Question: I was working on the drill you teach for spins that focuses on 1/4 turns, 1/2 turns, 3/4 turns, and then full turns. I seem to do okay with the 1/4 turns, but the 1/2 turns and above have me desperately seeking more balance. I cannot seem to find where the momentum should come from for the preparation to do a 1/2 turn without wobbling. My questions are:

Where in the right foot should my weight be when I make these turns?
Should it be equally distributed through the entire right foot?

I find it really difficult to turn when my heel is on the ground but I still find myself using the heel to complete the turns. Is that wrong? 

Answer: I outlined a few pointers that you could keep in mind while doing the exercises.  Remember to go through each exercise with a focus on proper execution before you continue to the next exercise.

Weight placement:

  • Your weight should be on the ball of your right foot (for right axis spins) so you can create an axis for your spins.  
  • The more your weight is equally distributed through your entire foot, the less of an axis you have and the harder you will find it to spin.
  • Avoid putting weight into your heels during your spin. It’s a bad habit and you could injure yourself if you’re wearing high-heeled shoes.

Through all of the drills, you want to maintain the same body position.  Whether you are doing 1/4 rotations or a full rotation, you want to make sure that:

  • You have your weight on the ball of your right foot.
  • Your right foot establishes an axis directly under your body.
  • Your left foot is not so far from your axis foot that your weight is shifted between both feet
  • Your left foot also shouldn’t be so close to your axis foot that it cannot create a rotation in your preparation.
  • You want to try and keep your body moving as a compact unit so keep your left foot slightly in front and to the left of your right foot.
  • Your arms should be engaged and at rib cage level, just below your chest.
  • Your hands are energized and not flopping around like a dead fish.
  • Your body is not leaning in any direction.
  • Your lats are pulling down to ground the body and to support the arms.
  • Your legs are slightly bent to ground you, provide balance, and make minor adjustments to maintain your equilibrium.
  • Your head is looking straight ahead. (Looking down or up, even with your eyes, requires a lot more control to keep your body from falling out of equilibrium
  • Try to find a point of focus to spot for your rotations and spins for clarity of movement.

As for the preparation for your spin:

  • The momentum comes from your entire body shifting to the left and pushing off an imaginary rubber wall, not just your left foot pushing off the floor.  
  • Your shoulders should be in line with your hips. If you can feel your oblique muscles (sides of your abdominal muscles) stretching then you are probably over rotating your upper body.

You want your body to be comfortable but always moving as one single unit.  That single unit should be intact from the prep, to the spin, to the exit out of the spin.  The more conscious you are of your body (posture, alignment, balance, arms, feet, legs, etc), the easier it will be for you to find that centered solid unit.