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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 11, 2011

To Veer or Not To Veer?

QHello, Coach: Many skaters here in India have their feet pointing slightly outward during the the glide phase of their stroke (after the setdown). I am wondering whether this is natural or whether the foot should be pointing straight ahead during the glide phase. Thank you for all your good advice. - Tony in Chennai, India

Hi, Tony from Chennai. There’s no consensus yet on the issue of veering. Some top skaters keep their feet relatively straight during the glide phase. Others veer their feet to the outside.

Mathematically, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So veering to the side would not seem like a good idea.

But skaters who veer are often the ones who fully transfer their weight over their support leg. And that is a good idea. So it’s a bit of a trade off.

My daughter, Nicole, is one of the skaters who veers. But she also fully transfers her weight on each stroke. As a result, she gets as much roll as any other skater — and more than most at cruising speed.

I wish I could give you an up or down answer. But the jury is still out on this one.

One thing for sure, though: there are more important factors in top end speed than the direction of the skate at setdown.

Cheers, Bill

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