Spinboard Tutorial – Part 1 (Kim Ryan)

Figure skating spin specialist Kim Ryan shares a tutorial on how to use her off-ice spinboards. You can learn more about spinboards here and purchase a spinboard directly from Kim. This presentation is taken from a Zoom call between Kim and well-known US coach Diane Miller. Both were gracious enough to let us publish their discussion and demonstration.

Editor’s Note: The quality of the video below is not up to our usual standards here at iCoachSkating. However, the information in the video is so valuable, we hope you can overlook the small video and subpar audio. All important information is still visible and understandable.

Kim begins by explaining where to place the foot on the spinboard. (NOTE: Skaters should always wear supportive shoes when doing spinboard work.) Skaters can experiment a bit for the best feel, but Kim recommends hanging the front of the skater’s shoe slightly over the front of the spinboard to get the ideal position. Kim encourages all skaters (regardless of level) to start slowly with basic half turns. She demonstrates these in detail, including arm positions and arm and shoulder movement. She recommends a training aid such as a beach ball to help skaters organize their arms and legs and engage their core. As Kim notes in the video, skaters must use their core to create stability in order to have any success on a spinboard. Kim and Diane both commented that skaters who have taken their off-ice training seriously during the pandemic might “be better” in the sense that they will be ready to make faster progress due to improved athleticism and control.

For the half turns, skaters are learning the initial set position and feeling the axis during the spin. Kim explains the initial set position or starting position in detail. After half turns (or even quarter turns with those who don’t feel comfortable initially with half turns), Kim moves to full turns, two full turns, and three full turns. She recommends a variety of arm positions and movements, as well as constantly switching from forward spins to back spins to prevent excessive fatigue on one leg. She also recommends doing 10 repetitions of each individual spin. In other words, 10 half turn forward spins, 10 half turn backwards spins, 10 full turn forward spins, 10 full turn backwards spins, etc.

As a skater develops proficiency, Kim recommends a simple sequence of half spin, half spin, full spin, full spin, 2 full spins, 2 full spins, and finish with 3 full spins twice. (Kim says “half, half, whole, whole, two, two, three, three.”) To finish this exercise, the skater simply does the same progression but adds a “scratch spin” to the end of the sequence. This involves lifting the knee and crossing the feet and pulling in the arms correctly just like on the ice.

As Kim notes, skaters can now put in a ton of spin practice time off the ice. As most skaters rarely spend much time spinning during on-ice sessions, this is a great opportunity to build spinning skills that will translate to the ice.

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