Figure Skating Spins – All About Backspins (Charyl Brusch)

Spin specialist Charyl Brusch shares a ton of information about how to do and teach the challenging backspin.  Typically the backspin is an element that takes a long time to develop.  Charyl notes that she often starts with a back pivot but she notes, it’s not very effective, at least not by itself.  Instead, she suggests starting from a two foot spin and learn to pick up the other foot without trying to cross the feet or anything complicated.  She explains this in detail and the tip about the “big toe” is very helpful for many skaters (although not always intuitive to coaches).  The key as always is to get the skater spinning on the front of the blade.

Probably the most common error when learning the backspin is spinning on a forward inside edge rather than a back outside edge.  Charyl explains how the two foot spin drill addresses this.  (Note: It only works if you hit the toe pick like Charyl explains!)  She keeps it simple and doesn’t even tell the skater what edge they should be on.  She just wants them to focus on staying near the toe.  For those that are especially afraid, Charyl only has them on one foot for very short periods that can get longer and longer as the skater develops more confidence.

Charyl notes that spinning faster helps stabilize the spin.  This is one advantage that young skaters typically have over adults learning a backspin.  Adult skaters typically don’t want to go fast, while a much higher percentage of young skaters like the feeling of pushing the limits and being slightly out of control.

Charyl also shows a simple straight line drill for keeping forward pressure on the blade.  Many skaters will find this drill a little scary, so it’s not surprising that they don’t want to spin on that spot on the blade.  She also shows an exercise she uses at the wall to get used to rotating the skating hip inward.  The concept of “belly button over knee” is very important.  During the demonstration she shows proper alignment and talks about keeping everything over the right side.  She likes the side-by-side feet for learning backspin because it tends to automatically keep the hips level and then she doesn’t have to talk about them.  The free knee should be “in front” as Charyl demonstrates.

At the end of the video, she explains how she progresses to the next phase of the spin with the whole free leg in front.  She notes she does not like the free leg off the side (makes it harder to center the spin).


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