Presented by

This week's column:

Six Simple Steps to Straight Line Speed

No. 6: High back leg lift and knee drive

Nov 30, 2011




Leg lift when sprinting on skates

Francisco Ramirez lifts his back foot high as he sprints home in the Northshore Inline Marathon.

photo: Ron Morella/K2 Empire Speed

Ask the Coach!

When sprinting at top speed, pay extra attention to what your foot does after it finishes its push. It should lift and extend back until your shin is at least parallel to the ground.

Some top sprinters, including Berenice Moreno and Joey Mantia, raise their recovery foot even higher (about 5 percent higher than most others.).

The high back leg lift positions your knee well behind the knee of your support leg.

Once you are in this position, use your hip muscles to thrust your recovery knee forward. And keep your trailing leg parallel to the ground — at least until your recovery knee is even with your support knee.

Your knee drive should continue for 0.15 to 0.20 seconds.

This active drive-through is part of the technique of all top sprinters. In the sprinting of the great Italian champions Valentino Belloni and Ippolito Sanfratello, it was particularly extended.

Final word: As you work through the Six Steps to Straight Line Speed, always remember to make your skates work for you, not the other way around. Think of your wheels as paid servants. And let them roll.

Cheers, Bill

Ask Bill Begg!

Skating's top coach answers your

World renowned coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating in his weekly advice column, "Ask Bill Begg!" ... Every Wednesday on the Inline Planet.