Ice Skating Spins

Get Gliding

Before you attempt this or any figure-skating technique for the first time, it helps to have had a couple introductory lessons. You should be able to skate from one end of the rink and back before attempting this technique. At the rink, lace up and warm up, then get going.

Gliding forward on one foot is a basic move that all figure skaters and ice hockey players must master. For beginners, this may seem impossible to do when still learning how to stay upright on two feet. With practice and a little self-confidence, you can learn how to glide and skate on one foot.

Scratch Spin

One of the most basic spins figure skaters do is the forward scratch spin. During that spin, the free foot and free leg crosses over the skating leg. Sometimes the skater seems to almost become a blur since a scratch spin can spin so fast.

One Foot Upright Spin

The basic forward upright one-foot spin is the first one-foot spin new figure skaters learn.

Once the skater graduates to one-foot spinning, spins can be skated on either of the feet — if skated on the left foot, the spin is considered to be a Forward Upright Spin; if skated on the right foot, the spin is considered to be a Back Upright Spin (remember that most skaters spin in a counterclockwise direction — for clockwise spinners, a forward spin would be on the right foot, a backspin on the left). For beginning skaters, the free leg (the one NOT on the ice) is usually bent, with the ankle near the skater’s knee.

Sit Spin

In a sit spin, the skater bends the skating knee while spinning and sits down during the spin. The free leg points out in front. The basic Sit Spin is performed with the free leg sticking straight out in front of the skater. The skater bends her skating knee and basically sits down as far as she can without falling. The lower a skater goes, the better the spin will be marked. Like the upright spins, the sit can be performed on either foot, known as Sit Spin (left foot) or Back Sit Spin (right foot). Most skaters can get down farther in the forward position. This page shows examples of the sit spin.

Camel Spin

A spin where the skater’s upper body and free leg are horizontal or parallel to the ice. The basic camel spin position is defined as one in which the free leg is extended backwards with the knee held above hip level. A camel spin, is one of the three basic positions for figure skating spins.

Step One

A camel spin is a figure skating spin that is done with the same body position as the spiral (arabesque). The camel spin is commonly entered by first doing a few back crossovers in a circle.

Step Two

After doing a few back crossovers in a small circle, the last back crossover sort of “winds ups” the skater.

Step Three

The skater steps forward into the center of the circle that was created by the back crossovers, reverses direction, and then pushes into the camel spin.

Step Four

As the skater enters a camel spin, the skater should step onto a strong and deep curve. The skater’s shoulders should be level. The skating knee should bend deeply as the skater leans forward into a spiral position.

Step Five

Some skaters straighten the skating knee quickly as the spin begins; others rise up slowly. The weight of the foot must actually be on the ball of the skate and not too far forward over the toe pick. The skater’s back should be arched. The head should be held up during the entry and also during the spin.

Step Six

Skaters should try to spin for at least four revolutions in the horizontal camel position.

Step Seven

Some skaters will go right into a forward scratch spin from a camel spin.

Step Eight

Skaters usually push out backward onto a strong back outside edge to exit the camel spin.

Attitude Spin

The Attitude spin is also considered an upright spin. In this spin which looks a little bit like a very shallow layback, the skater turns her head and looks to the side, instead of arching and looking up. Usually the freeleg is also raised and sticking out to the side in an attractive position.

An attitude spin is an upright ice skating spin where the figure skater spins with the free leg in an attitude position.

Layback Spin

The Layback spin is a very attractive variant of the upright spin. To perform a layback, the skater (usually) puts her arms in a circle in front of her body, then arches her back and looks at the ceiling while spinning. It is one of the most beautiful of spins. The variety of possible arm, back, and leg positions seem to be limited only by the artistic creativity of the skater. In a layback spin, the skater bends backward while spinning. The free leg is held in the attitude position.

Flying Camel

The Flying Camel has a spinning position like a regular camel, but the entry is more difficult.

The skater performs what looks like a waltz jump, then lands and begins spinning in the camel position. Like a waltz jump, the landing is on the right foot (counterclockwise spinners), which means that a normal flying camel spins in a “back camel” position. In a flying camel, the skater jumps from the forward camel position, changes feet, and spins on the other leg in a back camel.

Bielmann Spin

The Bielmann spin is a spin where the skater lifts his or her leg way above the head and grabs the figure skate blade while spinning. The Biellmann is a figure skating move frequently seen at almost all figure skating competitions and events. To do a Biellmann, a skater holds the free leg’s blade with both hands and pulls it back way above the head. The legs become completely split, although the free leg is bent. The free foot must be over the head.

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