Training Tip of the Month

Lucille Brawl

Skating Form

To skate Roller Derby to the best of your ability you have to work on your skating form. Often neglected in derby training, form is what will make you an efficient machine. Sure, every skater has her own style, but like an artist who first masters classical realism before her art turns abstract, a skater should train her body in classic speed skating form before moving on to her own style.

Think about trying to bend both your knees and your waist at a right angle so that your nose, knees and toes all stay lined up on the same vertical plane. Don’t just fold yourself in half at the waist and think you’re getting low – you have to bend your knees too in order to keep your center of gravity over your skates.  Just pretend you are squatting over the toilet at the nastiest punk bar in town. There!  You’re in the right position. Turn your chest towards the inside of the track and keep your left arm from swinging in front of your body. You’re fighting your own momentum when you let your arm swing in the opposite direction of your turn, so keep it behind your back or swinging straight ahead.

Okay, ready for a revelation? During crossovers, both legs are part of your power! Don’t just push out with your right leg and think you’re done, that left leg pushes under even harder. Because you are in a squat and not standing straight up, your legs can reach further out and you get more contact with the floor which equals more push and power. Try it in sneakers, stand straight up and move your leg to the side until your toe doesn’t touch the ground. Now do the same movement from a squatting position. Ah so! 

Finally: relax and breathe! You know how sometimes you’re wearing high heels that are uncomfortable and you find yourself walking like a guy trying on stilettos, all flat footed and clumsy? But then when you realize it you just relax and walk normally? Pretend you’re graceful and you will be!

Drill of the Month

D-Stroke and Cross & Hold on the Corners – The D-Stroke is a stride for the straight-aways to make you think about pushing out and not back. In a squatting position with your hands behind your back, push your leg out straight to the side (this is the straight back of the D) and then bring it around the back and place it next to your other foot. (Think about your toe drawing the rounded part of the D) Try pausing for a second when you’ve finished the straight out push with your foot off the ground – if you’re foot is behind your peripheral vision then you have pushed back more than to the side and wasted potential energy.

On the corners, do an initial crossover and then alternate holding your left foot under on one corner, and then your right leg out on the other side of the track. Try to get low, even touching the ground at the apex while holding each leg out.

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  • September 21st, 2010
  • blog, Training

One Comment

  1. Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Lucille, I love your tips to make these youngsters better skaters!
    I too believe that form is super important.
    From a Mama who has been skating since I was five, there is the piece about balance, like how important good land drills are and a stretching program is to loosening where you are too tight (injury Prevention).
    My favorite balancing drill is skating the other way, most good skaters find it awkward but super important for a balanced body and for longevity in the sport. Go Derby! Love Atomic Mom PT, LMT Cert A-P

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