Death Drop (Robert Tebby)

World and Olympic coach Robert Tebby teaches a class the death drop flying spin entrance.  As Robert notes, a good death drop briefly gives the illusion that the skater is in danger of falling on her/his head.  In reality, the dynamics of the movements associated with the death drop make it a very safe element, although learning it properly can be very scary for some skaters.  It is generally accepted that a death drop requires less precision to execute than a flying sit spin, making it ideal for late in a program when the skater is tired.

Robert starts by describing the death drop to the skaters as a jump over the boards.  This is a powerful concept as it helps the skaters visualize the need to go up and in sequence lift each leg up and over.  Next he breaks the movements down using series of exercises.  The first exercise is a kick followed by a 3-turn.  The most common error in this drill is flipping the 3-turn before the free foot gets all the way up.  Robert likes this drill either on a straight line or at the wall.  He then adds to the drill by having the skaters put the “free leg” down and swing the take-off leg up and around before folding into a back sit spin position.  He describes the last part as “bend your knee and pivot into a back sit.”

In the take-off of a good death drop, the free leg goes both around and up.  A common error is trying to swing the free leg from underneath.  Also, most beginners will not generate enough rotational energy from the edge on the ice, so even though the rest of the movements are correct, it doesn’t look right and it doesn’t spin.  But that’s a good and safe place to start when learning.  Robert encourages the class to kick higher at take-off.


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