Skating Fridays

Pairs Death Spiral Update

Last month, I had the opportunity to take a lesson with Olympian Philip Dulebohn in Delaware. I wrote about that lesson here. Due to the holidays, work schedules, injuries, and life in general, my pairs partner and I only got to try one of the exercises a total of two times between then and now.

My partner and I haven’t been able to get onto a freestyle session to work on our pairs program or elements in a while. We’ll try to do that soon since we plan on skating at Sectionals in March. However, the only time we’ve had to work together is during public skate. If you’ve ever been to one of these sessions, you’ll know that it tends to get very crowded during the winter months.

Phil gave us an exercise to work on our death spiral element. Nobody had ever officially taught me how to get into the correct position and how to maintain it once I got there. I’d been trying (incorrectly) to do on my own, and unfortunately, I would descend too quickly and throw my partner off balance. Then we’d both end up on the ice.

The exercise we tried was solely for the female. My partner’s job was to hold me up and to keep us moving. This was designed to help me learn how to descend properly and maintain the edge needed to stay in control. The first time we tried this together, my partner pulled a muscle, and it took several weeks to heal.

This was only the second time we’d tried the exercise, and it didn’t go too badly:

My position actually looks legit, but as you can see, I’m struggling to get back up. I remembered watching an off-ice pairs training video (here) and needing to hit a sit spin position on the way up. When I tried that, I successfully got up! This was the first time it’s ever happened! The video below is the first time I’ve hit the correct position for the death spiral, AND the first time I’ve been able to stand back up on one foot!

I sent this video to Phil and he was very excited. In fact, he said that my position was “sharp” and that we were ready to graduate to a full death spiral. Send help!


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