Advanced Skater Spin Lesson – Part 2 (Charyl Brusch)

Figure skating spin specialist Charyl Brusch continues a spin lesson with an advanced skater. In Part 1 the focus was on foundational spins in preparation for the more advanced spins in this video. The video starts with the skater performing a back layover camel spin before then attempting the “Hamel camel” which is a back layover camel spin followed by a drop and transition to the back sit spin. The key to a good Hamel camel is the “drop” or knee bend while still spinning in the back layover camel before the quick snap into the back sit. Charyl says, “Keep the grip into the ice a little bit more and try to drop a little faster and a little lower before you turn, and then snap yourself (body and skating side) into your (free) leg (for the sit position).” The idea of this snap is to turn the axis side into the free side, leaving the free leg where it was in the camel. Charyl also comments on the need to stay forward on the blade to keep the spin actually spinning properly throughout.

Next up is the flying camel. Notice that the upper body is not down in a “camel position” on the entry to the flying camel, but more upright so the skater can truly press on the entry edge to generate the necessary rotational energy and power. Charyl notes that skaters should push hard into the flying camel to help improve the overall energy of the spin. She challenges the skater to then perform a flying camel into a back camel layover position.

Charyl then has this skater do a forward camel spin into a death drop. Charyl breaks down the “pivot” where the skater is pivoting or spinning on the toe pick in a position where the upper body is mostly upright and the free leg is still behind like in the forward camel spin. A good drill is to simply go from the forward camel spin to this “pivot” on the toe. The transition from the camel to the death drop has the free leg dropping a little from the camel position and then pressing both the arms and free leg up while pivoting on the toe pick. Charyl describes it, “From the camel they’re going to actually stand up and come through with the arms and the right (free) leg as if they’re just going to pivot on their left (skating) foot.” To get the necessary height on the death drop, the skater must press up strongly from the toe pick pivot. Charyl warns, not surprisingly, that developing a proficient death drop is a prerequisite for working on this skill. The goal is to have the “left leg on its way up before your right leg starts dropping too much.”

The next spin is the solo death drop. Here Charyl asks for “dropping faster” into the back sit position. On the subsequent attempts by this skater, the skater misses the toe pick on landing and then on the take-off (no pivot). It’s very important to “land on your big toe” rather than flat footed, and skaters need to pivot for a relatively long time on the toe pick before the death drop leaves the ice.


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