Half Axel as a Tool to Improve the Axel – Double Axel Drill (Michelle Leigh)

Olympic coach Michelle Leigh talks about using a half-axel to improve the axel and as a drill for double axel.  This video is a continuation of an earlier double axel lesson.  Michelle refers to an under-rotated axel where the skater lands forward on both feet as a half axel.  Many refer to this as a “bell jump” or a “once around.”

Notice that unlike many coaches, Michelle does not use the half-axel for single axel development.  She feels that getting the feet to cross is the most important aspect of learning a single axel and this drill does not teach that.  Instead Michelle likes this drill for improving an existing single axel and as a drill for double axel.  It provides a way for the skater to quickly straighten and lock out the legs in the air while also flexing the feet.  Thus, Michelle uses this drill primarily as an air position exercise for skaters who have a bent axis leg in the air or for those that point their toes in the air.  The drill also allows the skater to focus on head position and flow of the jump.

To make this an effective double axel drill, the skater should use the exact same entrance as the double axel, including pattern and speed.  Michelle finishes by saying, “Again, not for beginner axel but for when you are working toward double axel I think it’s a good exercise.”


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