Single To Double Axel – Part 1 (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating jump specialist Sheila Thelen works with a skater having a solid single axel on building a double axel. To begin the session, she tries to understand the skater’s level of confidence with the double. Early in the lesson, Sheila focuses on the single axel into backscratch spin exercise. She wants more control and balance from the skater in the backspin. She uses her “bite the coat” head control technique and talks about the importance of the head in terms of balance. She also notes the skater needs to improve the backspin by getting the feet together.

After the skater attempts a double (well under-rotated), Sheila spends some time discussing the process of learning the double, from simply over-rotating the single all the way to the fully-rotated double. She notes that this progression takes time and there are some very challenging points in that process.

Next Sheila begins a discussion of jump height and air time. She says, “Know your numbers.” She explains that most skaters start landing a single axel at about 0.35 seconds of air time. [Editor’s note: This can be as little as 0.25 seconds, but most skaters have good beginner axels at 0.33 to 0.35 seconds as Sheila notes.] Sheila explains that the 0.4’s are where we get consistent doubles, but keep in mind she means the other double jumps and not the double axel. With this skater, Sheila thinks a double axel is possible at 0.46 seconds. [Editor’s note: Most small and slender skaters can land a double axel at 0.45 seconds of air time, but it requires a very efficient jump.] As Sheila notes, an air time of 0.50 seconds is a slam dunk for double axel.

NOTE: Check out this post with more information about minimum jump air times.

Sheila finishes this segment with a stationary power jump off both toe picks.


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