Even though roller speed skaters are the antithesis of ‘arm chair athletes’, it may still be a helpful image or a play-on-words to remember them by. Their stance – the way they hold themselves when they skate – is more of a ‘sit’ than a ‘stand’. The skaters move at great speeds, lean forward with hips low and knees bent to 90°. This ‘nose, knees, toes’ aerodynamic body position adds stability as they stride on ball-bearing wheels on the straightaways and even more so, as they do cross-over moves on the corners.
Their arms are rarely at rest; (oops, another word play). Swinging wide, arms pump for speed in the sprints, especially at the finish line. Some skaters use a single arm pump, to conserve energy or when taking corners. They also skate tandem in ‘pacelines’ drafting behind other skaters; one arm is slightly extended with fingers resting on the forward skater’s lower back. They watch the shoulders of the people in front and match their rhythm to keep their feet in step.
“D” – Push to Stride
In the shape of a “D”, one skate pushes through heels to the side and then lifts, hips close and toe points inwards towards heel of support skate, looping leg behind body. At one point, the lifted foot is directly behind the support leg. Weight transfers to new support skate.
“T” – Stop without Brakes
In the shape of a “T”, one skate is behind the other, nearly perpendicular to direction of travel. Weight is mainly on front foot. Both knees bend a little, adding braking pressure with heel to drag wheels. This stop uses the wheels as a source of friction.
“V” – Stop without Brakes
Toes meet in a “V”. Legs are spread beyond shoulder-width, using leg strength to press inner edges of wheels against the ground.
(Arm chairs and D T V…. !)
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)
TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM