Death Drop – Part 2 (Kim Ryan)

Spin specialist Kim Ryan continues working with an advanced class of skaters on the death drop. In Part 1 Kim taught the class a basic exercise at the wall to learn the necessary movements, as well as an illusion exercise to get used to the movements on the ice away from the wall. In this video, she begins with the same exercise but teaches it from a slight wind-up edge rather than a standstill. Notice the focus on specific steps, positions, and directions in the rink to build consistency.

Next, Kim has the skaters start the same way, but instead of doing the illusion exercise, she has them actually fly and do a death drop. We get to see most of the class attempt this so you can see the wide variation in performance of the skill. Kim then teaches the class a “moving” entrance for the death drop that has the shape of a question mark. This is essentially a standard spin wind-up but rather than step into the circle like a spin, the skater steps out of the circle like a waltz jump or axel. Initially she has the class do the illusion exercise from this entrance before trying death drops again.

Kim says, “If you backtrack, you’re going to get too whippy. On a death drop it’s a fly first and a spin second. So the entry of it is going to be more like going into an axel.” She draws the pattern on the ice with a marker to help the skaters understand. She explains that if the entrance is too “round” the legs start to whip around like a flying camel rather than a death drop. She says, “Make sure you’re not over-winding and no backtracking.” Clearly this is a problem for many of the advanced skaters in this class.

To finish the video, she talks with the class about using different entrances for the death drop. These include not only the spin wind-up used throughout this video, but also a wind-up with an edge change or a forward inside three turn on the non-entry foot. She says, “Whatever one works for you, do it.”


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