Beginner Axel Class – Part 5 (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh finishes with her seminar beginner axel class (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). In this video, Michelle gives the class a “test” which is a summary of the important concepts discussed throughout the class. These points are:

1. Hands go into back pockets on step forward
2. After step, free leg is bent and looks like a check mark (not straight)
3. Look straight forward (“where you’re going”) when you take off
4. Free leg kick through depends on skater but should not be “too big”
5. The free leg kicks through sideways “like a ninja kick” (not forward in an h)
6. Skaters have one rotation to get access leg straight

Michelle has the skaters make more axel attempts to finish out the class, and she offers more specific and focused advice for some of the skaters. One recurring theme is reducing entry speed. Michelle says, “I would slow it down.” It’s just very hard for skaters at this level to have enough control of the take-off edge to do an axel with proper technique while going so fast, so reducing entry speed is very helpful for most skaters initially learning the jump. “Axel from a standstill” is one of the most common solutions to entry speed issues, and Michelle uses it here.

At the very end, Michelle highlights the importance of video. Skaters who can see their errors have a better understanding about what to focus on and how to fix the jump. And for those skaters who doubt their coach’s feedback, video is the best way to build trust and focus on the right things.


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