Skating Fridays

Jump and Spin seminar from a famous Ukranian coach

Last week, I had the honor of attending a jump and spin seminar from a famous Ukranian coach at our rink. He coached an Olympic gold medalist and happens to teach at our rink. I have said hi to him a few times, but he and I never really had a conversation.

I had no idea what to expect at this seminar. Would we work on standard jumps and spins? Would someone demonstrate and then we’d copy them? Whatever the format was, I was excited because this would be my first time working with him.

There were around 25 skaters on the ice, and they ranged from moderate beginners to elite skaters (at the intermediate and junior ladies and novice men levels). I was one of two adults. Naturally, the two of us stuck together.

Ukranian coach gave us some warmup exercises to try down the rink. The first ones seemed simple enough: backwards swizzle, backwards swizzle, hop to right back inside edge, hop to left back inside edge. OK, I got this. Then things got progressively harder. He had us try the same exercise but add on same-foot salchows going into a regular salchow. Then he got crazy and added backwards three turns into forward power pulls followed by a waltz jump or axel.

Now came the spins. He gave us some very difficult spin entry exercises, and none of the skaters (not even the elite skaters) could do most of these. One of the most challenging entries was from a standard crossover windup – except you started off with the windup from “the other direction.” So, I would do the spin windup that a normal counterclockwise spinner would do (right over left backwards crossovers). But, instead of stepping into the spin, I would hold the backwards crossover edge, extend my (left) free foot behind me, and then try to whip the free leg around directly into a sit spin. This entry was nearly impossible.

He had a few other entrances that were equally as difficult. Of all the spins we tried, I actually managed to do 2 of them. And of the 15-20 various exercises we did in the hour-long class, I am proud to say that I was able to correctly execute about 5 of them. Not bad for an adult skater, right?

All in all, it was a fun hour, and the time went by very quickly. I’m not sure when I’ll get to interact with the Ukranian coach in this capacity again, but at least now I can say that I learned from a coach whose skater won the Olympic gold medal!

This would count as a “sit-behind” position if I could get fully down into the sit position


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