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Author Topic: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary  (Read 3486 times)

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Offline yirumi

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Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« on: February 24, 2016, 06:17:53 PM »
Hi all, i've been on this forum for a while. I would like to get some advice on two foot spin, wheather i should drop it or push through.
I have always had problem putting my weight in the middle of two legs when doing two foot spin, hence i forced myself doing one foot spin and i can get 6-7 rotations on a scratch spin. My coach is forcing me to practice 2 foot spin nowadays and he insist if I dont do two foot spin i will get stuck in other elements.
The thing is i cant put my weight in the right place for two foot spin, it discourages me every time when i attempt it, i went back home yesterday because i was forced to do two foot spin and i hated it.
Im wondering if two foot spin is really necessary for skill development? in what ways? should I just drop it, or should i invest time fixing it?
look forward in receiving your feedback. :)

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2016, 06:29:27 PM »
Interesting question, and I'm curious to hear what the more advanced skaters here think.  I'm having similar problems with the two foot spin (though I'm not working on one foot spins yet).  From a pivot I can do maybe a revolution and a half, but the LTS coach is also having us go into a two foot spin from swizzles or a slalom, and I end up sort of spiraling into it with both feet moving the same direction instead of having one foot rotate forward while the other one rotates backward, because I'm going faster than I'm comfortable spinning.  The one foot spin seems like it could be "simpler" in some ways because you're only rotating around one point.  But there's probably some future benefit to learning a two foot spin that I haven't figured out yet.

One exercise I tried that improved my two foot spin was to do the "rocking horse" exercise- alternating forward and backward swizzles, staying pretty much in one place.  Then once you've got the feel for that, try doing the forward swizzle with one foot while doing the backward swizzle with the other foot, and spin! 

Offline riley876

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 06:30:33 PM »
What are you long term skating goals?   High level (e.g. nationals, olympics, etc), or just skate for fun?

The thing is i cant put my weight in the right place for two foot spin, it discourages me every time when i attempt it, i went back home yesterday because i was forced to do two foot spin and i hated it.

That doesn't really sound like an adult approach to this.  How about asking your coach (I'm assuming this is who is "forcing" you) to explain their reasons for wanting to teach it?    Then if you really aren't convinced that it's necessary for your long term personal goals then negotiate moving on to other things?   

Offline littlerain

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 06:55:21 PM »
I also have trouble with the two foot spin, so you're not the only one! I'm much better at one foot than two, but perhaps learning the nuances of balancing/shifting your weight properly helps once you get to more advanced things? I agree, I'd love to hear an advanced skater's perspective on it!

Not sure if you're in the US but it is required for at least one test if you plan on testing.
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Offline amandascw

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 09:47:41 PM »
I had a similar problem and just ended up moving onto a one foot and I'm working on my scratch. I don't see why not mastering a two foot spin would hurt you in the future, especially since you already have your scratch spin but I'm no professional... ;)
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Offline dkd

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 11:00:29 PM »
I think the two foot is important because you need to get used to being on the opposite foot for back spins. I completely understand your pain, though. I almost can't do them anymore, but I have been doing scratch, back scratch, and other spins for quite a while now. I'd say just try to push through. It might help you in the long run.

Offline nicklaszlo

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 12:01:16 AM »
I learned one foot before two foot.  Spins take a while to learn.

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2016, 01:00:30 AM »
I think the two foot is important because you need to get used to being on the opposite foot for back spins.

Not at all, because you're on a completely different edge and balance point on the blade.

Two foot spins are only helpful for getting used to rotation without having to balance on ne foot - past that, there really is no benefit over just spinning on one foot.

Offline fsk8r

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2016, 02:09:31 AM »
Not at all, because you're on a completely different edge and balance point on the blade.

Two foot spins are only helpful for getting used to rotation without having to balance on ne foot - past that, there really is no benefit over just spinning on one foot.

Fully agree with this. But I'd also reiterate that spinning takes a long time to master, so keep messing around with the 2 foot spin and the 1 foot version. I spend more time working on spins than jumps because getting lower enough on a sit spin and keeping the leg high enough on a camel spin are really really hard for me especially when you start adding in different leg positions.

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2016, 10:42:50 AM »
I suspect the OP is in a Learn to Skate program, so the two-foot spin IS required.  Both the ISI (Alpha) and US Figure Skating's Basic Skills (Basic 4) programs have these spins as test requirements.

It teaches:

. Rocker balance point - you have to be on the front of the blade/inside rocker of both feet for this spin.
. Body alignment - stand up straight over the feet to spin without wobbling or losing rotational speed.
. Upper body control - "pull in" to increase speed without wobbling.
. Dizziness training - if dizziness is a problem, this spin will help lessen them with minimal risk from falls.
. Safety - a two-footed spin can be stopped more easily and safely than a one-foot spin.

Two foot spins are usually difficult for some skaters due to the control needed to stay on the balls of the feet.  That's why upgrading from a very-flat beginner blade to a more-prominently rockered freestyle blade often improves spins.  It's hard to find that "sweet spot" and hang onto it throughout with a very-flat rocker; the skater tends to sit back too far on the blade or catch the toepick and start looping.

While the two-foot spin doesn't seem to have any benefits for the backspin, it does allow some skill-building for weight transfer during change-foot spins and staying forward on the blade.  IME, skaters who have weak two-foot spins tend to do backspins on the incorrect (at basic levels) FI edge and/or twizzle.  That's sometimes due to body position as well as blade usage, but either way, the two-foot spin helps strengthen both if done right.

Learning this spin with deeply bent knees helps master that control because it's more difficult to put your weight on the middle-to-back of the blade if your knees are bent.

I use a two-foot spin frequently when teaching upper-body variations for the scratch spin, attitude, camel, and layback spins.  I have several spin drills to increase core control that I always start on two feet, mainly for safety.  YMMV


There are plenty of skaters who "can't" perform two-foot spins so they prefer one-foot spins.  Some spin just fine, others' spins look awkward and off-balance.  IMO, it may also result from imbalanced leg strength.
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Offline Neverdull44

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2016, 12:03:32 PM »
How many revolutions can you do in a two foot spin?  How much are you using your toe-picks?  In other words, are you stopping this two footed spin from use of the toe pick? Quiet spinning is an art form of itself.  Trust me, I struggle with toe-picks all throughout skating.

Can you hold good, forwards inside edges, especially on your non spinning side?  That's what you are using to do a two footed spin.  It's a deep edge if you are spinning.    That forward inside edge is used in the entrance to the back spin.  It's just that that inside edge is followed by a three turn, and then you are spinning backwards on an outside edge.  The deeper you can pull that forward, inside edge, the faster & stronger your back spins (whether an upright, back camel, or back sit spin).   I have seen beginning skaters go from a two foot spin right into a backspin, because they picked up the wrong foot.  The three turn naturally happened, and they were executing a great back spin.  But, they didn't know it.  So, they weren't scared.  But, the coach was super excited.

Alot of the beginning moves have important, later on- concepts.   Change foot spins, have a moment where they are a two-footed spin.  Especially for me.  And, on the forward to backward sit spin, the width of the feet apart has to be under my shoulders, which is the same as my two footed spin.     Another important concept is the back outside pivot.   That's the beginnings of a good toe-loop.  As well as learning putting more pressure on the back of the blade, near or at the heel.  Which is needed for lots of stuff, from backwards three turns, brackets, shea-fer pushes (don't know how to spell).

You can always ask the coach what move you can look forward to using with the two footed spin.   

Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2016, 01:35:56 PM »
I never really learned a 2-foot spin (I guess I just missed that class or something?) and it has never hurt me.  I can do forward spins, backspins, change-foot spins with changes of position and difficult variations. . . Never needed the 2-foot spin for anything.  In terms of skill-building for the backspin and change-foot spin, the left back inside pivot (right toe in the ice) did more good for me than anything else.

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2016, 07:14:24 PM »
I could never get my two foot spin in my 'natural' direction to work, so I've started to spin in the opposite direction. It's working out but feels as creepy as heck.
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Offline robinsnest

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2016, 09:16:05 PM »
Feeling your pain, OP.  I still can't do a two foot spin though I have a decent one foot spin and am now working on Bronze dances.  Very frustrating.  My Adult Bronze moves are ready to test, and I want to pass Adult Pre-Bronze Freestyle at the same time, so I continue working on it!  Have made some encouraging progress in the last couple months working on it here and there with my coach.  He says it is actually a really hard thing to do correctly.  My advice would be to keep trying but don't obsess or let it discourage you from moving along with everything else... eventually it will happen  8)
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Offline yirumi

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2016, 04:46:55 AM »
What are you long term skating goals?   High level (e.g. nationals, olympics, etc), or just skate for fun?

im an adult skater but i take it quite seriously. I wont be doing tests but i'm thinking about joining competitions when im ready..

That doesn't really sound like an adult approach to this.  How about asking your coach (I'm assuming this is who is "forcing" you) to explain their reasons for wanting to teach it?    Then if you really aren't convinced that it's necessary for your long term personal goals then negotiate moving on to other things?   

haha, my coach is actually my friend so i could get angry with him and leave.. he said good two foot spin is essential for proper body position. he said my body position when doing one foot spin is not right and i cant get it right because i dont practice two foot spin..l

Offline yirumi

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2016, 04:49:27 AM »
I learned one foot before two foot.  Spins take a while to learn.

dont know how long is a while.. i've been skating for almost one year and a half, started doing two foot spin since 2nd month of skating and never get more than 4 rotations..i basically gave up since a while ago until my coach force me to do it again.

Offline Lola

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2016, 01:44:52 PM »
Lots of great advice here, and I will add my personal experience as an example of why it's important to learn your two-foot spin.

I had a mild case of vertigo last fall and, along with physical therapy, was able to re-acclimate to spinning by doing the two-foot spin.  I found it was a good way to get my spin mojo back without taxing the supporting leg used in a one-foot spin. I still warm up with the two-foot to keep the dizziness at bay. Never thought I'd ever deal with vertigo but I'm sure glad I've got the tools to keep me on the ice.

Good luck to you!


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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2016, 07:29:32 PM »
Is a two foot spin necessary? I don't believe so. But, it can be extremely helpful in developing other elements:

- spin/jump rotation
- edges
- balance and centering
- the idea of an axis
- core of the "magic circle" exercise (helpful for Axel and double salchow)

You can absolutely be a good skater without a solid two foot spin, but a two foot spin will help you build a strong foundation for many other things in skating.
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Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2016, 08:56:14 PM »
dont know how long is a while.. i've been skating for almost one year and a half, started doing two foot spin since 2nd month of skating and never get more than 4 rotations..i basically gave up since a while ago until my coach force me to do it again.

Your coach wasn't happy with 4 revolutions on your 2-foot spin?  Hmm. . .  So what does your coach say is wrong about your body position when you try a 1-foot spin?

Offline amy1984

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2016, 12:28:54 AM »
I would say yes.  It's good for skill development.  Teaches body position and balance, etc.  It's like wondering if a waltz jump is necessary.  Of course it is.  I understand finding it frustrating but I think moving on without it would make a one foot spin more difficult to learn.  A two foot spin is an important part of the figure skating learning curve.

Offline sampaguita

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2016, 08:15:34 AM »
dont know how long is a while.. i've been skating for almost one year and a half, started doing two foot spin since 2nd month of skating and never get more than 4 rotations..i basically gave up since a while ago until my coach force me to do it again.

What is it with 4 rotations? Mine has at most 4 rotations on a good day. I've only had two (!) tries where I had 6!

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2016, 08:54:46 AM »
I would say yes.  It's good for skill development.  Teaches body position and balance, etc.  It's like wondering if a waltz jump is necessary.  Of course it is.  I understand finding it frustrating but I think moving on without it would make a one foot spin more difficult to learn.  A two foot spin is an important part of the figure skating learning curve.

Waltz jump and bunny hop are there to build skills for the axel.

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2016, 03:44:30 PM »
try doing the forward swizzle with one foot while doing the backward swizzle with the other foot, and spin!

What an interesting idea! I tried playing with it the past couple days. Not the usual entry, but it works pretty well.

But I wonder if, as with generating the spin using ones arms alone (wrap arms around body, unwrap, wrap in opposite direction), I wonder if a lot of coaches might fail it. Plus, you pretty much have to start from a stand-still, so it would be hard to work it into a routine.

Is anything in figure skating "necessary"?  :) I hope you skate for fun! For me, learning to do something that doesn't come naturally at all to me is satisfying and fun.

I'm not a good enough spinner to know how much two foot spins help one to learn one foot spins. But maybe learning to do a two foot spin at all (even if badly) is a lot easier than learning to do a one foot spin at all, and can be taught at a lower level.

While taking ISI alpha-delta lessons (roughly equivalent to USFS BS 1 - BS 5 or 6), I once tried to learn how to do things "right" by watching televised skating competitions (e.g., U.S. Nationals, ISU Grand Prix). But their routines didn't seem to include ANY of the moves that I had been taught. I felt cheated - I couldn't understand why we had wasted time on stuff that wasn't really "skating". But I've gradually come to realize that a lot of beginning level figure skating moves are there to train one to learn to control motion, balance, and weight, as well as to strengthen applicable muscles.

Incidentally, though I'm still struggling a lot with spins, I've been playing with pointing the initially still foot (e.g., the left foot in CCW spins) very slightly outwards (slightly to the left in CCW spins), especially if I start from a two foot glide - that helps stop the forward motion of that foot, and it initiates a slight spinning motion on that foot while the other foot does a half swizzle pump. It should only be a couple degrees or so, and only last a tiny fraction of a second, because the initially still foot is eventually supposed to glide backwards while the pumped foot glides forwards, rather than stay still. That slight initial point also helps to get rid of forward travel in the final spin. Alas, this technique doesn't feel quite the same in one foot spins (at least not from a one foot entry), though I've been playing with pointing that foot (which is the only foot used in one foot entries) slightly that way during the first few milliseconds of entry, again to get rid of any final forwards travel. But perhaps these methods don't apply to better spinners?

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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2016, 05:30:32 PM »
I suspect the OP is in a Learn to Skate program, so the two-foot spin IS required.  Both the ISI (Alpha) and US Figure Skating's Basic Skills (Basic 4) programs have these spins as test requirements.

It teaches:

. Rocker balance point - you have to be on the front of the blade/inside rocker of both feet for this spin.

[SNIP]

Two foot spins are usually difficult for some skaters due to the control needed to stay on the balls of the feet.  That's why upgrading from a very-flat beginner blade to a more-prominently rockered freestyle blade often improves spins.  It's hard to find that "sweet spot" and hang onto it throughout with a very-flat rocker; the skater tends to sit back too far on the blade or catch the toepick and start looping.

While the two-foot spin doesn't seem to have any benefits for the backspin, it does allow some skill-building for weight transfer during change-foot spins and staying forward on the blade.  IME, skaters who have weak two-foot spins tend to do backspins on the incorrect (at basic levels) FI edge and/or twizzle.  That's sometimes due to body position as well as blade usage, but either way, the two-foot spin helps strengthen both if done right.

Learning this spin with deeply bent knees helps master that control because it's more difficult to put your weight on the middle-to-back of the blade if your knees are bent.


I was told by one coach, and think I read it somewhere as well, to be on the front of the left blade and back of the right blade on a  CCW 2 foot spin, so that is what I practice. I will try getting on the front of both blades next time.

When I first stated to spin I always did a 2 foot spin and picked up my right foot when I felt stable. Once I became comfortable with a 1 foot spin (3-4 revs max) I found I had trouble doing a 2 foot spin. All of my weight was on my left leg and I wasn't balanced at all on 2 feet. I have started making myself do "balanced" 2 foot spins along with working on my 1 foot spin and my 1 foot spin has improved as I have gotten back my 2 foot spin.   
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Re: Discussion: is two foot spin necessary
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2016, 05:46:59 AM »
I have to say that for me that two foot spin was (and still is) fundamental!!!

I use them on a regular bases to figure out my upper-body position on difficult up-rights variations, on my 2sal  and 2F take-off warm up drills and my change of foot variations. It might maybe see like a "use-less" skill since you don't really see many (higher-level) skaters doing two-foot spins, but there is as a lot to be learned in a two foot spin as a few other people have already stated.

Don't get discouraged and work on trying to understand where your body is and where it is suppose to be a few millimeter changes can make a world of difference.
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