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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Do I spin clockwise or counterclockwise?

    I'm beginning to worry about whether I spin clockwise or counterclockwise.

    Initially I was pretty certain I was turning counterclockwise, as forward crossovers were much easier that way. But backward crossovers are easier clockwise, and my left foot is better at back one foot glides (and was also with forward one foot glides). Someone said your landing foot should be the best one at back one foot glides, but if I rotate counterclockwise that will be my right foot.

    Two foot turns (fwd to bwd) were easier counterclockwise but now, when I slide one foot forward more in the turn, the clockwise ones are "prettier". Likewise, although forward crossovers were easier counterclockwise, forward progressives seem easier clockwise (although I'm never sure if this is because I can't really do crossovers clockwise and have to do progressives instead -- but aren't progressives supposed to be harder than crossovers?).

    I spin on two feet in the counterclockwise direction. But once I randomly tried spinning clockwise and, although the spin was shorter, it seemed "freer" somehow. But I'm not sure if that is because my counterclockwise spins are more powerful so I might be subconsciously digging in my blades due to fear. On my spinner at home I rotate pretty much equally well both ways for one foot/backspins.

    The few waltz jumps I've attempted (only for fun as I haven't actually learnt them yet) have all been counterclockwise and jumping certainly seems easier that way. Sometimes I randomly do off-ice jumps too, which rotate better counterclockwise. But the landings are better on the left foot.

    So now I'm confused.

    Now I'm so confused. Is this normal? Does a stronger left foot on forward glides indicate clockwise or counterclockwise rotation?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    I think the best predictor of which way you spin is.....which way you spin. Not which way you feel more comfortable travelling in anything else you do on the ice. Some skaters have a favourite direction for everything, and some feel more comfortable moving in one direction but turning or spinning in the other.

    Personally I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about it. I would just work on the spins in whichever way feels the most natural for you. Or if you can't decide, work on both, because spinning both ways is a very useful skill. Back in the day when I took learn-to-skate lessons, we were taught to do two foot spins, waltz jumps, and salchows in both directions, and I'm really glad I was forced to do that because it made working on other things in my non-natural direction much easier.
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    You don't seem sure about your preference, so you probably don't have an overwhelmingly strong side. Considering the PITA you would endure jumping and spinning in the opposite direction (having to do the mirror image of everything your coach says, skating against traffic on freestyle sessions, etc.) I'd go with counter-clockwise.

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    Totally agree with overedge. It sounds to me like your right leg is a little weaker than your left. Work your ankle and knee bend when you are just gliding on one foot, see where the pressure in your foot goes as you rise and fall, then compare it to your strong foot. Do they feel the same, and are you doing the same things on your right and left foot (or good and bad foot). Good luck.
    If that doesn't work just drink lots and lots of alchohol. You'll be spinning fine any direction in no time at all.
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


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    Thanks!

    I guess I'll just stop worrying. My coach (currently on vacation) thinks I probably rotate counterclockwise. I'm right handed.

    My right leg also has some mechanical weaknesses due to Osgood-Schlatters (sp?), which might be interfering in a way not related to the "handedness".

    I shall try everything both ways anyway. Any more advice is still appreciated.

    Thanks!

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    Unless you have very serious aspirations to multi-rev jumps, I'd recommend taking advantage of your natural ability to turn in both directions. Skating is excellent exercise for your body *and* your brain, so writing off half the workout just because that's what most competitive skaters have to do, would be a real shame. Plus nice turns in both directions make for much better footwork. There are almost always one or two clockwise skaters on th FS sessions at our rink, at every level, and they seem to have all figured each other out.

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    I always wondered if skaters can have a different rotation for different elements. I think I have a natural clockwise rotation, but for inside pirouettes, I'm counter-clockwise - which I believe is because I'm far more stable on my left leg than my right, and that overrides my rotation orientation. I imagine if I was a skater, I'd want to do axels counter-clockwise and all other jumps and spins clockwise - but it seems like that would really mess with program layout.
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    I've always been told that it's not so much if you're left-handed or right-handed but whether you are left or right eye dominate. Something that I find interesting is that even off ice your body has a preferred way to travel. You could try having someone call to you from behind when you are walking and ask them to make note of which direction you turn to acknowledge them (left or right; head or body). But be sure that it's at a moment you're not expecting them to do it, or you'll be thinking about it and controlling the movement. If it's more unexpected, your body will turn the way it would naturally.

    Just a thought.

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    I remember reading John Curry did jumps in the opposite direction to his spins. He had trouble getting his triples as a result. So I think when he went to Fassi he was told to jump the same way as he spun which fixed the problem. Or maybe it was the other way around.

    Anyway he ended up being someone who could spin both ways which worked to his advantage.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post
    I always wondered if skaters can have a different rotation for different elements. I think I have a natural clockwise rotation, but for inside pirouettes, I'm counter-clockwise - which I believe is because I'm far more stable on my left leg than my right, and that overrides my rotation orientation.
    That could be the case.

    When I was in high school, switching my focus from skating to ballet, I did better inside double pirouettes clockwise even though I spun counterclockwise on the ice. In my case I think the reason was that I had to focus more on the technique in that direction to make them happen, whereas with the CCW ones I'd be more tempted to put too much force into the arm movements and not enough control into staying straight over the supporting leg, expecting them to just turn like a spin on ice.

    I imagine if I was a skater, I'd want to do axels counter-clockwise and all other jumps and spins clockwise - but it seems like that would really mess with program layout.
    Sonja Henie did lutzes clockwise and axels (learned after she turned pro) counterclockwise. I haven't seen as many clips of her other jumps, all singles of course, but I think I saw her do at least one non-lutz jump clockwise. Her spins were counterclockwise.

    I don't think it would mess with program layout. If anything, it would be more likely to break up the constant circling in one direction with occasional circles in the opposite direction. Unless the lutz was the only jump you did differently.

    What it might mess with would be your ability to learn doubles (or triples, should you be so lucky), since you wouldn't consistently be reinforcing the rotational technique in the same direction.

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    I skated with someone who jumped in one direction and spun in another. She was a triple gold medalist, so it can be done!

    Yet, there's a group lesson student who is a switch-hitter, but she's not spectacular in either direction. I think that if she were to focus on one direction, she'd progress faster. I can do basic spins and a few small jumps in both directions, but my strongest jumps and spins are CCW. I have to think about it CW, but I can do the spins and jumps.

    For students, I use the "turn around and kick the glove" test on the ice, but if a skater turns more easily in one direction, I usually suggest that as their rotation. Strength and stability on one foot can be built up over time with practice and training. That natural turning direction is hard to overcome.

    What's odd is that older beginners who've self-taught spins usually turn in the direction opposite their natural rotation. It's a tough sell to convince someone to start from scratch. (Speaking from experience: I did the exact same thing, yet I really am a very good spinner CCW today.)

    People used to ding the ISI for requiring jumps in the opposite direction, but today's elite skaters do spins and jumps in both directions. Rohene Ward's laybacks/ back laybacks in both directions can put some Senior Ladies to shame.

    Handedness has nothing to do with natural turning direction. I have a student who is left-handed and she spins CCW. Just to be certain, I did some CW drills with her, but she really struggled. My twins skate in the complete opposite directions of what one might expect. The righty skates CW and the southpaw skates CCW. They can both "fake it" for waltz jumps and toe loops, but their spins don't come easily in the opposite direction.


    To the OP: I think you're a counterclockwise skater. The CCW forward crossovers make sense and the CW backward crossovers ARE the "windup" for a CCW spin entrance. Being more stable on the left foot while skating backwards makes sense, too: that's the foot you will keep on the ice for forward spins, which turn on the back inside edge of the left foot, CCW. I've never checked the right foot for a landing. Landings can be learned, but weak takeoffs are more difficult to overcome, so embrace your CCW'ness!

    Good luck!
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 01-05-2011 at 12:45 PM.

  12. #12
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    I'd like to back up the people who've said that handedness is irrelevant. Any time a topic like this comes up, there's enough anecdotal evidence from people who are right handed but spin & jump clockwise and vice versa that's it's fairly clear that the only thing that can be said for certain is that it's less common for people to spin and jump clockwise, regardless of the hand with which they write.

    Way back when I did Learn to Skate classes as a teenager, the instructor checked our spinning direction by having us skate forward, and then calling our name to see which way we turned to look back at him. Didn't work for me. I was put down for counter-clockwise. Jumping was fine, but I never learnt to spin. When I went back to skating as an adult, my coach got me to try spinning clockwise, and it was much easier, although I still struggle with spins in general. Can't jump clockwise though - either the latent muscle memory is just too strong, or I just naturally find jumping counter-clockwise easier, regardless of spinning direction. So I spin and jump in different directions - it's not an issue for me because I'm only skating for fun, but anyone wanting to compete would probably need to make a choice.
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  13. #13
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    I'm another rightie who spins clockwise. (I've never jumped except on the floor, but even there, clockwise feels more natural, as do dance spins.)

    My skating coach just had me do two-foot spins and see which direction wobbled less and felt more comfortable to me.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny_Hop View Post
    Thanks!
    My right leg also has some mechanical weaknesses due to Osgood-Schlatters (sp?), which might be interfering in a way not related to the "handedness".
    Sorry, I don't recall your age group, but if you have stopped growing, you should be able to gradually build up the strength in the leg affected by the O-S. My younger DD had it, and was given exercises by her orthopedist to keep her strength up, while reducing stress on the tibia tubercle.

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