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Ask Bill Begg!

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World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.

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May 13, 2009

Should I Learn Double Push?

QHello, Bill: How important is double push and how widely is it used by skaters in the pro packs. In other words, do you need double push if you want to go fast? Thank you, Benoit from Ottawa

Hi, Benoit: Several years ago, popular opinion had it that if you couldn't do full-on double push, a la Chad Hedrick, you had no chance of keeping up in long races, particularly WIC marathons. So double push became a must-have technique for inline speed.

Clinics promised to teach it, and several double-push videos and DVDs appeared. Some of the advice that came out was worse than useless.

Some self-proclaimed "experts" taught customers a cheat version of double push that instructed students to place their wheels on the ground outside the line of their bodies (not within the width of their shoulders), then to drag their feet back under from the outside. This did nothing more than waste energy.

Since then, the dust has settled. Several refined versions of double push have appeared. And today, double push is widely used among the pro packs. A nice, flowing version of it helps skaters maintain higher cruising speed. But nonetheless, when it comes time to sprint, double push usually gets left behind.

Whatever you do, don't focus on double push to the detriment of other parts of your technique. I think more of Chad's speed came from his high back leg lift and his hip thrust driving his legs forward.

Double push used to be a good way to get skaters on the outside edges of their wheels. But now with bigger wheels, particularly the 110s, skaters seem to find their edges more easily.

Another thing to keep in mind is the Q-angle factor, which makes double-pushing more difficult for women. (The Q-angle measures the alignment of the pelvis, leg and ankle. It is usually about 3 degrees wider for women.) Nonetheless, women can — and do — develop double push. (The best female double-pusher I have seen is Eri Marina Yo of Indonesia.)

The best way to learn double push is to concentrate on the six basic steps for skating in a straight line outdoors. If you learn these steps, you will develop a version of double push naturally.

Cheers, Bill

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