Skate like a girl

Tuesday night is free skate night at Whitcliffe. Well, it was.

Yesterday was another quiet session, I think there were perhaps ten of us there. The cost of the hall when shared by so few makes it quite expensive. It seems that from now the recommended mid-week opportunity to roll will be Midweek Masterclass. This is the session organised by Leeds Roller Dolls.

To be fair, this might not be a bad thing. The larger the pool of skaters that you practice with, the larger the pool of training and techniques you experience. Our trainer, Gillie, skates with the Banditas. She will pass on what she’s learnt. The Skateful Dead also welcome Banditas to our training sessions. In practising with them we will learn their skills. If we practice with LRD skaters then we are potentially exposing ourselves to variations in technique. It’s all good!

Anyway. I’m still non-contact in practice. I had a list of things that I wanted to work on. I continue to work on my weak side for transitions, t-stops and cross-overs. I believe it’s important to be able to perform these fluidly. There will be situations on track where, for instance, you need to transition to your weaker side. My aim is to improve so that I don’t have a weaker side. It will take time.

I also did loads of work on my sprint start on toe stops. This needs commitment – kind of “oh shit! I’m about to fall on my face!” commitment. It’s a damn good way to accelerate though, and an important skill to have. I think I got up to about four strides last night. By then I was moving pretty fast :-)

I also spent some time helping Kelly with her transitions. Well, I hope she found it useful! When I did the ICP qualification one of the techniques that we used when teaching new skills was to break the skill down into it’s component parts. Geeky yes, but I find it useful.

I also continued to work on my plough stop. Over the past few months I have asked various people how to do them. I have never had a satisfactory answer. Well, I’ve never had an answer that I have considered was detailed enough. “Make and A frame and point your toes in” is apparent enough. I can do that and roll for ages! “Push through your hips”, “Pretend you’re having a poo”. I’ve not found those helpful. Sorry! Then whilst I was kicking around at practice on Sunday I found what I hope might be the answer. I was rolling backwards, just slowly, then doing a gentle backwards plough stop. The stop was achieved with my inside toe wheels; that’s where my weight was! It follows then that I need to get my weight through my inside heel wheels when rolling forwards. I worked on this last night and it seemed to be an improvement. I also found that an asymmetric stop worked better – leading with my right foot – as always.

At the end of the session, as I was getting changed, I overheard two of the girls talking. They were watching a few guys at the other end of the hall practising plough stop. “It makes me laugh watching men try to plough stop. Women can do it better because of our hips.”

Oh to skate like a girl! :-)