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Author Topic: Spinners and Spinning  (Read 1690 times)

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Offline dkd

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Spinners and Spinning
« on: October 14, 2015, 01:51:15 PM »
My first "real" post :)

My spins have always been a mess, but lately it's been driving me crazy. Toe pick marks and extreme looping and frustration are usually the outcomes of all of my spins. I got new skates and better blades about two months ago and had relatively the same problem with my entry level skates and low quality blades, so I don't think it's the equipment; I'm the problem. I've started doing combo spins (upright change, camel-sit, sit-change-sit, camel-sit-change-sit) recently and they are almost impossible at the moment, since the first spin is usually off kilter already, then the second spin is even worse than that particular spin by itself. While I realize actual ice time is always the best solution, my rink is relatively far away and ice time is limited for my schedule so I've been thinking of getting a spinner to help my dilemma.

How effective are spinners in your personal experience? What kind do you think is the best to get? What kinds of spins can you do on them? Can you pretty much only do forward and back scratch spins on them or are other spins possible? Would back scratch jump outs be possible or would that be dangerous on a spinner? Also, do you have any tips on centering spins on the ice, specifically forward scratch and forward camel?

I have a background in ballet, so I have a feeling that toe pick marks are from wanting to spin on pointe :blush: Also, my left foot is about a half small sizer than my right, so the boot is slightly larger on that foot for forward spins (CCW spinner here). Could that be a reason for looping?

Offline Bill_S

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2015, 04:52:51 PM »
Like you, I was spin-challenged for quite a few years. I made a spinner from a lazy-susan bearing and some quickly cut pieces of wood...

http://www.ohio.edu/people/schneidw/skating/homemade_spinner.html

Personally, I didn't find it much help. It was a pleasant diversion and a very popular party item for testing sobriety, but I didn't gain much from it.

However others have seen improvements. If you know of someone with a spinner, ask to try it to judge for yourself.
Bill Schneider

Offline Query

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2015, 06:55:12 PM »
If you aren't up to Bill_S's craft project, I discussed here

  http://skatingforums.com/index.php?topic=6794.0

a $7.27 (free shipping to U.S.) "twist board" (or "wobble board") which works pretty well.

  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Twist-Waist-Torsion-Disc-Board-Aerobic-Exercise-Fitness-Reflexology-Magnets-/252060713484?hash=item3aaffd420c

That particular sale has ended. But there are other ones:

  http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?clk_rvr_id=913477401098&mfe=search&_nkw=%22twist+board%22&_sop=15

  http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=+%22wobble%20board%22&clk_rvr_id=913470123181&mfe=search

I suggest you avoid the ones with stretch bands/cords - they may not let you fully spin.

My experience has been that many "skate spinners" (like Gold Medal brand spinners $40 - $70) with bearings work poorly, because they seem to use unreliable lazy susan bearings, that sometimes have too much friction to be practical. The first one I bought did not turn smoothly - and yes, I tried to lubricate it. I went to a store that had a lot of top end "Gold Medal Pro" spinners in stock, and had to go through a lot of them before I found one that turned smoothly. And it was still too small, and therefore sensitive to foot placement, for a poor spinner like me to adapt to. Because of the larger diameter, "twist boards" and "wobble boards", may work better for poor spinners. (OTOH, if you can spin on the tiny "skate spinners", maybe you can spin perfectly under any condition, because you must have incredibly good balance.)

DO EXPECT, when using any such device, that you will sometimes be thrown clear onto the floor, especially at first. So wear padding, and don't be too close to counters, tables, etc., that you can bump into. And start slow. I can well imagine a devilish little kid  ::>) "innocently" bringing a skate spinner to a rink, and inviting her/his friends to try it. The carnage that will ensue will create great glee in that little angel.  :angel:

For me at least, the single piece spinners, made of one piece of solid plastic, that turn on the floor, are even harder to stabilize.

On ice I have recently found, especially from a two foot entry, that pulling back on my left shoulder (for counterclockwise spins) just before I start the spin, helps a lot to stop traveling. That's because my traveling occurs because I retain some of my forwards momentum. It also helps a little on one-foot entries, but not enough.  :-[

Other people use other methods to kill that forward momentum. E.g., one good spinner showed me she went onto an extremely deep edge (thereby reducing the diameter of the edge arc) just before the 3-turn entry into the spin. And other good spinners I talked to have other methods of their own, from shallow edges. It seems to be very individual - there are many workable techniques, for different skaters. How very odd!

Also, it helps if you make your body stiff as you bring in your right-side leg and arm (simultaneously) ("moving against resistance") - loose floppy bodies spin poorly.

Don't forget that on-ice spins aren't quite in place - you trace a small (2"??) circle on an edge. So, eventually, you want to try offsetting your foot slightly sideways from the center of the disk. But that makes it a lot harder.

Good luck!

Please tell me if you find a gyroscopic stabilizer to help skaters. :)


Offline JSM

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2015, 03:12:23 PM »
I think the plastic one piece spinners seethe most popular, both for price and functionality.

I have a plastic Jerry's spinner that is slightly rockered.  I found it very helpful when learning twizzles in the opposite direction, because I could spend time getting my body used to spinning the other way. 

In your case, I think it's a matter of finding the correct part of the blade to spin on.  This is not trivial and doesn't come naturally to a lot of people, it just takes practice - which is hard to do.  I skated as a youngster and I still get dizzy after practicing spins for a while! 

I think your best bet may be to hit up a public session and spin, spin, spin.  Stuck with upright one foot spins at first, not even scratch spins, and feel the blade and how your weight transfers effect the spin itself.  Look at your tracings, video yourself if possible.  If you are a dancer you are probably used to spotting, which you can't do as a skater, so you just have to train your body to hold itself differently during the spin.  But you probably have excellent body awareness, so I'm sure you can do it!
 

Offline Sk8Lady82

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 04:38:21 AM »
The plastic or wooden ones with the rocker are the better way to go (IMO). My Dad had me rub crayon onto the bottom of them and spin on a large piece of paper (years ago) Color code the edges and center. It allowed me to see how I was transferring weight throughout my spin. I came from a dance background as well and there can be that natural tendency to try and push into your toes.

The better option may be to grab your phone or a camera and have your coach of a friend record several of your spins. Watch your knee and shoulder placements through them then as someone mentioned before me hit some public sessions and spin till you think you may see your lunch again. Good luck!

Online tstop4me

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2015, 07:22:47 AM »
I'm OK with a 2-foot spin now, but struggling with a scratch spin.  I can't comment on spinners right now (just bought one, but need to clear out a practice area).  But here is yet another factor to consider:  your blade mounting.  The blade mounting is typically adjusted to give you forward straight glides, and then tweaked for good control over forward inside and outside edges (and then perhaps further tweaked for backward straight glides and backward inside and outside edges).  Depending on your feet, boots, and blades (lots of variables here), you may need to tweak the blade mounting further for spinning ... which may entail compromising other motions somewhat.

I spin CCW.  My instructor has me practicing by entering from a stationary T-position onto a LFO edge to a 3-turn to a 1-foot spin.  At first, I was struggling even to complete one revolution.  After tweaking the blade, I could complete 4 revolutions.  I tweaked the blade both laterally (inside-outside) and longitudinally (toe-heel).  I found that a 1/16 inch shift was significant.  Took me 4 tweaks to optimize. 

Spinning is frustrating to learn, but so satisfying when you hit a good one.  Good luck!

Offline Loops

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2015, 10:00:35 AM »
I have a spinner too, the wooden rockered one from Holy Salchow.  It works fine, you can mine the spinner threads on here to find some good exercises for it.  I try to use it for twizzles, double brackets and other such things.  I have a tendancy to get nauseated-dizzy relatively quickly when spinning.  I find that it's even worse on the spinner.  If I get a good spin on that thing, I'm down for the day.  So just be aware that if you're like me, the dizziness factor can actually be worse than on the ice.

I like the idea of color-coding the bottom.  That's something worth battling the dizziness to try out.

Offline dkd

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2015, 05:44:33 PM »
Thanks everyone for the replies! I'll have to ask my coach (he's also a skate tech) about my blade placement next time I see him. The crayon idea is really interesting Sk8Lady82. If I end up getting a spinner like yours, I'll definitely do that.

I have had a friend video me spinning before and she says my upper body looks kinda tilted and wonky (I agree haha). I'm just not sure how to fix it. It's probably a large contributing factor to the unfortunate state of my spins.

Offline Query

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Re: Spinners and Spinning
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2015, 10:21:02 PM »
The one from Holy Salchow does look wonderfully elegant (I bet any good woodworker could make their own), and it has more room to put your foot on than the spinners I've tried.

But it lacks something that the others lack too, that I have thought might be cool: there should be straps, to attach to your feet. After all, we lace on our boots! I might also like something to attach stretch bands to, to hold my self in place while learning.

Would a felt bottom be better than a hardwood floor bottom?

A number of us on this board have tried just using slippery (nylon?) socks, spinning on a linoleum or polished wood floor. I admit the balance is a lot easier than with a spinner, and you may not spin as long, but it is a good CHEAP way to play with different arm and leg positions, and to practice keeping your body stiff enough, and not accidentally releasing the tension a bit in one of your shoulders, which I personally still find counter-intuitive.

But, for safety, you STILL need to make sure not to run into counters and other objects. If you have free access to a racquetball or basketball court, or a dance studio with waxed hardwood floors, that might be better, because would be nothing to run into.

I notice that Holy Salchow suggests buying a 3'x3' or larger square of linoleum to spin on with their spinner, to avoid messing up your floor. Great idea. Though whiteboard (like they sometimes put in classrooms) material has even less friction...