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Ask Bill Begg!

Skating's top coach answers your questions

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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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June 24, 2009

Why Is My Son Pronating?

QGood day, Bill: My 9-year-old son, who plays a lot of hockey, has a problem with his ankles. He rolls them over when he skates, which makes his blades taper away from his body. I thought his ankles would get stronger with age and this would correct the problem. But there's been no change over the last two years. A few people at the rink advised me to get ankle supports to fit inside his skates. But I haven't tried that yet. Instead, I've been wrapping his ankles with lots of tape, which seems to help. Is there something else I should try? Thanks, Perry Payne

Hi, Perry: Kids are sometimes so flexible that their limbs flop around like jelly, which could explain what's going on with your son. However, without seeing him, I can't say for sure what's causing his apparent pronation.

There are several possibilities. One thing to check is his boots. Are they too big or too soft? If so, they may not be providing him with enough ankle support.

Wheel wear could also be the problem. Take a look at his wheels. Are they worn or tapered on one side? Wheels that are tapered on the inside can cause pronation. To avoid this problem, be sure his wheels are rotated regularly. (I had a coach telling me the other day about how he taught this famous skater and that one. Then I looked at his wheels — they were tapered — and I thought, How can he teach others, when he has not even taught himself?)

Another thing to check are your son's frames. Misaligned frames — especially frames pushed to the outside of the foot — can cause pronation. (See the frame alignment chart from last week's column.)

And while you're looking at his frames, make sure they are not bent (or shimmed) to one side or the other. Frames pointed to the outside can also cause pronation.

If the problem isn't with his equipment, you might try fitting him with ankle supports to wear while skating. In Switzerland, skaters with weak ankles often use Easy Fit Ankle Supports (not to be confused with Ezeefit Ankle Booties).

Best of luck.

Cheers, Bill

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