Spin Tips for Adult Skaters – Part 3, Backspins (Charyl Brusch)

Spin specialist Charyl Brusch continues a short series of videos discussing adult skaters and their specific issues in terms of spinning. She offers many tips for working with adult skaters to help them improve their spins. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here. In this video, Charyl focuses on the backspin, and offers helpful insights for adult skaters and coaches who work with adult skaters. These concepts also work with skaters of any age who may be having problems with learning a backspin.

Charyl begins an adult backspin with simple backward gliding exercises to develop proper alignment and blade usage and awareness. She wants skaters to be able to glide backward in a straight line, but allows skaters to be on a slight outside edge as long as their ankle alignment is correct.

Charyl starts the backspin from 2 different entrances. One is a back inside pivot and the other is from a two foot spin. The two foot spin is helpful for skaters who struggle with balance on the back pivot. Notice the focus on getting “the shoulders and hips lined up over their skating foot” and the minimal arm movements (elbows up, axis arm draws into free side arm). In terms of free foot position, Charyl just wants the skater to place the free foot right on the inside of the skating leg without crossing the feet. Crossing comes later. She also uses repeated transitions from a forward spin to a backspin to another forward spin and so on to get skaters comfortable with the balance.

A common adult skater mistake with the backspin is to rock backward on the blade. Although this error is common for all ages, it’s particularly true for adults. Charyl recommends having the skater drag the toe pick to keep the weight forward on the blade. She also shows an exercise at the wall that encourages the skater to turn the skating side underneath, which closes the hips. The purpose of this is not to cross the feet, but to focus on proper alignment. She also shows additional drills at the wall. She wants the shoulders to be more over the skating side, which is hard for skaters who typically only know what the alignment feels like for a forward spin.

To cross the feet, Charyl likes to start with the free foot high and touching the inside of the skating leg, and then “sneak it over” to a high crossed position. For the back scratch spin, Charyl does not want them to point the toes. Instead she positions the feet crossed and basically side by side with a slight bend in the knees and ankles, knees, and thighs tight, with both kneecaps facing forward (like car headlights).


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