Kim Ryan videos available

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Great news for skaters interested in learning spins from the premier spin coach featured on Several videos of Kim teaching specific techniques are now available to non-members to view. For more videos like these and from others, you can subscribe to Private lessons, off-ice lessons, group lessons, and spin tools are available (like those in the videos) by contacting Kim Ryan at or online at

Beginner Backspin (Kim Ryan)

Starting a Haircutter Spin (Kim Ryan)

Spin Class – Scratch Spin Introduction (Kim Ryan)

Kim’s Bio

Kim Ryan

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 Kim Ryan videos available on

Our video today is from spin specialist Kim Ryan.

Teaching beginner backspin is one of the big challenges of coaching. The backspin simply doesn’t feel quite like anything else a skater has learned up to that point.

In this video, Kim demonstrates a process for building this spin while working with a young skater. The improvement in the spin during the lesson is obvious.

Kim Ryan teaches beginner backspin

Notice in the video how the process is focused on the fundamentals of balance on the proper spin spot of the blade and how to generate the rotation.

By taking the focus away from “learning a backspin” or “trying a backspin” the skater can focus on other aspects that produce improvements automatically.

Although spinning very fast can be helpful for some skaters to get the feeling of staying forward on the blade and spinning on the back outside edge (flat), learning to control the balance point on the blade while spinning slowly is likely to produce more universal results.

Kim Ryan teaches beginner backspin

There are a lot of attempts in this video. They have been left in to show the coaching process, and how Kim directs the lesson with specific feedback for each attempt.

This approach can be particularly helpful for adult skaters who typically struggle with learning the backspin. But with adults, it usually makes sense to work on standstill balance first.

This can be done at the boards, and then out on the ice at a standstill in the position Kim is asking for (straight free leg, hands start in “L” position and axis arm moves to meet free arm).

This spin is one of the most empowering skills a skater learns. Try this approach next time you’re teaching this.

Warmest regards,

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 It’s Elementary, My Dear….

Skaters and coaches often ask me, “What is the best approach to learning a higher level spin?” My answer is simple: go back to the basics.

This may seem counter intuitive to a skater that has already mastered the basic spins and even a combination or two. But you need to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run. Although it may not always be what they want to hear, I tell my students that the best approach in learning any new spin is to take baby steps rather than just dive right in.

If you focus only on the execution of the new spin, you are more likely to build in bad habits from the start. For example, a skater may find that even though they are doing the mechanics of a flying camel correctly, they are still struggling with the spin. This is because they are forgetting the basic building blocks common to all spins, whether it is a forward scratch or a death drop.

There are four to six basic elements to each spin. As you learn the new spin, break it down into these basic steps: entry, centering, spin position, and exit and remember these key points:

• Remember what I like to call “Centeration”
– stepping into the center of the circle after your crossovers to keep your spin centered.
• Go ¾ of a circle before you step into the spin and pull in
• Keep your arms in a skinny “V” as you enter.
• Push into the spin…think Spinergy!
• Keep your belly button “sewn” to your back as you spin.
• Return your arms to the skinny V as you exit.

Using a more “elementary” approach to learning a spin will give you a stronger basic spin position. When we talk about a basic spin position being strong, that means 20 rounds in base position v.s. three rounds. Although three rounds will get you credit for the spin by the judges, 20 rounds are what will make you competitive!
For example, when starting combo spins or variations of a base spin such as a pancake, first master three rounds in basic sit position, three rounds in pancake position and then come up to skinny “V” and exit. That’s crawling. Next, add on rounds four and four, then five and five and so on until you can do 20 rounds in a pancake position – now you are going from crawling to walking AND running!

As you practice any new spin, break it down to these building blocks and pay attention to the little details. Then process everything and put all of the elements together when you take your lesson. Try this approach for one week, and you will see results. That’s what I call Spinergy!

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 Giving Your Spins that Competitive Edge

Giving Your Spins that Competitive Edge

Competition season is just around the corner. When you step out on the ice in front of the judges will your spins be as polished as your skates?

In preparation for competition, many skaters focus their practice on the program as a whole, or on elements specific to their program, especially jumps. While this is an important part of your preparation strategy, you and your coach also need to dedicate some practice time to building the skills and strength that will give your spins a competitive edge.

Here are some of the “training tricks” I recommend to my students who are preparing for competition.

  • Look at your calendar and set a time frame for preparation. If your first competition is October 12, for example, you are going to want to start your spin training at least 6 weeks prior – the last week in August. Keep in mind that although you may practice up until the competition day, you are not going to gain anything new in the last 3 weeks.
  • Set aside a specific amount of time in your practice to focus on spins. Spin practice should be a set process both within your lesson and when practicing on your own. Work with your main coach to include some spin work in every lesson. When practicing on your own, you should spend 15 minutes on spins for every hour of on-ice practice.
  • Aim for 20 rounds in basic positon for every spin in your program. Although you may only be required to perform 6 rotations to get credit for a spin, to make sure it is solid under pressure, aim for 20 rotations when practicing the spin by itself. Then you can move on to your combination spins, but remember the stronger the base position the stronger the spin.
  • Cross Train to build endurance and strength. Build your strength and endurance off ice as well as on. Do back bends and wall walking at home to improve flexibility for laybacks; deep knee bends for sit spins.
  • Warm up and cool down with spins. Begin and end each practice session with spins. Although they require strength and conditioning, they will get you moving and ready for the more aerobic part of your practice such as jumps and running through your program.


There will be times when 20 rounds seems impossible, or it’s just not a good spin day. But keep working consistently and by the time of your first completion, your spins will be as dazzling as your skating costume!

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 Welcome to Spinergy!

Welcome to Spinergy, a Website dedicated to figure skaters who want to be better spinners. I am so excited to be launching my first site, and sharing my love of spinning with you!

Why just spins, you ask and not jumps or footwork or choreography? Although I can teach anything, spins are my passion. To me nothing else defines the beauty and discipline of figure skating as much as the spin. The other elements are important too, of course, but a well-executed spin can make the difference between a good program and a winning program.

I never planned on teaching spins exclusively. It just happened…my students were doing well competitively because of their spins. Coaches started bringing their students to me, saying that the student was competitive except for their spins and could I help? I was shocked but soon not only was I getting more requests from coaches and students for spin lessons, but I was being asked to put on spin clinics and workshops around the country. And from there it took on a life of its own. Now with the advent of new technology, I am teaching students all over the world through FaceTime.

Students of all ages and abilities come to me because they love to spin, hate to spin, are scared to spin or are struggling with spins. My goal is to not just help them improve their spins, but to have them walk away (or skate away!) wanting to do more spins because they enjoy it as much as I do.

I have been a skater and coach for most of my life, and it has been my love of the sport, and the people I have met on and off the ice that continue to feed my energy and inspire me to do what I do. I have always wanted to share that energy with others, for them to truly experience the sheer joy of skating. For 40 years I have been blessed to do this through teaching – and now, I am excited to say – through this Website.

I hope you will take a moment to tour the site and check out some of its great features, including our “Spin of the Week” video, monthly Spinergy blog and the calendar of events. Schedule a lesson with me at your nearest rink either in person or through FaceTime. Hone your spin skills with the latest tips and information, links to experts and instructional videos. Enjoy our gallery of spin photos and join the conversation with other skaters and coaches on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest sites. And be sure to check back each week for exciting new updates!

Wishing you a Spinergetic Day!


Next Month: How to prepare your spins for competition.

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