Thursday, March 31, 2011

Agility 5

One minute each in counterskate direction, then one minute each in skatewise direction:

* swizzle

For swizzles, you push your toes out and then pull them back in drawing an hourglass figure with your feet. Ideally you will want to accomplish this by applying foot and ankle pressure to your inside edges; but for starters, you can apply this pressure by pushing down with your body (bend your knees) when your toes go out and pulling up your body (straighten your knees) when your toes come in.

* slalom

For slaloms, you point your toes to the right and then to the left drawing an S figure with your feet. As with swizzles, you will ideally accomplish this by applying foot and ankle pressure to the edges that are on the inside of the curve; but for starters, you can apply this pressure by pushing down with your body (bend your knees) with more weight on your right side when you enter the right curve and pulling up your body (straighten your knees) when you exit the curve, then pushing down with your body (bend your knees) with more weight on your left side when you enter the left curve and pulling up your body (straighten your knees) when you exit the curve.

* shuffle

This is a series of lateral steps across the width of the track. Remember that you spring with one leg and fly with the other leg, and you fly with the leg that's on the side that you're stepping to. So when you're going left, you spring with the right and fly with the left. When you're going right, you spring with the left and fly with the right.

Also remember to apply pressure outward, across your wheels, and not forward. This will have a braking action that will keep you from rolling forward, allowing you to move as laterally as possible. If you have ten foot lines taped on your track, try to shuffle straight across the lines. You may not be able to do this, and will likely travel at some diagonal. The more you control your roll, the shallower this diagonal will get until you are able to shuffle horizontally across the track.

* plow stop

Plow stops are sort of like hard swizzles. But instead of pushing your toes out, you apply pressure, as above, outward and across your wheels. If you apply it evenly across both feet, you have a two foot plow stop. I find it easier to put my weight on my left foot/leg/hip and push my right foot out; it takes enough weight off my right foot so that I can actually push it across the floor as a brake.

* hockey stop

Hockey stops are like hard slaloms. I like to skate up to the corners of the ten foot lines and slalom sharply back into the track. Do everything that you do for slaloms, but as sharply as possible: point your toes sharply out and then in, put your weight on edges on the inside of the curve. Which means that you are actually leaning slightly—it may feel dangerously— back. You will know that you're getting close when your wheels make that errt! braking sound.

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