when I fell.” Michelle also notes that skaters should not keep doing the same mistake, as it can become a hard habit to break.

She finishes up the video by telling the skaters, “If you’re not sure what’s wrong with your jump, you need to get videoed.” The idea is skaters can more quickly make changes if they see the error and know what to work on.


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