How to Master Spinning on Ice Skates

A Figure Skater Performs a Spin on Ice Skates
A Figure Skater Performs a Spin on Ice Skates. Photodisc / Photodisc Collection / Getty Images

Once you've mastered the basics of ice skating, you're ready to try something more challenging like spinning. Perfecting the spin is essential for any figure skater, but learning how to do it will take time and patience. The best way is to begin by perfecting a two-foot spin, then progressing to a one-foot spin. Here's how to get started.

How To Spin on Two Skates

Spinning is an advanced figure-skating technique and definitely not for the beginner.

You should already be able to skate forwards and backward and know how to stop. Before you start, you'll want to make sure you've taken the time to warm up. If this is your first time practicing, start with a two-foot spin. If you're right-handed, you'll spin toward the left; if you're a lefty, you'll spin to the right.

  1. Begin in the pivot position. Your arms should be extended at your sides.

  2. Push off. Plant the teeth of your left skate into the ice and push off with your right.

  3. Pull in. Bring your arms in, crossing them across your chest as you pull your right leg in and begin the spin.

  4. Spin for a few rotations. The tighter you pull into the spin, the quicker you will rotate. Go slowly at first.

  5. Exit the spin. As you slow down, gently pull out of the rotation by shifting your weight to your right leg. This will allow you to pivot out of the spin, glide backward, and stop.

How to Spin on One Skate

The technique for a one-foot spin is similar, but you'll already be gliding forward on one foot when you start to pull into a spin.

  1. Push off. Get some momentum and begin gliding on one foot. 
  2. Shift your weight. As with a two-foot spin, you'll pivot on your left leg if you're right-handed. Keep your weight centered on the ball of the foot.
  3. Next, lift up one foot. Gradually lift your right leg as you pull into the turn. Extend the leg slightly backward, then forward as you gain momentum.

  1. Raise your right knee until your leg is bent at a 45-degree angle and bring your arms into your chest. The tighter the tuck, the faster you'll spin. Don’t forget to keep your elbows up.

  2. To exit, extend your right leg down and extend your left. You will be skating backward as you do this. Remember to keep your head up to maintain balance.

You may get dizzy while spinning. To prevent vertigo, focus on a stationary object as you exit the spin.

Tips to Remember

The most important thing to remember is that learning how to figure skate takes time and patience. Here are some things to bear in mind as you master the spin.

  1. Practice makes perfect. Most rinks have open-skate sessions where you can practice on your own, or you can work with a private skating coach.
  2. Don't rush. Allow yourself a minimum of one hour per practice session. Practicing advanced techniques like spinning requires at least three sessions per week.
  3. Get the gear. If you're skilled enough to execute a spin, you'll probably want to invest in some pro-grade figure skates that will give you proper support and control. Expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars.
  4. Warm up before each practice session and cool down after.
  5. Go to the gym. Advanced figure skating techniques like spinning on one leg require considerable core body strength. Cardio exercise is important, too.