Layback Spin – Part 2 (Kim Ryan)

Spin specialist Kim Ryan continues a group class on layback spins. In Part 1 the focus was on proper upright spin entrance and spin centering. This video starts there and discusses the place on the blade we need to balance the spin, between the ball of the foot and the bottom toe pick.

The video then quickly moves toward a discussion of the basic layback position and issues. Notice Kim does not initially teach the standard layback free leg position, but instead has the skaters focus on keeping both legs straight. She calls this a “straight-legged layback spin” and it works well for both male and female skaters. While arching the back by pushing the hips forward, Kim wants the skaters to “stack the shoulders” which means keeping the free side higher than the skating side. This requires a strong core, and skaters must remember to engage their core throughout a layback spin.

A big problem for many skaters doing laybacks is bending the skating knee. This is not pretty and it results in a slower spin or a spin that slows down. Kim has the skaters stand on two feet facing the wall and push their hips toward the wall while keeping the legs straight. The skater then lays the upper body back while keeping their hands on the wall, while focusing on stacking the shoulders.

Kim then takes the skaters off the ice and teaches them “wall walking” which is a fantastic off-ice exercise for learning laybacks. The idea is to stand on two feet, about shoulder width apart and about a foot away from the wall and facing away from a wall. Place the hands on the wall near the ears and “walk” the hands down the wall. It’s helpful to have coaching feedback when initially doing this exercise both for safety and to make sure it’s executed correctly. Both knees should remain locked throughout and the shoulders should be square and remain square, even during the “walking.”


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