At Last

I bought a pair of inline skates at last.. Hooray~~ *wakakakaka* Still dunno how 2 bring back.. But at least, I’m happy!! =P

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Friday, February 2, 2007. Favourite, Inline Skates, Skate, Sports, work hard PLAY Hard. 3 comments.

The Skating Mistakes

Top Ten Gumbie Skating Mistakes

Here’s a list of the top ten mistakes I see most often as a skate instructor, why I think they’re not a good thing to do, and how to fix them.

What’s a Gumbie?

This is a phrase that’s become common in the London skating scene, and generally refers to new skaters who don’t yet have much in the way of skating skills. Many of the points below would likely apply to a gumbie skater, although of course I’ve seen some experienced skaters make these mistakes too.

This is of course not quite like The Gumbie, the famous GumbieBEN who isn’t a gumbie skater at all since he’s pretty good.

1) Knees not together

This is one of the biggest signs of the new skater – skating whilst not getting your knees together between each stride. It’s very important to do this for stride efficiency and to improve one-foot balance. Eddy Matzger’s favourite description is to think of your left knee as a girlfriend, and your right knee as a boyfriend, and make sure they kissy-kissy long and hard between every stride. At first you might only be able to get your knees close together, but not touching. After some practice that should improve to making the touch for every stride, and eventually you’ll be able to keep your knees together for a little longer still, separating them at the last possible moment before setting down.

2) Pronation/supination

Many beginners pronate, which means rolling your ankles to the inside, leaving your skates on an inside edge when standing with your skates shoulder distance or less apart, for example. Supination is the reverse, when your skates would be on an outside edge.

The goal for most skating is to have the frame and wheels of your skates always stay aligned with your shins. That way they can take the maximum force you generate without flexing, and the chances are your edging during your skating stride will be correct and efficient.

3) No practice

If you want to get better, have smoother technique, and improve as a skater, you’re going to have to practice, and lots of it. All those amazing skaters you see out and about probably also started out skating feeling wobbly and not able to do much other than just stand up. The difference is that they’ve put in thousands and thousands of hours working tirelessly on their drills and skills.

To me this is the joy and beauty of skating, it’s a never-ending challenge that means there’s always something new to get better at and improve yourself. Make sure you don’t get bored or practice so much that you hate it as that’s a sure way to leave skating. I find it great fun to do all kinds of different stuff. My main skating fun is training and skating marathons, but every now and then I have a huge bunch of fun doing other stuff, such as playing inline hockey, going for a mad street skate, roller disco, or maybe trying a new freestyle trick. It’s all great fun, and it all helps improve your skills.

4) Choosing unsuitable locations

This is especially important when first learning to skate. You need a smooth, flat area with little or no traffic where you can practice safely. Anything with even a slight slope will be terrifying if you don’t know how to stop properly. (Here’s a heelbrake tutorial). Rough surfaces are often a nightmare to beginner skaters, and traffic or too many spectators can take lots of fun out of the experience.

Don’t skate down that hill if you’ve never done it before and you don’t know how to stop down hills. You’ll almost certainly crash and might injure yourself, even seriously.

5) Toe flicking/pushing through toes/not pushing sideways

I see many skaters making these mistakes, and yes, I’ve made some of them too. If you want to go fast efficiently, push through the heel, push forwards, and carve away.

6) Practicing more on the good side

We are all asymmetrical to a greater or lesser degree, so having a bad side is completely normal, and it can feel so much more rewarding to work on the good side for a turn or a t-stop, for example. This is misleading though – I believe you won’t ever become a good and balanced skater unless you can do every move almost as well on your bad side.

Think of the importance of being able to turn well in both directions – one day this could avoid a serious accident. What about fitness skating? It’s not very effective at all to skate along with a big, powerful push on your good side let down by a weak ineffective push on the other.

7) Looking down at your skates

Many people tend to look down at their skates. This is a really bad habit that should be broken right away. Looking up gives you better balance, and it helps develop your sense of proprioception (or your knowledge of your body’s position in space based on feedback from your muscles, tendons, and joints). When you understand your own body position in space better, you are much more able to correct your own skating mistakes and will learn a little more quickly as a result.

Another important point is that you get to see what’s coming and avoid accidents. I regularly have to call out to skaters coming the other way in Hyde Park in London simply because they’re looking down.

8) Buying cheap skates instead of good skates

Buying a cheap pair of skates to “see if you like skating” is a pretty good way of guaranteeing that you won’t have a good time. I see so many students who’ve done this and it can be very hard having to tell them that they need to spend more and get skates that will be usable. I’d much rather you bought a decent pair of skates and didn’t spend any money on lessons with me, you’re more likely to become a long term member of the skating community.

A good alternative is to hire skates for the day. Many shops will even give you the price of hiring back if you buy new skates from them within the week.

If you compare cycling and skating, equipment cost is negligible for skating. Take a look at this inline skate buying guide if you’re thinking about buying skates.

9) Not bending your knees enough

Nearly everyone doesn’t bend their knees enough at some point, but this is a particular problem for beginners. It’s also the main cause of the “Windmill of Death”, or wild swinging of the arms as the new skater falls over backwards.

Bend your knees so that if you stood face to a wall, your toes, knees, and your nose would all touch the wall, not including the thickness of any protective gear or your skates. This is the minimum amount of knee bend you should ever have when wearing skates, and should result in a significant forward lean on your shins, plus a fair amount of pressure where the front of your shin presses into the skate cuff. This might cause your thighs to start aching a little after a while, but if you skate regularly then your legs will quickly adapt.

There are a couple of other good reasons to bend your knees – when you fall, at least you’re already closer to the ground so the reduced falling distance means less pain. Secondly, knee bend translates into going faster because you can push a little further sideways. Of course if you’re a new skater you might not want to go faster just yet!

Want to hear how it often goes? “OK, bend your knees. No, some more. No about twice that much, keep going lower, lower still. OK you’ve just reached about the minimum kneebend!”

10) Moving upper body

You can often see skaters zipping along, yet their upper body is bobbing up and down with every stride, or swinging from side to side. This is a clear sign of bad technique, and you want to look for the bullet appearance where your head hardly moves as you skate forwards.

I’m glad that I dun make any of these mistakes except for choosing unsuitable locations!! No choice for that as there’s no smooth, flat area for inline skating at my house.. (“,) How great would that be if I have determination in studying like I read these inline skate’s articles.. =(

Sunday, January 28, 2007. Check It Out, Facts Undercovered, Favourite, Inline Skates, Learning, Mistake, Sharing, Skate, Sports. Leave a comment.