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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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Jan. 19, 2011

Is a Good Side Push Required to Learn Double Push Technique?

QHi, Bill: I am an amateur skater with, I think, a reasonable double push. I put a lot of force into the underpush. What I like to say is that "a good outpush sets up the underpush." I find that if my outpush is strong and extends well through all wheels, I am able to land well on my underpushing foot and can get a strong, stable underpush. Does that sound right to you? - Mike Borofsky

Hi, Mike: It’s hard to gauge your underpush without seeing you skate, but it sounds like you’re on the right track. As you say, a good “outpush” — push to the side — helps set up the underpush.

A good regular push involves fully extending your leg to the side with all your wheels in touch with the road at the end of your stroke. If your legs don’t extend fully, your arms can’t extend fully —  and that cuts your underpush short.

To understand this, think of someone marching. Their arms and legs work in unison.

The same thing goes for skating. As they say, if you swing your arms, your legs will follow.

With the double push, it’s important to transfer your body weight over the rolling support leg. The underpushing foot comes across on the outside wheel edges to a point under — or beyond — the opposite shoulder.

A lot of beginning double-pushers set their skates down outside the line of the body and drag them across their direction of travel. This is an easy mistake to make if you are skating without the guidance of a good coach.

Proper body position is another thing to monitor carefully as you develop your double push. Make sure:

  • your knees are pushed forward so they are over your toes;
  • your hips are over your ankles;
  • and your butt is down (like you are sitting).

In this position, your trunk should be at an angle of 90 to 105 degrees to the ground.

You’ve got to be in the low skating position to reap the speed benefits of the double push.

Cheers, Bill

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