By Kathy McSparran
The Grass Stop ... Video Skate Tip
One of the challenges of inline skating is avoiding collisions with children, dogs and other unpredictable aliens. Good braking skills usually do the trick. But sometimes, the only way out is getting off the trail.
If you're fortunate enough to be on a grass-lined path, you're in luck. You can usually come to a safe stop using the Grass Stop.
The key to the Grass Stop is keeping your upper body from pitching forward when the grass grabs your skates.
To learn the Grass Stop, find yourself a nice piece of pavement with a smooth transition to grass. (Avoid wet grass, soggy ground and Marmaduke's minefields!)
The mantra for the Grass Stop is: bend, scissor and down-and-back.
The first thing you do is bend your knees, pressing your shins forward into the tongues of your skates. This lowers your center of gravity.
Next, scissor your feet, pushing one ahead of the other. (You can lead with which ever foot one feels more comfortable.) This gives you a longer wheel base for greater stability. Don't try to line your feet up, one right out in front of the other. That would hinder your balance and reduce stability.
Finally, shift your weight down and back over your trailing skate. Let your lead skate act like an outrigger. (Tall skaters, especially, will find it necessary to crouch low to keep from pitching forward when they hit the grass.)
As you transition from pavement to grass, keep your core (abdominal) muscles tight. This will help you keep your weight back over your trailing foot. If you are in the right position, you should be able to roll to a stop without running.
Once you get the hang of the Grass Stop, try it at greater speeds. See how far you can roll in the grass and practice swerving into the grass from both the right and left sides.
You'll find that the Grass Stop technique also comes in handy when you are rolling on rough pavement or over debris.
So take the time to learn it. You never know what the trail gods will throw at you and you've got to be ready.
Kathy McSparran is director of the Phoenix Inline skate school and writes the Inline Planet's Skate Coach column. She holds five IISA teaching certifications: Level 1 (Beginners & Advanced Beginners), Level 2 (Intermediates & Advanced Intermediates), BladeFitnessTM, Freestyle Dance and Fitness Inline Trainer.
Copyright © 2007 by Robert Burnson