Double Axel Lesson – Knee Bend Focus (Michelle Leigh)

Olympic coach Michelle Leigh works with a skater in a 3-part series on jumps leading to triple salchow and triple toe.  This is the second part of this lesson.  In this first part, Michelle worked on 3-jump combinations with the skater.  But she also introduced the skater and provided background that is important for this video.  Please watch the first part of that video here.

The focus in this video is the double axel.  As Michelle explained in the previous video, this skater has a tendency to bend too deeply in the skating knee for the double axel.  Although a stong knee bend is not always a problem, Michelle feels that this is causing this skater to get “stuck” where she is not able to use the muscle elasticity of the legs to get the power she needs for the jump.

Michelle starts with waltz jump.  When she tells the skater to “stand up” on the take-off, she’s asking the skater to keep the body upright without lunging and not to bend too deeply in the knee.  Michelle uses an axel from forward to help reduce excessive knee bend.  She feels a deep knee bend is harder to do from a forward preparation.  It probably also helps because the entry is simply “different” than what the skater is used to and the skater is more likely to make a change.   Michelle likes the single axel the skater does with this entrance.

The double axel attempts use the back outside edge entry (probably because the skater does not yet feel comfortable enough with trying a double axel from the forward entry).  The skater has an excellent flexed landing foot in the air.  The non-axis leg is a bit loose but Michelle is more concerned about the take-off.  She asks the skater to feel more “momentum” from the free leg to help with the jump height rather than bending the skating knee so deeply.  Next, Michelle has the skater skate faster into the jump.  Speed often helps with jump height, and many skaters won’t bend as deeply if they are going faster.

Next Michelle has the skater attempt a waltz jump and single axel with arms in the “frame” position.  Frame helps reduce lunging forward with the body which usually goes hand in hand with bending too deeply.


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