How To Start Skating
Part ll: Taking Your First Strides

(By Robert "Still Learning to Crawl" Burnson)

Evolution is really not as great as it's cracked up to be. Look at us! Two ... three million years trudging around on two feet -- and (can you believe it!) we still haven't sprouted wheels! ... What's the hold up? ... Well, in this second half of How to Start Skating, you are going to bypass a couple billion years of evolution and experience what it is like to roll on wheels. ... Just remember to keep your knees bent! (You have finished Part 1 of the tutorial, haven't you!)

Here's what we're gonna do ...

1. Pavement Hunting. ... Find yourself a nice, flat, smooth patch of pavement with a lawn beside it. A sidewalk will do. So will an empty parking lot. (Driveways are usually a bad choice because they often slope toward the street.) Whatever you settle on make sure it is FLAT! Any slope at all and this could be a very short lesson.

2. Gear Up. ... Sit on the lawn next to the pavement and put on your protective gear (Yes, all of it!) and your skates.

3. More Gumby. ... With your skates on, walk around on your skates a little more, just like you did in the last lesson. Do this until you feel comfortable on your skates.

4. Assume the Position. ... Now it is time to learn the so-called ready position. It's very easy. Just stand with your knees bent and your hands in front of your body. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees enough so that you see your knee pads, not your skates, when you look down. .. You should feel very balanced and stable.

5. The V-stance. ... Now bring the heels of your skates together and point the toes outward to form a "V". This is the V-stance.

6. The A-stance Now spread your legs again so your feet are shoulder-width or more apart. This is the A-stance. (When you start learning to turn, you will use this position. But you don't have to worry about it now.)

7. Get Ready. ... You're still on the grass, aren't you? ... Good. Now walk to the edge of the pavement and get into the V-stance.

8. One Small Step For Man ... Take one step forward (moving whatever foot you like) onto the pavement. Keep the toe of the foot pointed outward. Then bring the other foot forward and place it next to the first foot, keeping your feet in the V-stance.

9. One Giant Step for ... This next step is the grand evolutionary step because once both lines of wheels touch the ground walking is history and you will experience walklessness, also known as rolling. ... So go ahead, take a step, keeping your toes pointed outward. You will glide a little bit on your wheels. (Don't be afraid. This is the future. Remember.) Do NOT stand up straight. That could make you fall backwards. Instead, remembwer to keep your knees bent and your hands in front of your body.

10. Another Step. ... Try another step, remembering to keep your toes pointed out.

11. Keep Going! ... You are now doing what skate instructors call the duck walk. But it is really nothing like a duck walk. Because as you've noticed, each time you take a step, you glide. And the only time a duck glides is when it splashes down on a pond.

12. Have Fun! Practice the duck walk for awhile. It is the basic stroke of inline skating. Everything else is derivative. ... When you've had enough, get back to the lawn, sit down and take your skates off. ... Congratulations! You've just catapulted a few billions years of evolution! ... Now as soon as you learn how to brake, you'll be ready to hit the trail!

Tip: The easiest way to learn how to inline skate is to take a lesson.

What You'll Need

• A flat sidewalk or parking lot, preferably with a lawn beside it

• inline skates

• protective gear


Copyright 2006 by Robert Burnson

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