This week's tip:
Learn this skate position to find the ease of rolling
By Trish Alexander
Photo: Trish Alexander
You can usually spot new skaters. They are the ones teetering from side to side and foot to foot, like gingerbread men.
Skate instructors have a word for their body position: the wicket, named for the straight-sided hoops used in croquet.
Skating in the wicket is stiff and clumsy. It’s less like rolling and more like walking.
Most skaters grow out of this phase on their own. If they don’t, they often get frustrated and quit.
But rather than leaving it to chance, I’ve found a shortcut to help my students leave the wicket on the croquet court, where it belongs. I teach the “7,” which is the correct skating position.
Start with the wicket
The way to learn the “7” is to start by getting familiar with the wicket.
You can do this in your street shoes. Just stand up and start walking with stiff legs, like Frankenstein.
This is the wicket.
Notice that your feet are spread apart and your legs form an upside-down “V”.
Time for the "7"
Now try the “7”. It’s a little more complicated so I will number the steps for you.
1) Stand with your feet together and your knees bent.
2) Shift your weight to one foot (whichever one you like.)
3) Lift your other foot off the ground and bring it back behind the other.
4) Touch the toe of your back foot to the ground.
That is all there is to it.
Your waist forms the top of the “7”. Your front leg forms the stem.
If you stand in front of a mirror while you do this, you will see that your front leg forms a diagonal line, like the stem of a “7”.
Next, do some walking in the “7” position, placing your back foot directly in front of the other, as though you were walking on a tightrope.
Now, try both positions — the wicket and the “7” — with your skates on. Start on a carpet or lawn. That way you won’t roll out of control.
Then move to the pavement.
Practice until you can switch quickly between the wicket and the “7”. And remember to keep your knees bent.
You will love what the “7” does for your skating. It will enhance your balance and control and give you the foundation to build a powerful push.
It will also clean up the look of your skating. Once you learn it, people will say you look like a pro.
Trish Alexander is the head of the Skate IA and director of the Skate Journey Skate School in Bellevue, WA. She started ice skating as a child and was a competitive figure skater as a pre-teen. She started inline skating in 1994 and began teaching two years later. She is certified to teach Level I, Level II, Master Fitness, Blade Fitness and Fitness Inline Marathon Training. In a former life, she was a paralegal and private detective.
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