Camel Spin – Part 1 (Kim Ryan)

Spin specialist Kim Ryan shares her method of teaching camel spins. She begins by acknowledging there are many ways to do a camel spin entry, such as leading with the skating side arm or leading the non-skating side arm. Neither of these is wrong, but Kim explains she wants both hands in front on a camel entry. She has found this makes it easier for skaters to ride the entrance edge for three-quarters of a rotation, and it also helps skaters release into the spin after the hook. The ability to ride the entry edge is critical, and Kim says, “Learning to skate edges, moves in the field, ice dance, whatever it takes… learn to hold three quarters over the top to make that hook.”

To enter with both hands in front, Kim has the skater clasp the hands together with the palms up. Clasping the hands is important for this technique as it locks the shoulders together. Kim then uses a skater to demonstrate the basic position she wants for the entry, with the skater on two feet for the exercise. This includes having a flat back (arched back appears flat, as opposed to a rounded back), head up, knees slightly bent, and hands level with the body (not drooping). Kim has the skater open the arms to the sides, again without letting the hands drop, and straighten the knee to complete the exercise. She also talks about having a “banana belly” which is the idea of having the head and free foot higher than the raised hip. Kim explains this position as having “your ribs on a table.”

Throughout a camel spin entry, Kim wants the skater’s palms facing up toward the ceiling. This opens the shoulders and helps release the chest so the neck can lengthen and the skater can pull the chin up comfortably. At 3:55 in the video, Kim demonstrates what hand position she does NOT want, with the palms facing down or back. Although a skater is blocking our view, Kim explains why this common hand position is not desirable. For correct hand placement, she uses the concept of entering the spin “with cupcakes on your hands” as it keeps the shoulders open. Kim explains that many skaters who try to keep their hands flat simply cannot, so the open palm positioning is a way to minimize shoulder issues in camel spins.


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