Tag Archives: back sit spin

Sit Change Sit Success! WOOHOO!

8 Apr

The last two weeks, I’ve been very focused on cleaning up my sit spin, making my camel consistent and trying to finally get my sit change sit spin. I revisited the sit change back sit a few months ago and up until 2 weeks ago I was only practicing it every once in awhile. However, in the past few weeks I’ve been spin crazy and I have been completely laser focused on getting a consistent sit change sit.

My issues with this spin centers on the back upright spin which I have never cared for very much. The back spin headlines my top 3 list for most feared figure skating elements. Why? Because I can’t get out of the damn thing. I get stuck in the back spin with my legs glued together and I have a very hard time pushing out of it. Falling backwards is my main concern and because I am relatively tall at 5’7″ this seems like it might hurt a lot. In fact, it does. I’ve taken many a fall like this so I avoid it like the plague unless I absolutely have to practice it. So my latest brilliant thought was why not focus on the back sit? It will help me with my back scratch exit and as I’m much closer to the ground I can fall out of it as much as I like without hurting myself. So that it exactly what I did. I have been obsessed with this spin and it has been non-stop spinning action on every practice session.

Some things my coach has me focus on to help with the sit change sit are as follows:

1. Not scraping my toe and not rushing the entrance. Letting the edge curve around ( or scoop) before stepping into the three turn.

2. Keeping both my left and right elbow pointed out when I am in either spin on the skating knee. 

3. Leaning forward or hinging at the hips in the spin. I think of this also for the camel spin as well. As it turns out, this is key for me when I change to the back sit. If I’m not hinging way forward on the back sit then there is nothing to balance out my big ol’ butt and I go flying backwards. So I really work on hinging forward on the front sit so I can easily just switch legs to the back sit without losing my balance.

4. Most importantly, (and still working on perfecting this) exit the back sit by pushing forward onto the toe like a back power pull, letting the back free leg swing out straight behind and again keeping the upper body forward hinged at the hips. The back leg should go straight out behind just like in a spiral but not really. Just think like you are doing a back spiral and then your leg will straighten out to allow you to exit the back spin. ( I have yet to experience the full effects of this but I’m working on it!)

5.  Work on quick change foot upright spins with arms open. First back upright, arms open, touch free foot in front to skating foot (maybe 2 revs) then switch to forward upright, touch feet crossed, arms open then repeat over and over 4-5 times. I just managed to do this the other day. It’s actually kind of fun once you get past the thought you might kill yourself doing it.

So, I have been doing 20-30 sit change sit spins on practice ice the past two weeks and the work has finally paid off. I still fall out of it and I still have some trouble getting out of the spin but I am actually rotating and pulling out of the back sit more times than not. This is after many, many, many, many falls. We are talking mucho falls until my lesson this morning.

My stats as of this morning were 4 out of 5 sit change sits were successful! YES! YES! YES! I’m very excited. So excited by this fact that I made a little progression video featuring my sit spin and sit change sit spin over the years. It’s not throwback Thursday yet but I’m still throwing it back all the way to 2007 today!

It’s just a reminder to me of how much time and energy has gone into this and also, that if you try hard, practice hard, and want it enough, you can eventually achieve your skating goals or any skating goals for that matter!

Enjoy!

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Breaking Bad… Sit Spin Techniques

31 Mar

Normally this wouldn’t even be a topic. I’m good at sit spins. They are relatively easy and I’ve been doing them for at least 10 years. It’s one of those elements that I choose to do first when I’m nervous or having an off day and it is still fine. I can always do a sit but.. and this is a big BUT (ha, no pun intended) my coach did not agree with the technique on my sit spin. It’s centered, it’s low enough (for an adult, anyway) but she disliked my free leg position which is glued to my skating leg and at the same level as my skating knee.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? View the video below, this is similar to how my coach would like it.

Perhaps this is a technique thing because I certainly see a lot of adult skaters and figure skaters in general clamping their thighs shut when performing the sit. I was always told by my previous coaches to glue my legs together, making them seamless and then to turn my foot out. I listened and therefore, my legs are glued and free foot is turned. Not so, she says. Not so unless you are in a cannonball sit. DO turn out the foot but DO NOT glue your inner thighs together. Let your free leg hang open and touch the ankle of your skating boot with the free skating boot so that there is an opening between the two legs. Not only that, spin with the free arm straight out and the skating side hand (elbow out) on your knee.

What the &%!? Huh??

Ok, so at first I was skeptical. How can this be so completely opposite of what I have learned before and still work? I always spin with my hands straight out in front and together, one hand over the other pressing down.  I mean that’s just basic sit spin technique. Everyone knows that! Or do they?

Perhaps this is an American skating thing then? Maybe. My coach is not from this country so there is a big difference in technique in some things, not many things, but this is definitely one of them. I do see this sit spin technique at adult competitions and even with the amateur skaters but by far I see the other technique (glued legs shut, arms out), at least in the northeast.

So, I had to make a choice a few months ago to either reject the new sit spin technique or embrace it. I think skaters go through this a lot. You spend all this time on something and then you move, take a break, injure yourself, have a falling out etc. and then start again with a new coach and end up having to learn new techniques. I think for adults this can be a little more trying because we are so set in our ways and it also takes us so darn long to learn anything in the first place!

So what did I do?

Ultimately, I believe that if you are going to work with a coach you need to commit to his/her way of teaching. What did the Russian coach say in The Cutting Edge when he wanted them to try that crazy made up move where Moira Kelly was basically bouncing her face off the ice?

“Is no halfway. Halfway is bull shit! You go halfway, you get hurt!”

Yeah, agreed, Mr. Cutting Edge Russian Coach. Although, personally, I would never commit to having my body bounced and then thrown into the air by some ex-hockey player like Moira Kelly’s character. As they say, that shit cray. I would probably bail on that one.

Seriously though, I think you’ve got to commit to the style of the coach you are learning from. I think it all connects anyway and unless you are absolutely perfect at that element you can always learn a better way to do something. You have to at least try to learn the new way and if it doesn’t work out then you can question it but typically I feel that it usually works out better when you do commit. It’s like building blocks for the harder things that you learn from that coach.

So, I’ve been working on this new sit technique sporadically over the last couple months realizing that why, yes, putting my left hand on my left knee is actually allowing me to spin much lower. Holy crap, how about that?!  I’m also spinning a little faster with the free leg more relaxed. My back sit spin is actually spinning lower than the forward sit at times. How crazy is that? Well, not too crazy since that’s my good knee but still, wow! As long as I let that free leg relax and cross at the ankle, this spin rotates pretty easily.

Good things really do come out of changes of technique and an open mind, even in skating.

Till next time… Happy Skating!

5:30 am SKATE WAKE UP

27 Feb

When I woke up this morning, I thought-I really don’t want to skate.
When I got to the rink, I thought- I really don’t want to get on the ice.
When I saw my coach, I thought- Oh, Please don’t torture me
When I got on the ice, I thought- This is going to be painful
When I started the lesson I thought-This isn’t so bad
When I was done with the lesson, I thought-that was actually a good practice!

Lesson? Even if I don’t want to skate, because I am stressed, tired or physically not feeling well skating always makes me happy.
It’s been pretty true for the last 8 years so I’m thinking its a pattern of happiness I probably should follow.
Work and the side business has been stressful and I am preparing for a 2 week trip to New Zealand. Yay! Fun! But before the fun, I have alot of loose ends to tie up and loads of works (that seems to never end) to do. The winter has been long and cold and I think I am ready for a break. I have not been skating very well and my knees have been hurting so progress is minimal.
So this morning I was not in a positive frame of mind and the last thing I wanted was to be at the rink at 6am in the morning to practice camel spins that never quite spin correctly.

I was pleasantly surprised by how calming and unstressful it was to just be out there on the ice.
I completely focused on whatever move or jump or spin I was practicing and before I knew it – the session was over and I felt so much less stressed.

THAT is what I love about skating. Yes, It can be challenging and no I will never get close to Sasha Cohen flexibility or Michelle Kwan ability BUT its worth it to just try and move on the ice without thinking of everything else going on.

I feel so much better, sigh.

Now, of course, this does not mean my flips were perfect, my camels spun without a bent leg and back spin wasn’t on the wrong edge 😉

Today’s lesson a variety of skills.
1. Went over footwork for recut second half of program
I now will ballet hop to a inside three turn with some pretty bended arm movements.
right now? It looks like a one foot stop with the pick in the ice and a bear hug in a crouched position.
2.Camels.
We worked on unbending the free leg, and going into the spin from a standstill with the left arm in front. I am going to repeat hold that left arm to myself for years to come in everything skating related! I continuously practice going into the camel on a half circle. I should look like superman with one hand stuck out instead I look like crouching tiger about to face plant into the ice (again)
3. Flips.
Softly pick in the ice. Don’t slam it, jam it or bend the knee. Issues. I have ISSUES!
all landed, just not a pretty jump.
4. Sit change sit.
The back sit is coming along. My coach is wondering why I can make 3-4 very nice revolutions in a back sit position but consistently have issues with a standing back scratch.
FEAR. Its fear of falling backwards from a height of 5’8″.
I am to work on getting into the back sit position from a stand still rather then from the forward sit.

I think that was all. The program is moving along slowly. I really like the footwork, I just wish my feet and body would work together. Don’t we all?
Happy Friday.

Sit change sit

19 Jun

I’m back again. The summer skating hours are wonderful!! Every year right after shut down the ice rink opens up and the rink gives us amazing hours for freestyle and coffee club and this year is exceptional. Every day there is a freestyle session! Its amazing! So I usually peak by the end of the summer and then have to pare down my hours towards fall and winter.
Weird isnt it?
But alas, we are subject to hockey’s need of the rink and right now they are gone!!! YAY!
Anyway it was my third day on the ice yesterday after 6 weeks off. (It was too expensive to go to the next closest rink 45 minutes away- like I usually do- gas y’know)
and I am landing all my flips!! I am checking my left shoulder and that is helping so much. I am landing all my waltz loop exercises that my coach taught me. AND… this is a big one. I started working on back spins again and I am rotating them and doing the jump exercise again out of them. This is with only three days back on!!! All that hard work over the last few years or this past year finally paid off.
My cames are so so but at least most of them rotate and they are getting better.

However, yesterday I had a breakthrough. I started doing sit spins into back sit. Not only did I maintain the back sit for a few rev’s but I actually could stand up into a back spin and push out from it!!! Amazing. I am in awe. No, seriously. Last year that was just a dream but it just happened like – poof.
I even called my coach over who was in freestyle and she said I just needed to take more time and step out a bit more into the back sit and then take my time with my arms and it worked even better!
I am soooo happy!!!
The layback is progressing too. Which is good.
And my new thing is working more on getting my spirals back. They have become awkward and they used to be easy.
Ok.. so I have to go back to work..more later!!