Skating Fridays

Brian Orser and Doug Haw Clinic – Part 1

Eva with Brian Orser

This week, my home club hosted two superstar coaches – Doug Haw and Brian Orser. Mr. Haw is the highest certified coach in North America attaining his Master Rating in Figures, Free Skating and Moves in the Field with the Professional Skaters Association in the USA and his NCCP Level 5 in Canada (of only 10 in the country). He trained both Brian Orser and Kurt Browning. Fun fact – he trained my former coach, so my technique comes indirectly from him.

Brian Orser needs no introduction. We all know him as the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Silver Medalist, and he led both Yuna Kim and Yuzuru Hanyu to Olympic Gold. His current students include Javier Fernandez, Evgenia Medvedeva, Jason Brown and Gabrielle Daleman, among many others.

I was fortunate enough to qualify to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime seminar. Initially, only kid skaters with a consistent axel were invited, but one of the coaches got me an exception (they eventually opened the clinic up to skaters working on an axel).

Brian Orser seminar group

The seminar was broken into 3 groups by skating ability. I was in the lowest level group and the oldest by 20-30 years. (I’m not kidding!) We started with off-ice warmups, and then we went on the ice for our jump clinic. We worked on various twizzles that pertained to jump entries. Brian taught us 3 types of twizzles – one for salchow, one for toe loop, and one for loop.

Then we went off and tried a single loop. From there, we graduated to loop/loop, and then loop/loop/loop. Finally, they asked us to try Lo/2Lo, and then Lo/Lo/2Lo. I had a few really good attempts and was slightly underrotated on a few of them. Super exciting!

Then we had more off-ice, a break, lunch, and then spins. We worked on backspins – making sure that we moved our big muscles first as we pulled in for the rotation. The main focus was to make sure that we did not bring our arms in at the same time as our legs. Mr. Haw showed us this video of the backspin entry he wanted us to try. He called it, “tick, tock, T-position.”

After backspins, we worked on camel spins. The trick to this is getting a “mitten crunch,” where you put a mitten in between your thigh and hip. You have to be able to go into a camel spin like that and hold it for several revolutions. Thankfully, my former coach taught me this exercise several years back so I was already familiar with it and could do it successfully.

Once the spin session was done, we went to do a warm-down with Pilates. All the kids complained about being sore afterwards but thankfully I was OK.

Stick around next week for Part 2!


  1. June 22, 2019 / 4:23 pm

    OMG!!! Love that picture of you and the incredible skating god! What a treasured memory!

    • evabakes
      June 22, 2019 / 7:39 pm

      It was amazing having him at our rink!! I will always remember this seminar!

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