This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
Skating folks have a wide variety of opinions. On the negative side,
it is indeed possible to do something like a spin on it, although it
doesn't really feel the same as doing it on the ice. The center of
this spinner is in the center of your foot. Also it doesn't replicate
the normal approach to the spin -- if you step onto it with any linear
momentum, you'll go flying off again. DON'T consider using it anywhere
near anything you can fall onto -- you will literally get tossed off
the spinner if you balance wrong.
On the positive side, spinning takes a lot of practice. One lesson
with even the best coach will not turn you into a good spinner. And
the skate spinner costs about as much as one lesson (including ice
time). Thus, if there is a realistic way of practicing spinning
without having to pay the hourly charge of ice time, it is a Good
The plastic spinner is one piece. The "rocker" bottom is pretty good,
but DON'T try it on a hardwood floor - if your weight shifts to the
back of the spinner for even an instant, the spinner will fly forwards
and you'll fly downwards! The spinner also works on carpet but wont
spin as fast. It can be a little hard to balance on, so if you're a
beginning spinner, it probably won't help you too much.
The metal spinner is two pieces - one steel plate sits on the ground,
and the other plate (steel but with rubber tread for traction - better
than slippery plastic!) which spins on top.
Here are a few exercises you can do on a spinner:
For Jump Landings: Stand on the spinner with landing leg, do NOT move
the spinner, hold landing position to count of 5, keep in mind
position, weight placement. KNEE OVER TOE.
Salchows: use the spinner for your 3 turn, jump off the spinner and
rotate, land as you normally would in a jump.
Loops: get into a loop position on the spinner, give yourself some
spin from the spinner, then jump off, rotate in the air and land.
SPINS: point of these exercises is not to increase your revolutions to
7 or even 10 times. It is to give you enough revolutions to help you
understand the feeling of your weight placement, your body position.
One Foot Spin and Scratch Spin: Very important to have your hips
square, start the spinner and maintain this position; you need to have
the free leg placed to the side and slightly in front of the spinning
foot. Push the spinner and feel the position of the hips and
shoulders. This one is tricky on the spinner, getting that first
push-off position is key to getting some revolutions
Backspins: are the easiest of the spins to do. Again hips should be
square, underneath the shoulders, feet directly parallel with one
another (side by side). Pull into your position. This one is important
to have as many straight, comfortable revolutions as you can. It will
teach you balance, keeping your back straight and your free leg