Why Train With an Electric Spinner? (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating specialist coach and inventor Sheila Thelen discusses how an electric spinner is helpful as a training aid for figure skaters. She explains she was initially skeptical of the electric spinner, but she changed her mind after trying one. The spinner is very effective for younger athletes that have a hard time generating rotational force directly from the ground when jumping up into the stationary harness. Sheila calls this “ground pressure” and a spinner is an excellent way of helping skaters learn it. But even if a skater cannot create ground pressure, the spinner can simply spin them to create the rotation for air position training with the harness, meaning even very young skaters can have effective air position training that produces results.

For “high test” or more advanced skaters, the spinner creates an excellent challenge in terms of creating ground pressure while spinning, forcing more core engagement and balance and control. These advanced skaters can then spin very fast while creating ground pressure before accelerating up into the stationary harness for advanced air position training.

The standard spinner platter is not locked when powered off, so it can move as a skater gets onto it. Sheila notes that this sends a message to our “lizard brain” to pay attention, and it creates immediate core engagement. In other words, it creates a heightened level of focus. Because the platter moves when a skater is getting on and getting off, Sheila recommends always putting the stationary harness on and taking it off while the skater is standing on the ground (not the spinner). There are videos online of skaters spinning on a spinner without a harness, but Sheila notes that this is quite dangerous and can lead to very awkward falls.

At the end of the video, Sheila talks briefly about the different model spinners her company sells. The standard “sports” model demonstrated here can rotate up to 200 or 210 rpm (rotations per minute). This is more than fast enough for any skating training. She notes that another model has a different weight limit and top speed, but it’s not really necessary for most figure skating training situations. She finishes by noting that some really experienced skaters can maintain stability on the spinner at 100 rpm.


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