Beginner Backspin Tips (Charyl Brusch)

Figure skating spin specialist Charyl Brusch works with a young skater on the beginner backspin. This short video is a continuation of a beginner spin video focused on basic forward upright scratch spin, sit spin, and camel spin (see Part 1 here). The skater already knows the back pivot entrance to the upright backspin and how the spin balances, but has the free leg held in a basic side-by-side upright spin position such that the free foot is not yet crossed.

This lesson represents the first time this skater is trying to cross the feet. As preparation for crossing the feet, Charyl has the skater do another side-by-side basic upright making sure the free foot is held against the skating leg and not pressed behind. This keeps the free knee well forward and gets the skater ready to balance with the feet crossed.

Charyl tries three different methods to help the skater cross the feet. First she simply asks for it, as some skaters will immediately grasp the concept. As Charyl notes, the idea is “as you turn, cross your heel over.” Since the skater doesn’t have success, Charyl next asks for the skater to again do the side-by-side basic upright backspin first and after it is stable then try to “sneak the foot across.” Again, the skater can’t really do this yet so Charyl has the skater come to the wall to learn what it feels like to fold the free side across as the spin just begins to spin or turn over.

For this drill, the skater stands facing parallel with the wall with the axis foot away from the wall. The free foot is held up and against the wall. The skater then turns the axis or skating foot towards the wall, then continues turning to parallel with the wall in the opposite direction from the start, all while keeping the free foot touching the wall. This process of keeping the free foot still against the wall automatically crosses the feet as the body and skating foot turn.

Throughout this process, the skater struggles with maintaining balance at the correct spot on the forward part of the blade. This error is incredibly common, and Charyl addresses it by having the skater lift the spinning/skating foot up on the boards where Charyl then puts a finger on the correct balance point on the blade. She asks the skater to push hard against her finger, maintaining pressure at that spot on the blade so the skater can clearly feel the desired pressure and balance point.


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