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Skating Backwards

By Bungle (
Date: 9 Sep 1994 00:12:35 +0100

The easiest way to start, is _slowly_. Build up in stages.

Moving in this ----------------> direction

Stage one:

A simple roll backwards on flat ground, letting skates go apart, then back to the middle. Don't try and lift feet off the ground at any time.

	       ___..___                ___..___
Right foot      ---''''        ````---..---''''        ````---..

Left foot       ---....___  ___....---'`---....___  ___....---'`
		  `'                      `'
Stage two:

Keep one foot steady (if you are better at right-handed cross-overs, this should probably be your left foot) and do more exaggerated shorter movements with the other foot. Push the foot out quite hard (with toe pointing inwards slightly) while putting most weight on the other foot. I find it easier to use the front wheels on my pushing foot. When pulling the foot back in, do not try to lift it, just pull it in slowly. Don't try to create motion from the inward pull. Motion should be from the out-push only.

	 ,--...         ,--...          ,--...
Right foot     ,'     ```--...,'      ```--...,'      ```--...

left foot      -----------------------------------------------

Stage three:

Swap feet over.

Stage four:

Push with alternate feet.

	 ,--...                      ,--...
Right foot     ,'      ```--...............,'      ```--.............

Left foot      ''''''````````.      ___--'''''''''```````.      ___--
		      `--'''                      `--'''

Stage five:

Move feet at the same time

                 ,--...          ,--...          ,--...
Right foot     ,'      ```--...,'      ```--...,'      ```--...,

Left foot       ___--''`.      ___--''`.      ___--''`.      ___
               '         `--'''         `--'''         `--'''

Stage six:

This is where you start trying hills, corners, crossovers, stairs, or whatever else takes you fancy.

From: (George Robbins)

There are several different ideas on the best way to get started with backwards skating, which means you tend to get a lot of responses, but no agreement.

1) Start by pushing off a wall or fence, or turning from forward to backward while rolling. Just coast until you feel secure with the general idea. A helmet isn't a bad idea, by the way!

2) Get your posture/balance right - your body should be upright, with your knees bent - if you lean forward while skating, this will seem like leaning backwards. If you lean forward you'll find yourself dancing on your toe wheels and then your nose.

3) Get your feet at a normal track width - not neccessarily clicking heels, but less than shoulder width. Many folk spread out when the feel insecure, but you can't "stroke" from that position.

4) At this point you can fool around a little - you can turn by leaning or keep yourself moving with a "sculling" motion - moving both feet out-in-out-in as if tracing coke-bottle curves.

5) Next, you need to get comfortable with rolling on one foot, so that you can be pushing with the other. Just pick up one foot - half an inch is fine - and roll on the other. This will require that you get the rolling foot centered under your weight! (see 2 above). Practice some one-foot gliding and turns.

6) Finally, you are ready to stroke - just push one leg out and to the side while you roll on the other, then at the end of the stroke, pick up that skate and set it back alongside the other. Alternate feet, and as you get the hang of it, you'll find that you can maintain and build speed.

7) Expect it to take a while for you to get comfortable, just try a little backwards action each time you go out to skate. You also want to get in the habit of looking over your shoulder to see where you're going, looking only at where you've been leads to surprises.

8) There an alternate method of learning to stroke, which goes from sculling with both feet to sculling with one at a time and then getting a more powerful push with that foot. This may lead more naturally to the Hockey wide-track "C-cut" backward stride, where you roll/slide the foot back instead of picking it up, but that's more for quick maneuvering, not speed/distance skating.

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