World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.
How Do I Get Used to Low-Cut Boots?
Hi, Bill: I have skated inline marathons on mid-cuff inline skates for five years. But recently, I purchased low-cuff skates, and I find that wearing them, I feel a little wobbly and my feet and ankles get sore. Do you have any training tips or exercises to help with the transition to low-cuff skates? - Kevin in Chippewa Falls, WI
Hi, Kevin: For starters, make sure that your skates fit properly. Low-cut boots must fit snuggly. Otherwise, they don’t provide enough support.
If your boots are heat moldable, make sure you’ve done a good job molding them. In particular, make sure they fit nice and snug around your ankle and Achilles tendon (back of the foot).
Another thing you might consider is wearing a pair of ankle booties like the ones from Ezeefit Sports. These neoprene booties provide some extra ankle support and also take up some of the slack, if there is any, in your boots.
If the boots aren’t the problem, you may need to strengthen your ankles. One good way to do this is by balancing on a wobble board. As you may know, wobble boards are short, unstable platforms that you stand on.
Spend a few minutes a day on a wobble board and learn to shift your weight forward and back and side to side. Start with both feet on the board. Then do the exercise with one foot lifted off the board. Also practice eyes open and eyes closed.
Using a wobble board strengthens ankles and improves balance, so it’s doubly helpful for skaters.
Another thing that usually helps skaters transition to low-cut boots is to focus on technique. Remember to skate in a low position with your butt down and your knees over ankles when sprinting.
Finally, be patient. The transition to low-cut boots is not easy. Give it some time.
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