Layback Lesson (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating coach Sheila Thelen gives a skater a lesson the layback spin. As you’ll see, this skater’s base layback is actually more like a side layback. She has a very hard time going straight back. Sheila addresses this initially by trying to correct the free leg and free foot position. The tip here is very good for all skaters working on layback. Never point the toe of the free foot on a layback. Instead, flex the foot strongly and try to lay the free boot flat to the ice. Also, the skating leg should be straight and locked (another common error).

You’ll notice that the skater cannot really make this change. The reason is probably a result of the balance change that happens when the free leg position is changed, and the skater does not have control of the standard traditional layback. Also, Sheila explains that to make a change on the layback, it’s usually necessary to keep the spin speed up, and slowing down or starting slowly will make any changes very difficult.

In the second half of the video, Sheila focuses more on the need to lean back and drop the head back. Again, this skater is reluctant to do this because it changes the spin balance too much. Sheila offers a great tip for all skaters working on a layback spin. The skater should try lean back and drop the head back enough to see the yellow line on the boards that circles the rink just above the ice.


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