By Francisco Ramirez
How to swing your arms when you're going around a corner.
For people like me (and I know there are lots of you out there) who started skating outdoors, arm swing when you're going around a corner (especially indoors) can be a challenge. In fact, you might find that instead of helping you, it tends to pull you to the outside.
Last year with the help of a great coach (and friend) Pieter Dykstra, I learned the secret of how to use your arms to power your way around the corners. (See video, above, featuring one of my team skaters, Nicole Bischoff.)
Here's what you do for a left turn, which is the only kind of turn you do indoors. (Reverse for righthand turns.)
As you go into a turn, keep your left arm as close to the body as possible, swinging your lower arm from the elbow, not the shoulder. Keep your arm relaxed and swing all the way to your nose — just about — without crossing the center line of your body.
The right arm is a different story. As with the left, you keep it as close to the body as possible and it stays at a 90-degree angle throughout the swing. But this time, swing from the shoulder, NOT THE ELBOW and keep your right hand, which starts and finishes on your right hip, open and relaxed.
Thanks to Pieter, I now teach this technique to all my skaters. It makes a big difference in their speed and control on the corners.
Francisco Ramirez is a speed skater and coach based in Hackettstown, NJ. He started skating in his native Colombia on quads and won a junior national championship, on inlines, in 1995. A week later, he immigrated to the United States, where he opened his first of several small businesses. He has been a member of the High Gear, Unity and Canariam speed teams. Currently, he manages K2-Empire Speed and coaches Excel Speed, an indoor team based in Hackettown, NJ.
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