Beginner Axel Class – Part 4 (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh continues with her seminar axel class (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). In this video, Michelle again returns to her “one focus” concept for practicing with one primary focus. The idea is to prevent haphazardly attempting axels without fixing the biggest issues. It is critical to stop mindlessly repeating the same errors over and over. Many skaters know their errors, but those that don’t should watch video and get input from coaches. Michelle says, “You need to know what you’re working on instead of just doing them (incorrectly) over and over. You should really be focused on doing something (specific).”

Michelle then watches a handful of axel attempts and provides feedback. Sometimes very simple feedback about crossing the feet or keeping the arms in is enough to help a skater make progress. And Michelle makes a point of encouraging skaters who can do a single axel under control to immediately start doing exercises for double axel. The idea is to mentally and physically prepare skaters early on for continuing the rotation needed for the challenging double. Many skaters struggle with double axel largely because once they learned a single axel, they repeatedly practiced stopping the rotation, making continuing the rotation a major physical and mental challenge later on.


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