Between a party, a heavy practice session, and getting back into bicycling, everything hurt today. So I focused on how to shape my hands while doing horizontal spins. In my explorations, I found two basic positions that feel natural and minimize on hand strain. What I came up with is what you see on the left. The curl of my hands is “bent” to shift the cane from the pointer finger to the thumb. The pinky and the ring fingers work in conjunction with the thumb to push the outer end of the cane towards the center of the body. The pointer finger is used with the palm to pull the outer end of the cane away from the center of the body. And the middle finger acts as a pivot. As you can tell, the first picture is the hand in the pull position. The pinky and the ring fingers could be completely straight, and you could still pull the cane away from your center. In practice, you’re more likely to have your hand bent like so. That way, you just have to move your arm to move the cane into the right plane. The cane will be nestled on your hand by those little fingers. And if you toss the cane from hand to hand, they’ll help you trap the cane while catching it. No need to close your hand either. Just let it land and move with the cane if it wants to slide.
Let’s say you want to push the cane back into center. Your hand might look something like this. The bent thumb makes it easier to get that thumb out of the way. And the pinky is ready to curl in to assist. Thumb management is very important when spinning a cane. I can’t tell you how many times I fumbled a move because my thumb got in the way. So I’m always working on tucking the thumb down against to avoid getting my cane caught up in it.
Let’s take one more look at the pull position. It’s not all that far from the push position. If you keep your thumb open, it’s the difference between laying the outer end of the cane on the pointer finger and resting it on the thumb, as I do in this last picture. Based on this first study of hand positions for horizontal cane spinning, it’s possible that I may tighten up the difference between the two so that the difference between them becomes imperceptible over time. Then again, switching between the positions is a good way to get the cane spinning. So perhaps it won’t work out that way.
Only time will tell.