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!