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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.

Find out more about Bill Begg and his column.

Dec 22, 2010

How to Transition to Big Wheels

QHi, Bill: I just bought new Luigino Attitude skates with 110mm wheels. What is the best way to make the transition from my current 80mm fitness skates? Thank you for your advice. - Anthony, 11th grade, Killeen High School

Hi, Anthony: Going from 80mm to 110mm wheels is a big jump, but certainly doable. In fact, thousands of skaters have made the transition in the last several years.

The main thing to do is spend lots of time in your new skates. This will help you adjust to the different balance points and extra weight of the 110mm wheels.

Also, check to make sure you are taking advantage of the greatly increased roll of big wheels. This can be tricky at first. It may seem like the big wheels are more work than your smaller wheels. But once you hook into the increased roll, you’ll be flying.

If you aren't noticing the increased roll, you may have a problem with your technique. In that case, make sure your stroke includes a full cycle of movements, from the push to the side to the recovery. To polish your stroke, follow the steps in my “Six Keys to Speed” column. Remember, your skates should work for you, not the other way around.

Another thing the big wheels will force you to do is refine your crossover technique. Because of their increased size, you will have to lift your skates higher. To keep this movement efficient, lift your knee first, bringing your foot directly under the center of the body. This will allow you to get a full four-wheel crossover push, rather than a toe-push. To polish your crossover technique, practice the Kick the Football drill, which is outlined here.

One of the best ways to speed your transition to big wheels is to learn from someone who knows how. Find a world class skater — they are all on big wheels — and try to follow him or her. By mimicking their movements, you’ll master your big wheels in no time.

Cheers, Bill

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