The “How to Skate for Fitness” Online Training Course Series for inline skaters is designed to come as close as possible to attending one of my actual Speed Skating classes. This series of exercises focuses on different aspects of the skating stride in the order in which you should practice them.
Nearly two decades of teaching experience has shown me that every skater needs to learn all the basics and ensure that they are solid in order to progress to truly comfortable and speedy skating. This Online Training Course fills any gaps in theoretical and practical skate knowledge you may have.
This Online Training Course for Beginner level skaters in their first 1-12 months of skating consists of 10 exercises to be watched and practiced in order.
Each exercise in the Training Sequence has a number of elements to it.
I recommend you begin by watching the Main Videos for each exercise. These provide detailed Demonstrations of each exercise and a Description of what you are seeing.
A list of Focus Points is provided in each video to keep in mind when you practice on your own. Practice one Focus Point at a time and when you are ready to move on to the next one try to maintain the quality of the previous Focus Point. This will help you achieve better overall technique as you go.
The Practice Exercise Summary is a downloadable list of all the exercises in the Training Course to help you structure and order your practice correctly when you are on skates.
The Training Notes are a downloadable list of the Focus Points for each exercise to help you remember what you should be practicing (and thinking about as you roll).
The aim is to achieve high quality practice that creates lasting and permanent changes in your skating.
Prepare for repetition, as until a skill is fully mastered there is always room for improvement.
When you finish a Training Session I recommend ending your practice with a few minutes of Exercise 10 ‘Conscious Skating’ to assimilate your practice into your skating. This is where you will notice changes in how you actual skate.
Ask yourself questions like: Am I lower? Does my skating feel smoother? Am I gliding with more ease? Doing this at the end of each practice session enhances the benefits and allows you to observe your progress more clearly.
Treat each exercise like a new adventure opening up a new level in your skill development. The exercises are carefully ordered so practice them in the sequence in which they appear.
Each exercise provides an opportunity for refinement and improvement. By perfecting each over time, rather than blitzing through them all quickly, you permanently increase your ability to push, glide, control your Edges, create more speed and feel more comfortable when skating faster.
Try to arrange to film one of your practice sessions of each exercise occasionally. What you think you are doing and what you are ACTUALLY doing may not be the same thing. A video of your skating allows you to see yourself clearly and to compare your skills with what you see in the video demos.
Ask a friend to help with filming from the side by moving alongside you on skates or on a bicycle. You can film yourself from the front by putting your device on the ground and skating towards it. If you want a longer view ask a friend to skate behind or ahead of you to film. Make sure you get enough footage. You need to see several repetitions of each exercise to get a good observation of what your are actually doing.
Photo by Jason NIghtall
Are your knees bent correctly? Which direction is your push going? What Edge are you on?
I have listed which angles to film yourself from to best answer these questions. For example, you cannot observe an edge from a lateral side view, only from the front or the back. My aim is to turn you into your own skate instructor!
Ask your filming friend to get a close-up of your support leg from the side as this allows you to freeze-frame your video and check if your knee bend is correct. It is essential to notice and understand just what a “correct knee bend” is, so you can adjust it if necessary. The graphics added to the videos are there to help you with exactly this.
The Common Problems
The Common Problems are perhaps the most important part of each exercise. Here I identify specific issues that often need extra focus, repetition and practice. Watching these videos and studying the photos helps you identify if you have that particular problem.
It is not unusual to struggle with several Common Problems simultaneously. Be aware that one problem often causes another and that they tend to come in groups. That means that focusing on fixing one problem can miraculously fix several others at the same time. Make a note of which problems you have identified in your skating and frequently return to the practice “fixes” that help you correct them.
Where provided, compare the photos or video demonstrations of a Common Problem to the perfect demo videos at the beginning of each lesson. The problem videos may be slightly exaggerated to make spotting them easier. Identifying the problems in videos of yourself skating requires a more subtle perception in your scrutiny. In the later part of the Course I group the Common Problems into pairs and show them in one video to demonstrate just how complex this all is.