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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Technique: Know Your Stances

By Liz Miller

Certified inline skating instructors use standard terminology for the body and skate positions that make it easy for people to understand and learn new skills. First, the instructor demonstrates and then coaches you into the stance. During the lesson, there may be subtle corrections to help you achieve the optimal positions for the dynamic movements of skating.

But what if you live far from the closest instructor and you are learning skating by surfing the web? In that case, here are some stances to build your learning foundation. Practice them first on a non-rolling surface (carpet or lawn). Once you get out on the pavement, spend plenty of time memorizing the Ready Position by coasting long distances in it. Then focus on Scissors Coasting to prepare for the eventual need to learn heel braking.

Safe T StanceSafe-T: The stance used for standing still. The brakeless heel is rolled up against the other skate’s inner arch.

For safety reasons, this is the first stance I teach! Beginning students standing on skates for the first time are grateful for the way this position locks the wheels in place to prevent unwanted rolling.

Ready Position: The balanced alignment of the body that results in equilibrium and confidence.

Ready PositionFeet are shoulder width apart. Shoulders, hip joints and arches are balanced along an invisible line that runs from head to heel. The joints of the knees, hips and ankles are bent, with the shins tilted forward over the toes. During the first skating strokes and while learning braking, hands and arms are raised to waist level and positioned within the peripheral vision.

In a proper ready position, the skater is able to hop in place (try this first on carpet or lawn!) and remain in balance. Find your balanced Ready Position standing in place at first, then learn to coast long distances in it without straightening the knees or tipping the upper body forward. Try lowering and raising the hips repeatedly to loosen up while coasting this way.

As stroke technique improves, the Ready Position becomes more aerodynamic (and horizontal). A speedskater’s tuck incorporates a balanced alignment over one skate at a time.

Scissors StanceScissors Stance: Skates are parallel and no more than hip width apart, with one skate ahead of the other, weight mostly over the back skate.

Because the skates are positioned narrower than your body width, the Scissors Stance presents a balance challenge to most beginners. Once skaters learn to comfortably roll in this stance, they are ready to master effective braking and start learning intermediate skills. See Scissors Coast to learn why this is such a key stance for skaters at all levels.

A frame stanceA-Frame Stance: A balanced, upright stance with skates positioned parallel and wider than shoulder width.

This is the most stable stance for beginning skaters because of the broad base of contact at the feet, . The A-Frame was given its name because the whole body is shaped like the capital letter A. The width of the stance automatically tips both skates onto their inside edges. Pressure on a tipped skate causes it to turn, so instructors use the A-Frame stance to teach new skaters the fundamentals of pressure and upper body rotation. See Basic Turning (A-Frames).

V-Stance: A version of the Ready Position where the heels are nearly touching and the toes are pointed out.

V StanceIn this stance, your skates on the pavement form the shape of the letter V. The V-Stance is the perfect starting point for learning Swizzles, a building skill that teaches you the beginnings of a powerful and efficient stride. See more abut that in Technique Tip #4 in Increase Your Pushing Power.

A-Stance: A version of the Ready Position where the toes are nearly touching and the heels are angled out.

A stanceIn this stance, your skates on the pavement form the shape of the letter A. The A-Stance is the perfect starting point for learning backward motion. When you push sideways from this stance, pressure along the inside (tipped inward) wheel edges results in a backward glide. That is, as long as your upper body does not fall ahead. See Mastering Swizzles with the Football Drill for instructions involving the A-stance.

Other March 2007 Stories

bulletred picture Balance Lunges integrate a variety of key skating and fitness components in a single off-skates exercise. They’re a great warmup too!

bulletred picture What Level Beginner are You? - Identify your own learning potential before you risk looking like a geek!

bulletred picture Mastering Swizzles - Step by step, build up to the one skill featured in all fitness skating programs (great for speed, too!).

bulletred picture Fair Weather Skaters - The Great EsSkate attracted hundreds of avid rollers for a weekend of fun and sun in Miami. See Liz's photos.

bulletred picture National Skate For Health Day - On May 12, instructors across the US will show newbies how skating is aerobic, low-impact, and fun.

 bulletred picture Get Rolling Skate School - My 2007 learning opportunities range from Bay Area lessons to a mini camp and tour in Florida.  

bulletred picture Ojai Valley Trail, South - Enjoy fantastic vistas skating the converted rail-trail next to the Ventura River.

bulletred picture Skater Crossing - Online destinations where skaters congregate and find information.