World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.
Deciphering the Double Push
Hi, Bill: Would you please explain the mechanics of the double push? Where exactly do the first and second pushes occur? - Thanks, Ray from Singapore
Hi, Ray: As I'm sure you've heard, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is essentially what drives the double push, which is similar to the motion of a scissors.
In the double push, you land on your outside edge with your wheels touching down on the outside of your centerline, not directly under it. (In the case of your right skate, you land to the right of your centerline.)
As you place your foot down, your opposite foot is finishing its regular push and starts looping around behind in preparation for its setdown. This motion, in conjunction with your arm swing, shifts your body weight in the direction of your support leg and drives your support foot underneath your body. This movement beneath you is the underpush.
As you underpush, your wheels cross your centerline. Some expert skaters push their wheels all the way past the line of their opposite shoulders.
The underpush is the first push. After you finish it, you drive your foot to the outside of your body. This is the regular push.
The best way to learn double push is to draft behind a skater who can do it correctly. In other words, not a skater who does a cheat version. You can tell skaters who do it correctly by watching their setdown. If they land on an outside edge and place the foot down outside the centerline of the body, they are doing it right.
How to Win the Battle With New Boots?
Hi, Bill: I am breaking in a new pair of custom speed boots ... or are they breaking me in? I've got the frame pretty well adjusted. But I continue to get little cuts above the outside of my ankle bones. I've been told this is due to pronation. However, I am more prone to supination and am convinced that my setdown is usually solidly on an outside edge. I feel the cuts, mostly, on the out-stroke of my double push and barely feel it with the classic stroke. Might I be pronating on the out-stroke or are these cuts just part of the breaking-in process? - Mike Borofsky
Hi, Mike: What you are describing is a common problem with new boots. For starters, make sure you are adequately tightening your laces and buckles. Keeping your boots snug will prevent your feet from flopping around and thus reduce rubbing.
Some skaters end up placing extra padding around the cuffs. Others find that skin lubricants, like Vaseline or Nivea, help. You might also try wearing two pairs of thin socks.
Is Moving the Frame to the Inside a Good Idea?
Dear Bill: Could you please explain the lateral frame adjustment and how it facilitates skating on the outside edge? - DV of St. Petersburg, FL
Hi, DV: The front of the frame is moved to the inside a bit to make it easier for recreational skaters to get on an outside edge. For skaters past the beginners stage, it's a quick fix. It can give skaters a false sense of competence. But it's basically a cheat and no substitute for learning how to transfer body weight correctly while looping your trailing foot behind you.
(originally published August 6, 2007)
Copyright © 2007 by Inline Planet