Double Axel Lesson – Developing the Jump (Michelle Leigh)

Olympic coach Michelle Leigh gives a double axel lesson.  As Michelle notes, the demonstrator in the video has just recently landed the double axel so it is a brand new jump without consistency.  In this video we get to see some drills that Michelle uses to help build a double axel and develop consistency.

To start the lesson, Michelle has the skater do a “half-axel with the head straight.”  Other terms for half-axel are “bell jump” and “once around.”  The point of this drill is to maintain head position and direction at the jump target throughout the take-off, and to quickly straighten both legs in the air (quickness).  The legs should be straight and feet flexed to land on the flat blade rather than the toe pick.  Michelle wants the skater to lift the head a little more and uses the term “snobby” which is a great keyword that many skaters respond well to.

The next drill is “small” double loops where the skater does a double loop with minimal speed and height to get used to rotating down to the ice and maintaining the tight air position on the descent.  Notice the use of “free hand on opposite hip” as a tool to control the shoulders and rotation at landing (and throughout the jump).

Next Michelle talks about the double axel entrance she is using with this skater.  The entrance is useful for rhythm and good body position.  The entrance is a choctaw and two brackets.  The turns force the skater to have good alignment and control.  Notice the walk-throughs that Michelle is using.  She has the skater turn backwards on the take-off foot, then tuck the free foot behind, then step down on the free foot which becomes the landing foot.  When the skater steps down on the landing foot, the free leg at landing is pulled slightly back with the feet still crossed.

On one of the jump attempts the skater is tilted pretty severely out of the circle.  This is typically caused by the free leg swinging across the target line on the take-off movements.  But Michelle addresses it with this skater by simply asking for a straighter take-off that goes more “forward.”  Michelle notes that some skaters who rotate really fast need this advice while other skaters need to work on deepening the take-off edge.  The skater does a two foot landing and Michelle explains that she likes the two foot landing until the jump gets backwards.

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