Figure Skating Spins – Camel Spin Part 1 (Kim Ryan)

During a spin clinic, figure skating spin specialist Kim Ryan works with the class on camel spins.  To start, Kim mentions and demonstrates that she wants the lower back down and the body forward on the entry of the spin.  She says, “When you’re forward, that doesn’t mean you have to schlump.”  In this class, Kim wants the skaters to enter the spin with BOTH hands in front (as compared to “same hand only” or “opposite hand only” technique).  She feels this provides a better check of the skating side but helps ensure the free side comes around and into rotation.  Kim has found that this entry helps young skaters go fast and get centered.

She proceeds with an exercise on two feet to get the skaters comfortable with the entry position.  Notice the slight squat, body forward but shoulders back, hands together with palms together and thumbs up to keep the shoulders open.  The hands should be above a “magic table” at belly button height.  The rib cage should be down on the table.  Kim then extends this position into what she calls the “ouch position” by locking out the knees and pressing the hips back while keeping the hands above the “magic table.”  She explains why it’s so important to keep the hands up (prevents rocking!).  She wants skaters to hold this position on the entry edge (for three quarters of a circle) and then open the arms while keeping the palms up.  The palms up again keeps the shoulders open (which prevents the spin from collapsing) and it offers a nice way to “present” the spin to the judges and audience.

Kim uses the plexiglass and boards as a way to more effectively do the exercise.  She has the class do the same exercise, starting with the hands on the wall, and then letting go of the wall when opening the arms.  Notice that Kim wants a “neutral” position with the arms “out.”  Many coaches refer to this position as an “airplane” position (where the airplane does not have swept back wings).  She does not want the body twisted to the left or right, but encourages the skaters to learn to stretch the position on both sides equally.  To help visualize the proper hand position with the arms out, Kim suggests thinking about holding cupcakes on the hands.  The plexiglass allows the skaters to look at themselves as a reminder to keep their heads up.


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