What Are The Typical Bad Habits?

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What Are The Typical Bad Habits?

Postby fcohen on Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:35 pm

I've been skating since about 1995 on inline skates. I've never taken a lesson. So my bad habits are probably pretty good. Of course, I don't know what they are!

The first time I was video taped during a down-hill race skiing clinic, I saw a dozen things I was doing wrong.

What are the typical bad habits for inline skaters and what do you recommend?

-Frank
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Postby SpeedyGapper on Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:49 am

Hey Frank,

I'm sure Kathy have a list that will be more complete, and maybe she can elaborate on some of the ones that I can think of below and what you could do about them...

Here's a few from the top of my head:

    - skating too upright (not bending upper body slightly lower to be a bit more forward)

    - upper body move to face one side to the other too much, or bob up and down (beginners)

    - not bending the knees (straight-legged) while body is hanging forward too far, sapping a lot of energy!

    - Pushes are weak because Knees are not bend...

    - toe-flicking or toe-out (not pushing evenly on all 4 or 5 wheels of your skates) -- See Article from Barry: http://www.fasst.com/articles/2003may/2003may-ask.htm

    - pushing to the back instead of to the side

    - skating with knees & feet too wide apart ("A-Framing", or lack of recovery of the free skate inwards and not far enough... no power to the pushes because skate not under weight of body)

    - nose/knee/toes alignment not observed (not weight transfer enough, or weight not directly over skate)

    - set down too soon, strides too quick overall (not using weight transfer to help delay setdown, to let the fall of the body to help lengthen the push)

    - glide too short (before pushing off again - so one ended up stepping instead of skating!)

    - recovery skate pull in too quickly...

    - arm swings wrong, too much, or too exaggerated...

    - lazy foot/skates when tired - skates pronating (inwards)

    - setdown or skating on inside edges too much (idealy you want to setdown with your body weight directly over your skates on a slight outside edge, and then roll your supporting skate inward on your skate edge before pushing off again - advanced technique for speed skating to get more speed)

    See Article by Barry regarding Pronation and Inside Edge: http://inlineottawa.com/content/tips/br ... ate_16.php

That's all I can think of for now that are classic technique specific...

Good luck in training for your upcoming 50K race in October!

(I'm sure if you can identify some of the bad habits that you may have in the above list and correct them before the race -- you could be skating more efficiently and will have a better experience and finishing time!)

-Gapper :)

PS. Eddy Matzger's Skate Primer on Techniques is a good place to check or review often, to see if you got habits that are cultivated towards better, more balanced, and stronger inline skating:

http://www.skatecentral.com/custom/arti ... #technique
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Postby SpeedyGapper on Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:42 pm

    Here is a Video Demonstration of good classic inline technique and habits:

    Image

    Note: the above is more of the ice speed skating technique style adapted for inline...

    A lot more people actually learn the Eddy Matzger's 5-Step Style that requires active weight transfer and "Fall" instead:

    Image

    This style is more upright and relaxed as far as upper body position is concern... although one can skate the Ice style at the same 45 degree upper body angle as well...

    Learning either style could make your classic general style skating more efficient and develop some good inline skating habits instead, and to replace the bad ones!

    TECHNICAL "Mumble-Jumbo" NOTE: the biggest differences between the "Ice" and "5-Step" style is that in the Ice style, the upper body is still and body weight always on top of the support skate, only the pushing and recovering skate moves... whereas the "5-Step" approach uses weight transfer and delay setdowns to take advantage of hip and shoulders power to create propulsion momentum and leverage gravity to help out.
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"Typical" bad habits

Postby SkateCoach on Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:18 am

Wow, Speedy - Great thorough and helpful reply!

Obviously "typical" bad habits for beginners and someone who's been skating for 11 years are going to be very different!

I'd say the most common and most power-robbing mistake an experienced skater who has had no formal training would be making is likely to be the infamous "toe flickie" push. (In other words, "not pushing through the heel.) So I'll start there. Virtually every skater does this until it is "trained" out of them.

If your toe wheel wears faster than your other wheels, you're guilty of being a toe-flicker. The good news is fixing this will make a big difference in your speed and efficiency.

My favorite way to drive the toe-flicking demons from a skater's body - so he can be Saved! (Everyone say "Hallelujah!") - is with half swizzles.

First, warm up with some two-foot swizzles. Note: Swizzles are when you propel yourself forward while keeping both feet on the ground and pushing them out away from each other into a wide stance and then drawing them back towards each other into a narrow stance, and repeating.

Make sure you're bending your knees while your feet are close together so you can use your powerful quadriceps muscles in the push. The motion should be a smooth blending of down, out, up; down, out, up. If you're just going in and out, in and out, with no "down," you're leaving out the knee bend and missing all the power.

Okay, as long as you're able to propel yourself along without losing momentum, even on a slight uphill, you're ready to go to the next step: half swizzles.

A half swizzle is when you glide on one foot (the support leg) while the other leg (the action leg) performs its half of the swizzling motion. Start out by doing repeated half swizzles with one foot. Because you are not lifting your foot off the ground, you can't do a toe-flick at the end of your stride. Also, again because the recovery takes place on the ground, you will be forced to begin to turn your toe slightly inwards towards the line of travel at the end of the push, which forces you to push through your heel. Try it and concentrate on feeling the power coming through the heel - imagine a bolt of lightning traveling down your leg and out the heel.

Of course the next step is to switch legs and repeat on the other side so you stay symetrical.

Finally, perform alternating half-swizzles: right, left, right, left, etc. Feel yourself pushing through your heel on each push.

You'll probably notice you're pushing closer to straight out to the side now, instead of diagonally back, an added side-benefit to this exercise, but that's another topic, maybe for later.

Meanwhile, getting back to exorcizing the toe-flickie demons, it's now time to go back to a regular stride where you can lift your feet off the ground at the end of each push. However, your goal is to keep the feeling of pushing through your heel instead of going back to the devilish toe-flickie pushes!

If it helps you understand why this makes a difference, imagine you're standing in front of a burning building and there are kids inside in need of rescue, but the door is locked. Are you going to kick that door in with your toes or with your heel? With your heel, or course! Why? Because you'll get much more power that way.

The same is true of your skating stride. The force created by your strong glutes and quads is transmitted directly through your heel with no power loss. But if your relatively small calf muscle tries to help out the big guys, all it can do is point you toe at the end of the stride causing a weak toe flicking effect. At even a moderate speed, you cannot flick your toe back fast enough to even match the speed at which your foot is rolling along the ground, thus it is actually dragging on the ground (hence the wheel wear!) Worse, your floppy ankle is now absorbing and wasting some of the larger muscles' power

If anyone has some videos or links to videos showing the contrast between a toe-flicking stride and a heel-push stride, or even swizzles and half-swizzles, please share them with us here! My audio-visual department (Super-hubby Pete) is rather tied up these days with his work at Arizona State University and the whole back-to-school thing so it will be a while before I can get out and film anything.

And if toe flicking is not your particular "sin," please feel free to let me know if there's another common error from Speedy's list that you need some help fixing.
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Re: "Typical" bad habits

Postby SpeedyGapper on Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:29 am

SkateCoach wrote:... If anyone has some videos or links to videos showing the contrast between a toe-flicking stride and a heel-push stride, or even swizzles and half-swizzles, please share them with us here! ...

    The happy skaters in this inline club's Sunday Skate are guilty of "toeing-out", as well as "toeing-down" on their push-offs, some are guilty of both ...

    See if some of you can play the game of "identify in which video time segment who is doing what kind of toe-flickie infractions..." from this Short Video Clip here ...

    "Toe Flickie" especially for the girl in Blue top, the girl in white top, and the bigger guy in grey t-shirt in this Video Clip of a small group skate in Toronto... I think the other stronger skaters and the Skate Patrol dude is doing okay in their pushes...

    The guy in this Video Clip seems to be pushing off reasonably on his heel, not perfect (IMO, what do you think Kathy? He PASSes the test, right?)...

    I think being able to tell if someone else or yourself is doing a "toe-flickie" is a great start, while at the same time take Kathy's great advice and in depth drills above and practice to exorcise the "Toe-Flickie" demons from your inline skating!

    Have FUN! :)

    PS. Here is a FUN Video of Eddy's Skate Farm, where many of the "Typical Not So Good Habits" from my short list above are demonstrated by the happy skaters here... but between 2:31 to 2:34, and 2:42 to 2:45, two nice close-up views of proper heel push offs for a change! (Under Eddy's close watch of course...)
Last edited by SpeedyGapper on Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby SpeedyGapper on Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:26 am

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Terrific advice, thanks

Postby fcohen on Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:01 pm

Thanks for the replies. This is a lot for me to take in. I appreciate your response.

I'm going to have my son video tape me to show off my bad habits. I'll post it here. Thanks.

-Frank
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Re: What Are The Typical Bad Habits?

Postby Sno Crash on Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:15 pm

Wouldn't general overall fitness also be a major contributor to bad habits? Myself, I'm getting back into skating after about 6 years off, and have also fallen out of shape. I'm finding that my bad habits while skating are caused by weak leg muscles, weak back muscles, and overall lack of cardio fitness. So while I'm getting back in shape, I'm trying to keep my skating sessions short and focused so I don't start compensating for pain/discomfort and develop some weird skating posture. Hopefully as I get in better shape I can skate longer and longer.

Any good exercises or drills that anyone can recommend doing that would help build strength and reinforce the correct techniques?
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Re: "Typical" bad habits

Postby vanbo on Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:01 pm

SkateCoach wrote:Wow, Speedy - Great thorough and helpful reply!


it's now time to go back to a regular stride where you can lift your feet off the ground at the end of each push. However, your goal is to keep the feeling of pushing through your heel instead of going back to the devilish toe-flickie pushes!



I started skating about 6 months ago (no previous experience, unless you count a few weekends 25 years ago at 'The Skate Barn'), and I've found that I naturally do these half-swizzles you describe... my skates never leave the ground. So, I am pushing through my heels (rear wheels wear much faster than front wheels), but I don't know how to transition to a 'regular stride'. It feels very awkward and off-balance to lift my skate after pushing, and bring it around in a half circle on the recovery... so I 'scoop' it around the front (like I'm going to be doing a crossover) with hardly any weight on it (and mostly on the heel) while I glide on the skate under me.

Any tips for fixing this? It took me a while to get this symetrical, as I spent the first 3-4 months in roller rinks (live in Wisconsin, so outdoor wasn't an option until summer), so developed some very bad turning-left-all-the-time habits (still can't do crossovers on right-hand turns, for example).
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Re: What Are The Typical Bad Habits?

Postby Jim White on Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:07 pm

One option is to come to the Wisconsin class on August 23 in Watertown. This is a standard Rollerblade class; the instructor was certified by SkateCoach herself! That same instructor will be available for one-on-one including at the Chicago Marathon this weekend and St. Paul next weekend.

Another option is to just skate, you'll gradually, naturally, transition to a style that's right for you.
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Re: What Are The Typical Bad Habits?

Postby SkateCoach on Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:34 am

I agree with Jim White - when you've been skating for a while and you need help fixing a specific problem, the fastest route to a solution is to have a good instructor or coach watch you and customize the feedback, "homework" drills, etc. to get you to where you want to be.

Since I can't see your current stride, all I can add is that if you can't join the Wisconsin class or otherwise connect with a certified instructor, you could solve this particular skating problem the old fashioned way, which would be to go through all the steps to learning a regular stride (where you lift your feet off the ground at the end of each push) as if you were a beginner all over again. It won't take you long because you already have your balance and confidence, but you do need to spend enough time on each exercise so that the new stride starts to feel as comfortable or more comfortable than the old one.

Feel free to post a video here if you like and I or one of the other helpful folks here can offer some more specific feedback.
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Re: What Are The Typical Bad Habits?

Postby Gradskater on Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:31 am

I would only reiterate that balance is key. balance balance balance. You have to be able to hold your edges on one skate. Its difficult to harness the energy of the fall and get your knees together if you don't have good one leg balance. One leg balance drills should make up a significant part of your technique drills.
search "gradskater" on bonttv or youtube
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