Layback Spin Development Lesson (Charyl Brusch)

Figure skating spin specialist Charyl Brusch gives a skater a lesson on the layback spin. Charyl shares a lot of information in this video, and coaches can see how she explains it to a skater and what exercises she uses to develop the necessary movements and positions.

After an initial attempt, Charyl focuses on the skater’s arms. When performed properly, the “hoop” arm position in a layback actually has the arms “in front” of the body and because the body is leaned back so far, the “hoop” is vertical (or nearly so). The timing has the body going back (by pressing the hips forward), the arms going “in front,” and the skating knee straightening all at the same time.

Next, Charyl focuses on the free leg. From the forward upright spin position with the free leg in front and slightly to the side, the movement of the free leg is best simulated by turning the skating hip in the direction of the spin, while keeping the free foot in place with the free hip turned out. The desired free foot position is behind the skating leg. Charyl makes a point of explaining that a layback should not bend from the lower (or upper) back but from the hips.

Another helpful exercise that simplifies the movement for skaters is to use “rectangle arms” and keep the chin tucked forward. This is helpful for skaters to feel the forward hip movement and pressure. The skater in this video drops the free side shoulder and hip, and this is very common when learning this spin. Charyl works to level out the shoulders and hips and reduce popping the skating hip (which incorrectly pops further to the skating side).

She also offers more detail on the movement and position of the free leg. She says, “I want you to pull your belly button over your left foot (skating foot) as you go back.” She wants the skater’s entire body more over the skating side. Charyl uses a method of balancing the skater against herself for the skater to feel how much she should be over the left side (skating side). Another valuable tip at the end of the video is to have skaters try to keep the head forward while trying to get the rest of the position correct, then drop the head back last.


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