By Francisco Ramirez
How to learn to do perfect crossover turns
Ever wonder why indoor skaters generally do well in outdoor races?
One reason is crossover turns.
Indoor skaters train on roller rinks that are so small that straightaways are almost nonexistent. On a standard indoor track, fast skaters barely have time for two regular strides before the next turn.
As a result, indoor skaters get very good at crossovers. And this makes a big difference when they race outdoors, where they often encounter 180-degree turnarounds at the halfway point and 90-degree corners before the finish line.
But crossovers aren't just for racers. They are basic tool for every kind of skater. They help us maneuver, avoid obstacles and maintain momentum.
Besides that, they're fun.
Here's a series of drills I use to help my skaters develop and polish their crossover technique:
1) Find your outside edges.
Your outside wheel edges are the ones facing away from your body. To get on them, keep your ankle firm and bring your skate directly under the centerline of your body. This points your foot inward (toward the opposite foot) and puts your weight on the outside of your foot.
2) Find your inside edges.
Most new skaters are on their inside edges all the time. They are the ones facing toward the center of your body. To get on your inside edges, push your wheels out to the side of your body.
3) Practice moving from your inside edges to your outside edges.
Push both of your skates out to the side. This puts you on your inside wheel edges.
Then bring your skates back together. This puts you on your outside edges. Don't lift your wheels from the ground.
4) Correct your body position.
Stand with your left shoulder about 10 inches from a wall. Then drop your body into the wall, hips first.
Your left foot should be on its outside edge; your right foot, on your inside edge. This is the correct body position for cornering.
5) Push with your right leg only.
Assume the skating position: knees bent; nose over your left knee.
Push out with your right foot. Then bring your right foot back without lifting it from the ground.
Repeat for 30 seconds, skating in a small circle.
6) Practice crossing with cones.
Line up 10 cones 2 to 4 feet apart. Stand with your left skate next to the first cone. Ben your knees. Step over the cone with your right foot, crossing directly over the laces of your left skate.
Check your position. Stay in the crossover position for one second. Then push with your right leg to bring your left foot to a position next to the second cone. Repeat.
7) Cross while rolling.
Put one cone in the middle of a turn. Rolling, crossover with your right foot and land on the inside of the cone. As you become more comfortable with the drill, add another cone.
Francisco Ramirez is a speed skater and coach based in Hackettstown, NJ. He started on quads in his native Colombia and won a junior national championship, on inlines, in 1995. A week later, he immigrated to the United States, where he opened his first of several small businesses. He has been a member of the High Gear, Unity and Canariam speed teams. Currently, he manages K2-Empire Speed and coaches Excel Speed.
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