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Thread: Counter Clockwise rotation vs. Clockwise rotation

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    Adiós Melon's Avatar
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    Counter Clockwise rotation vs. Clockwise rotation

    I've always been wondering about this ever since I watched figure skating.
    I know majority of skaters rotate counter clockwise when they are executing their jumps, and there are few who executes clockwise.

    What's the reason for them to turn clockwise?
    Are certain jumps easier/harder when doing clockwise (compared to counter clockwise)?
    I know there are skaters like Caro, Wagner, and Weir who turns clockwise. Which skaters in the past, (before CoP era) turned clockwise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melon View Post
    I've always been wondering about this ever since I watched figure skating.
    I know majority of skaters rotate counter clockwise when they are executing their jumps, and there are few who executes clockwise.

    What's the reason for them to turn clockwise?
    Are certain jumps easier/harder when doing clockwise (compared to counter clockwise)?
    I know there are skaters like Caro, Wagner, and Weir who turns clockwise. Which skaters in the past, (before CoP era) turned clockwise?
    I believe it's a right hand left hand thing. It's what is natural to them.

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    Counter Clockwise rotation vs. Clockwise rotation

    That is also what I had heard. People who are right handed, typically wink with their right eye, kick with their right foot, etc. The right side of your body is controlled by the left side of your brain (and vice-versa). If your right foot/leg is dominant, it would be logical to spin counter-clockwise when you kick up to perform an Axel jump etc.

    However, there could be exceptions. During the commentary for the "Ice Princess" movie, Hayden Panettiere mentioned she learned to perform a basic Axel jump spinning counter-clockwise. However the double they eventually hired spun clockwise. Hayden complained she had to re-learn the jump spinning clock-wise, because the double was too good of a body-type match to pass-up as her double.
    Last edited by rvi5; 02-18-2013 at 02:52 AM.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melon View Post
    I know there are skaters like Caro, Wagner, and Weir who turns clockwise. Which skaters in the past, (before CoP era) turned clockwise?
    Others have explained why some skaters are clockwise jumpers - it's just what comes naturally. Note that both Kostner and Weir are originally 6.0 skaters and competed under the old system at the senior level

    Rudy Galindo, Todd Eldredge and Sarah Hughes are all clockwise jumpers. I got that from this old thread.

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    It's like right-/left-handedness, but there's little correlation between being left-handed and rotating clockwise (the two rarer types). Most skaters seem to think it has to do with either leg, foot, or eye dominance, but there hasn't been a large-enough study done to determine what exactly determines rotation direction.

    Just as some people can be more ambidexterous than others, some skaters can be pretty successful practicing jumps and spins in their non-dominant direction. Here's Rohene Ward doing a clockwise double axel followed by a counter-clockwise double axel. http://youtu.be/sAdIn-NFKhc?t=2m1s

    Skate America 2011 had a rare all-clockwise podium in Ladies (Alissa Czisny, Carolina Kostner, Viktoria Helgesson). I can't remember any other competition where this has happened.


    Have there been any top Russian skaters who rotate clockwise? I can't really think of any and always imagined that the federation/top coaches had little interest in developing clockwise skaters and simply left them to drop out of the system. In countries like the USA where private $$$ drives skating, coaches have a lot more incentive to encourage all skaters to figure out their dominant direction and continue.

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    In 1996, Rudi Galindo was US champion with Todd Eldredge coming second - also two clockwise skaters on the Podium.
    I, too, turn clockwise (and I'm right-handed) and have been interested in scientificly exploring that phenomenon. I'd like to see some reliable studies on the propotion of clockwise skaters (and not just skaters, but people in general who prefer the clockwise direction), and how this coincides with other issues like chirality or mathematical skills, artistic ambitions...

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    Custom Title figuristka's Avatar
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    Seems to be more skaters from North America or European non Russian who are clockwise jumpers such as Wagner, Osmond, Kostner etc. Iam left handed but jumped the most common way counter clockwise so its not just to do with your dominate hand. It must have to do with leg,or foot dominace too or just what comes more natural. I don't believe a jump would be easier either way its rotated as would take off the same way. When we do compulsory dances they are always performed counter clockwise in the pattern.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Though neither Russians nor 6.0 skaters, I just had to point out that we have a clockwise pair competing these days - Lawrence/Swiegers.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    AFAIR, weren't Orscher & Lucash clockwise jumpers (former US pair champs?). And Tiffany Vise is clockwise, which is why she has been twice in a mirror pair.

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    Outdated Old Dinosaur
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    There was a Soviet/Russian pair in the early-mid 90's (my memory these days... sigh) who did back to back SBS single axels in the FP. Not impressive, unless you consider that the first set spun one way, and the second spun the other.

    I always thought that was a nifty move, but it never got much mention from commentators...

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    I can't see how it would matter to a singles skater, but in pairs I can see that it makes a pair less harmonious to watch. I can think of two pairs who were opposites: Kristi and Rudy (he's already been mentioned) and I think Jill Watson/Peter Oppegard. Watson/Oppegard paired up later, so their early training wasn't together. But didn't Kristi and Rudy start together as a pair? Both of these pairs did well internationally for an American pair, but I can't recall any clock/counter international gold medalists. Can anyone else?

    I don't skate, but I'm definitely more comfortable pivoting on my right leg, which means I'm clockwise. Man, do I have to do everything the contrary way round. I'm left-handed, but I see that this isn't a necessary corollary of being clockwise. (Hi! How do you do? I'm Olympia, and I'm clockwise.)

    Are we saying that a clock/counter pair can't win in CoP?

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melon View Post
    What's the reason for them to turn clockwise?
    Because when they were learning the basics for 2 foot spins in learn to skate, the instructor probably said close your eyes and try and "spin" (ie rotate around in a full circle that eventually becomes a two foot spin) and they rotated clockwise. The instructor usually has them close their eyes when they do that little exercise to allow the kids to automatically determine "comfort direction" instead of peer pressure of everyone going to same way.

    There are some people who originally learn to jump/spin one way and have an injury and relearn the other.

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    Counter Clockwise rotation vs. Clockwise rotation

    Sometimes while out skiing, I will fool around while gliding forward on flat ground by spinning on my skiis. Although I am right handed, I will spin clockwise. I rotate my upper body/shoulders, and the lower body with the skiis follow.

    I am not a skater, but if I were, I suspect I would prefer to kick up with my right leg (Axel), jump up off my dominant right leg (Toe jumps etc.) and spin counter-clockwise. This would likely give me more power, and feel more comfortable. I think I would also prefer to land on my dominant right leg for better control.

    It appears my spinning would likely be unrelated to my jump spin direction.

    ETA: However, spinning on skates may be completely different than on skiis. On skates, I may want to kick around into the spin with my dominant right leg for spin power, thus rotating counter-clockwise. On skiis, you can't kick, and must use upper body rotation to achieve the spin.
    Last edited by rvi5; 02-18-2013 at 10:53 AM.

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    Outdated Old Dinosaur
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    My personal preference is for pairs that jump/spin the same direction, although I thought Kristie/Rudy had some innovative moves. On another thread I mentioned that their pair spiral into mirror 2Axels may be my favorite pairs move ever.

    I would think that these couples would be at a disadvantage on skills like pairs spins or death spirals because one of the partners is rotating in an "against the grain" direction. I suppose the man's natural spin direction would carry the day on most lifts, wouldn't it take some getting used to on the part of the lady?

    I wonder if any ice dance teams are composed of opposite skaters...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TontoK View Post
    There was a Soviet/Russian pair in the early-mid 90's (my memory these days... sigh) who did back to back SBS single axels in the FP. Not impressive, unless you consider that the first set spun one way, and the second spun the other.

    I always thought that was a nifty move, but it never got much mention from commentators...
    Oh, that sounds wonderful! I hope you think of who it was, so we can hunt them up on YouTube. I always loved that John Curry did some pretty substantial spins in both directions, and Michelle Kwan used to spin in both directions as well.

    As for Rohene Ward, I was always so distressed that (a) he never made it very far in eligible competition and (b) he missed the great years of pro skating. Some of his abilities are mindboggling. He could do a double axel in both directions? Wow. That is truly wizardly.

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