The Camel Spin Monologue

28 Oct

– Sarah Hughes in a camel spin

The camel spin baffles me.

I’ve put time and effort and my fair share of practice into this spin and still it eludes me. Sometimes I hit it and I spin effortlessly (this happens rarely) and other times I skid on the entry, fight with my inside edge and eke out a mere 4-5 rev’s at the speed of a turtle.

Much like Dorothy Hamill, I think if they were to name a camel after my variation of the spin – it would be called “Brokeback” camel. Why? Well, my head is either hanging down or way up and my free leg is usually bent at an odd angle, and typically I end with a bob.

I’ve spoken to a few other adults on this disturbing camel spin topic as well.
It usually starts with “Hmm, well I have one but I lose it routinely” or “yeah, it could be better somehow it’s always different.”

I think this all goes back to technique and entry. Seems like we all tend to mess our technique up just a bit when it comes to this spin and in my estimation, unlike other spins, if you botch the entry on this one you’re not going to be able to fix it. (unless you’re a pro of course ;)Like wise, if you have terrible technique you are not going to be able to pull it off like you might in another spin.

What makes this spin so annoying though is the sheer number of things you have to think about! I try to think back to when I was learning my sit spin and I suppose I felt the same way but I swear it was easier! I’ll give you a little taste of what I think about when I go into my camel spin and then you can bunny hop yourself away from the computer in horror:

1. Go in on a deep knee
2. Make sure you are on a deep outside edge
3. Make sure you are over your left side
4. Don’t forget your left arm – no dropping or opening of that arm until you turn at least 180 degrees!
5. Keep your free leg straight and don’t let it swing forward.
6. Mantain a bent knee for one revolution before rising into a straight leg.
7. Don’t look down.
8. Look to the left but your body should be open to the right.
9. Point the toe!
10. Keep your chest up.

Yes – its a crazy skating mind I have but somebody has to listen to it! Usually it’s just me but now you too can get a taste of crazy skating thoughts! A coach once told me that the mind can only hold a max of three things to focus on while skating. Hmmph obviously that’s part of my problem!

So to finally get to the point of my blog entry, I wanted to post some ideas and videos on the camel spin for all camel challenged people like myself. No longer will adult skaters have to wrestle the camel spin beast by themselves! Luckily they will now find camaraderie in others who are equally camel distressed or deficient. (I prefer distressed)

Sounds kind of ridiculous but trust me there are alot of “us” out there waiting to jump out of the closet! Yeah – shake your head all you want – but I know you’re out there. Oh, and if you are a closet layback challenged skater, just wait! That’s next on my list! For now, we’ll start with deconstructing the camel.

Let’s start with a basic practice (really devised to torture skaters):

I call it the glove test.

Place a glove in your left hand (not on it)if you spin to the right place the glove in your right hand. Perform your camel spin entry and as you go into this entry ensuring a deep knee bend (on the skating leg) you will place the glove in the crease between the hip and leg. As you rise into your camel this glove should not only stay in place but should be locked, securely nestled between your hip and leg joint area. This will ensure a properly executed and level spin.

Now, doesn’t that sound impossible? You can do this all day long like a dog chasing after a bone and you still may not be able to get it to stay in place although you will likely be grabbing for the glove every time as it falls out of place.

However – please be reassured I have once or twice been able to keep the glove in place. Miracles do happen. Not often, but they do. Practice this alot and at least you’ll learn how to amuse your friends during public session with a glove routine, if not stun them with your perfectly balanced camel. (I was daydreaming there)

Here’s a video of nicely executed camel spin from another adult, watch her second spin:

Also, check out this Camel Spin tutorial from Jo Ann Schneider Farris
It’s pretty helpful.

Please feel free to comment if you yourself have any camel tips. Till next time …

3 Responses to “The Camel Spin Monologue”

  1. kkn November 25, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    reely cool:)

  2. kkn November 25, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    awesome monologue im super good at my camel its my best spin


  1. The Glove Test – Camel Spins | Journey to the Land of Figure Skating - May 9, 2013

    […] What is the glove test, you ask? A few years ago I had two coaches who had me try camels spins by placing a glove in the space between where your hip and leg meets. You are supposed to be able to hold the glove in that crevice while you do the spin and it’s obviously meant to improve your entrance into and position throughout the spin. You can find a more in depth tutorial in my blog post “The Camel Spin Monologue” from 2009 […]

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