World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.
How Can I Fix a Faulty Underpush?
Hi, Bill: Thank you for all you do for the skate world! ... Could you help me correct the rolling (turning) of my left ankle during the underpush? I know I need to improve my technique, but I'm not sure what to do.
I noticed in your cornering technique video (Go to video) that your daughter Nicole performs the underpush with her left leg straight and all four wheels on the ground (you can see this 56 seconds into the video).
On the other hand, your son Wayne rolls his ankle on the underpush (1:56 into the video). This is exactly how I do it. ... How do I go from a turned ankle to a fully extended push? Keim Bateman, Greensboro, NC
Hi, Keim: As you noticed in the video, Nicole's underpush is fully extended: all four of her wheels are on the ground, pushing. This is what all skaters should aspire to in both the straights and the corners. A fully extended underpush gives you extra power. But unfortunately, it's more the exception than the rule with skaters.
Here are two things to keep in mind:
1) Check your body position. It is impossible to achieve a fully extended underpush unless you maintain a low skating position with your butt tucked down.
2) Check your boots. Nicole likes her ankles locked in nice and tight, so there is no movement or deviation. But this is a easier said than done. Just when she gets comfortable with a new boot, it's life for her is almost over, as the material has started to lose its rigidity.
As for Wayne, his ankles tend to cave over a bit. In the video, he is pushing up into the banking of the track, which may explain part of the reason why his ankle looks rolled over. He also likes lower-cut boots, which don't provide as much ankle support. The boots he was wearing in the video were stock boots, rather than full customs, so that might also be a factor.
But nevertheless, take Nicole as your model. On the bank track her corners are among the best in the world.
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