Double Axel Lesson (Michelle Leigh)

World and Olympic coach Michelle Leigh gives a double axel lesson. She begins the lesson by having the skater watch a successful double axel example by an elite skater (Carolina Kostner). This provides an opportunity to review characteristics of a good jump and it provides mental imagery for the skater to emulate. Sometimes seeing the timing of a successful jump can be very helpful at this stage in the learning process. Notice also how Michelle has chosen video of an elite skater who jumps clock-wise like the skater in the lesson, and also notice the similarity to the video views.

Some aspects of the jump Michelle notes as important include entry posture and the “check mark” position. She also mentions the distance between the knees and the narrowness of the take-off movements. There should be a slight inclination into the circle at take-off, but not too much which can hinder both flow and jump height. Michelle says, “Stand up on the take-off.”

Watch the skater’s double axel walk-through. This includes aspects that are not traditional, including the continued gliding on the take-off foot after the three-turn (which simulates the take-off) while squeezing into a tight air position.  This allows the skater to work on pressing the axis foot down and flexing the foot to create the desired flox position. Also notice the “eagle” position while simulating the landing movements.

Michelle uses a variety of other drills in this lesson as well. She uses half axels (or “bell jumps”) to review a proper take-off with height and flow and axis without focusing on snapping into rotation. Michelle returns to video as a way to ensure the skater knows what is happening during the jump. She also uses a straight line waltz jump to practice controlling rotation while cycling through the various positions in the air and landing.

After a hard forward landing fall, the skater’s frustration increases and Michelle drops the lesson intensity and focuses on double loops with the desired air and landing positions. The skater then does a solid double axel attempt and stays up but steps out, and then finishes with another fall. Michelle stays upbeat and positive throughout, continuing to provide drills and useful feedback.

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