Double Axel Development Class – Part 2 (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh continues a “double axel” class for more advanced skaters who are consistently landing single axels and most if not all of the other double jumps. In the Part 1 Michelle taught take-off details, proper walk-throughs, and exercises for learning to spin fast and continue the rotation as the skater descends to the ice. In this video, she reiterates these concepts, offers motivation, and discusses the necessary mindset for learning a double axel.

Michelle notes that single axels “with extra space” are important prior to trying the double. The idea is to have skaters learn a double axel take-off (same quickness, air time, and rotation generation) but rather than attempt a double, open near the top of the jump and simply land a single. She says, “There’s space at the end, which is what you want because that’s where you’re going to add your rotation, at the end of the jump.” She again notes skaters should be able to get the legs tight (“straight and flexed”) within 1 turn after leaving the ice. She says, “We’re working on the efficiency at the beginning and making a big enough jump that you have to have space (at the end).”

When starting double axel, Michelle comments, “At this stage you definitely need to know what you need to get better at. And if you don’t know, you better find out, by video or through your coach. And we’re all different.” She continues, “You’re like a doctor and you need to find the cure for your jump. There’s a cure for everything in skating.”

Michelle has the skaters do more exercises and then she provides some insights into the first few double attempts. She notes that in the very beginning it’s OK to check out early, but after the first few she wants the skaters to commit fully to each attempt. She also repeats, “You need lots of exercises to make you stronger.” She then reviews the important points discussed so far.


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