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.
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.
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.