Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Forward And Backward Glides

The biggest mistake new skaters make on the back outside edges is in trying to get in that extra push they think is necessary before lifting the free foot. It is a very bad habit. Do some lemons or stroking to get up speed, then put your feet together, bend your knees, shift your weight to one foot and lift the free leg off the ice. The foot will come up along with the knee. Do not try to stroke or to swizzle.

Gliding backwards and lifting one foot is generally done with the toes pointed in and the heels turned out. Your body weight must be balanced forward over the ball of the foot as you skate backwards. You must maintain your balance. If you lean too far back, you may fall as a result, and if you lean too far forward, you won’t move. Don’t lean on your ankles. Leaning your ankles will diminish your leg power. Remember to bend your knees, especially when they are at the farthest spread of the lemon. You're using the inside edge of your blade to generate power.
Forward gliding requires that you lift off the free foot off the ice while the weight shifts over on the other foot. You must press against the ice and push with the entire blade while your weight transfers to the other foot as the body glides forward on one foot.

The way you shift your weight is to move your hips and your center of gravity from your left leg to your right and back again. Moving your hips is really helpful in getting started going backwards and then as you pick up speed, you don't need to do it as much.

Trust your blades! You may feel as if you are going to fall off them. If your blades are not blunt, you won't. Sit back slightly as if you are going to do a backward cross over, and let the momentum of your free leg pull you round. The bigger push you get from the center point the easier it is. Try to obtain some speed. The faster you go, the easier the element.

When you push inwards, it's more of a feeling of pulling your legs in together. If you do it right, you will feel that you are using the muscles in your inner thighs. Backward glides start when the inside edge of each foot is pressed pushing the feet back and out to the side until they are parallel and a tad more than shoulder width apart. As the knee straighten, it begins to pull the feet back side by side.

Do not lean on your heels. That is not helpful. Try to balance your weight when you are executing the move. Some leg exercises will help if you lack leg strength. A stronger core and a strong lower body are essential in maintaining good balance.

Use this as a guide:

1) Put your weight on your left foot and extend your right leg out slightly. Keep your knees and ankles bent to carry your weight.

2) With your right leg sweep it back in an arc ) shaped like this.

3) This should start you moving backwards.

4) Immediately switch your weight over to your right leg and use your left leg to make a backwards arcing sweep. Have your chin above the skating knee, so your weight is centered.

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