Skating Fridays

Spinning in the Opposite Direction

My pairs partner and I are both considered “lefties” in our sport, even though we are both right-handed. A “lefty” skater jumps and spins clockwise, which I would have thought was normal. However, the opposite is true. A good majority (probably > 90%) of skaters jump and spin counterclockwise, which surprised me when I first took up this sport.

I have a good reason for being a lefty. When I participated in competitive gymnastics many, many years ago, my coaches taught me to do everything clockwise. Spins on the beam turned clockwise. Cartwheels were done right hand down first. Full twists were done clockwise. Naturally, when I applied this to the ice, I executed everything clockwise as well.

I had the great fortune of meeting my pairs partner in the mid 2010s and learned that he was also a left skater. We teamed up a few years later and have been beating each other up ever since (half joking – I accidentally kicked his cheek during off-ice recently. Oops!).

When I read that this year’s spin calling clarifications included a level for executing an upright, sit or camel spin in the opposite direction (as long as it was preceded or followed by the same spin in the “normal” direction), a skater can earn a level. Excitedly, I tried this out on my own. It seemed to work OK, so I asked my pairs partner if he could try it. Miraculously, he was able to spin counterclockwise!

Check out what we caught on video!


  1. KL
    September 8, 2023 / 6:03 pm

    I’m also a right-handed lefty skater! Does this multi-directional combo spin still count as a level if one of the directions is a one-foot spin taken off from two-foot pumps, as you’re demo’ing here? Or is this just proof-of-concept and will need to become an upright CCW scratch spin for the full level?

    • evabakes
      September 10, 2023 / 11:00 am

      Hooray for other right-handed lefty skaters! We are the best! šŸ˜Š Iā€™m unclear on how the entry needs to be for the opposite-side upright spin (it does not need to be a scratch spin) in order for it to count. I just know that if you execute an upright, sit or camel spin going one way and immediately follow it with the same spin spinning in the other direction (for at least 2 revolutions), it will receive a level. There is an exception for Masters levels so be mindful of that if you happen to skate at those levels.

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