Thursday, March 3, 2011

Walk This Way
 on skates

 

* walk

So right in the middle of saying that walking means you always have one foot on the ground, I realized there's a stage before you walk when you have wheels on, viz., always having two feet on the ground. So okay, being in skates isn't exactly like being in shoes. You don't have to pick up your feet in skates, and you still go forward. Just by picking up your feet, you're going to pick up some speed. No worries, I think people tend to fall when they're thinking skate fast! But if you just tell them "just walk," they stay pretty stable and they go faster.

* power walk

Swing your arms, and you'll pick up some more speed. And also, swinging your arms keeps you balanced.

* power walk with a spring in your step

Same as in shoes, just slightly spring off your back foot as you step forward with your other foot. There's such a thing as a skating stride, but don't think about that right now. It's really just like walking, how your weight transfers from foot to foot to foot.

* run

And now spring off that back foot enough to get yourself a little bit airborne. Don't even worry that you're in skates, just run like you just did in shoes. Do your wheels feel like they're rolling too much? I mean they're wheels, they roll. As long as you're in control. Here's something to think about, you can roll a wheel and you can stop a wheel. You stop by pushing across the wheel. That's how you stop, right? That's also how you control your roll, with just the smallest signals from your feet. Which are beyond me to explain, but I suggest getting to know your plow stop from 0 to 100 and all the degrees in between.

* run and leap forward

Add a little more force to your spring and turn your running step into a leaping step. Run three steps and leap forward, run three steps and leap forward... you do have to plant your foot to jump safely, and it's the same as above: the push has to go across the wheel. So now you may notice that setting your foot at a forty-five degree angle makes for a pretty stable jumping off point.

* run and leap sideways

Just for fun, run three steps and leap sideways! For a sideways leap, you may actually be pushing ninety degrees or perpendicular to your wheel.

And now let's work our way down:

* run and leap forward

Just like in shoes, you have a fly leg and a spring leg for jumping. It's all about weight transfer. So if you have your weight on your fly leg, you won't be able to jump. You would never try that in shoes, but it's confusing at first on skates for some reason.

* run

Running on skates is no big deal, right?

* power walk with a spring in your step

If you just need a little bit of pickup, you could do this.

* power walk

This pace, actually, is important if you get on the wrong end of a runaway and don't want to race but also still need to look like you're not slowing down and destroying the pack.

* walk

Make this your resting pace. It's actually less tiring than eight on the floor, because it's more natural and relaxed.

And now, tuck—navel in, tailbone down, knees and ankles folded as low as you can—and do it all over again. It's not just about good posture, getting properly low is what gives you power. A compressed leg has more stored energy than an extended leg, right? So on the one hand you're going to be faster and harder hitting, and on the other hand you're going to be harder to knock down...

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