By Renee Hildebrand
I often hear skaters talk about double push as if it were the "secret sauce" of inline skating. But don't be fooled. The real secret of skating is the development of proper technique, based on the regular push.
While I do give my skaters drills for double push, my emphasis is helping them develop straightaway stroke, or normal push. If you master this basic stroke, you will often develop double push naturally.
The basis of proper technique is learning to shift your weight completely from one leg to the other while in the skating position.
You can learn this by practicing the following four drills. Practice the drills first wearing your gym shoes. Then switch to your skates; first, standing still, next rolling along slowly, then going faster, and finally, jumping from one foot to the other.
Erin Jackson, USA Jr World bronze medalist (500 m track), demonstrates Drill 1.
Get in the skating position. (Renee's earlier tip about the skating position.) Put one foot out as if stroking to the side and put all of your weight over the support foot.
It is important that you line up your head, chest, hip, knee and ankle and keep your shoulders square and your head up.
Shift your weight from one leg to the other while remaining in the skating position.
Once you master this wearing your shoes, practice on skates.
In order to weight-shift properly, you must be able to balance on each leg in the skating position.
Jesus Guererro, Guatamalan Jr. World Team member, demonstrates Drill 1 on skates.
Stand (later skate) on one foot with your ankle in an upright and locked position. Keep your support knee bent and balance your weight over your foot.
Position your other foot behind the support leg. (Initially, you can use it for balance by dragging your toe behind on the ground.) Keep your shoulders square and your arms close to your body to maintain balance.
The next two drills are done skating on a long straightaway.
Drill 3 - Boot Taps
Skate in a straight line.
Push one leg to the side, then the other.
Touch boots together when the skates come back to the center.
Drill 4 - Toe Taps
Jesus Guererro, Guatamalan Jr. World Team member, demonstrates Drill 1 on his outside edge.
This is the same as Boot Taps, except that you tap the toe of your return skate on the support leg after each stroke. This forces you to shift all your weight off the return leg.
When you master these drills, do them on your outside edges. (What are outside edges?) This simulates actual straightaway strokes.
The most advanced weight-shift drill is done in combination with an explosive jump from one leg to the other while skating down the straightaway. It is only for very experienced skaters.
Renee Hildebrand is head coach of Team Florida of Skateworld in Tampa, Florida. Among her protégés are world champions Joey Mantia and Brittany Bowe (both pictured, right) and the junior Belgian champ Bart Swings.
Copyright © 2008 Inline Planet