PAN AM Roller Sports Speed Skating Footwork

pan am roller sports speed skating         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…. !)

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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)


PAN AM Football (Soccer) Footwork

pan am football aka soccer      Whether dribbling, passing or shooting the ball, football players must think on their feet.  On the field, they keep the ball moving and aim to put it past the goalie into the net. To accomplish this simple thing, players also play a complex thinking game. The ball needs to be moved by foot and must arrive at the right person’s feet without letting any other fast-moving feet intervene. All parts of the foot can be used during the game.  Whether for controlling the ball or kicking it from various angles, Football is truly an “Inside-Outside-Top-Heel-Bottom-of–the-Foot Game”

Of all the football skills, kicking the ball powerfully is apparently the most difficult. It can be an offensive shot on goal or a defensive clearance. It entails a big windup and a big follow through.

Key Pointers for a Kick

Relax.  Allow your entire body to go limp. Shake it out. Let your head, neck legs and every part of your body relax.  The only part of your body that will have tension is your ankle.

Large last stride / loading.  Make your last stride a long “forward hopping” load. Your heel should come close to your behind.  Allow your knee to come through first.  This is known as “storing the load”. Your lower leg will form a V shape. Keep that V shape as long as possible and at the last minute let it extent in a WHIPPING motion through the ball.

Kick with the big toe knuckle.  Approach the ball from a slight angle. The largest bone in your foot is the first metatarsal which is just above the big toe knuckle. This translates into FORCE or energy at impact.

“Break the pane”.   Pretend that the ball is sitting in front of a large pane of glass. You want to break the pane with your body, not just your leg or foot. This means that your forward momentum should continue through the shot. This will also cause you to land on your SHOOTING foot, not your plant foot.

Watch your foot contact the ball.  If you can see your foot strike the ball you are kicking properly. Doing this also keeps your body in a slightly “bent over” position.  Straightening up will kill some of the power release. (1)

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Resources: (1)

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)


PAN AM Bowling Footwork

pan am bowling    While ‘Walking the Line’ in bowling is not a sobriety test, the two are comparable. Participants in both activities take each step as carefully and as naturally as possible. Just as one might tend to drift, so might the other. Holding, swinging and delivering a bowling ball to hit the target of ten pins down a narrow lane would put any normal gait off-balance. (Not to mention the awkwardness of angling for a ‘spare’.) To achieve or retrieve that balance, bowlers train by walking consistent lines at the same pace with every shot. This consistency ensures that their pendulum arm swing and release of the ball is controlled and accurate.

Steps in the approach: The number is determined by the bowler’s height and type of swing.  Typically, there are four or five steps from the initial stance of parallel feet to the final glide at the foul line. Each step is centered to the body. One foot overlaps (at a height of no more than two inches) in front of the other, not unlike a tightrope acrobat.

The first step:  Like a short walking step, the foot moves from heel to toe and assumes the weight of the body.

The second step:  The ball is placed into swing with the movement of this key short step. The bowler controls and begins to place the ball.

The third step:  Taken heel-toe with a longer stride.  Momentum builds.

The fourth step: Maintaining heel-toe approach with a slightly longer stride and increased momentum.

The fifth step:  Similar to length of fourth step.  Foot begins to slide, finishing up by pointing somewhat to the target, remaining there for several seconds until fully balanced.

Some bowlers use a toe-first power step on their penultimate move, giving a strong push off to the final glide. Each bowler finds her own successful, consistent stride. Without looking, you would recognize a bowler for the repetitive cadence or beat of her footsteps.

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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)


Sneakers: The Primer before the Polish


1. A Brief History of Sneaker Brands

Check out the link for a gallery of thirteen great pictures.  Here’s a cheat sheet:

  • 1916 – U.S. Rubber, Keds, original sneaker
  • 1917 – Converse Rubber Shoe Company, All Star, high-top basketball shoes
  • 1920 – ‘Adi’ Dassler, shoemaker for Jesse Owens (1936); founds Adidas (1948)
  • 1937 – PF Flyers (for Posture Foundation), distributes weight evenly
  • 1958 – Reebok is founded
  • 1960 – New Balance, the Trackster, in multiple widths
  • 1970 (circa) – Nike co-founder creates treads with kitchen waffle iron
  • 1991 – Reebok, the Pump, custom cushioning
  • 2004 – Nike, the Free, original minimal shoe
  • 2005 – Vibram, the FiveFingers, sections for each toe
  • 2006 – Nike, the Air Max 360, foamless midsole
  • 2006 – Nike, the Air Zoom, ‘talks’ to Apple’s iPod nano
  • 2011 – Brooks, the PureProject, for a natural stride.

Article by Dave McGinn, The Globe and Mail, May 12, 2012.


 2.  He Says “Sneakers” and… She Says “Tennis Shoes”

Josh Katz, graphics editor at the New York Times and PhD student – did an online questionnaire on specific word choices across the USA. This map shows the concentration of the use of “sneakers” as a vocabulary item.


Source for map:      

and more about this study:


This week’s blog will explore how sneakers have a wedge position in the sub-cultures of fashion and athletics.  Are we quietly trading our rubber soles, by another name?




Walking Emotion Out



“An Eskimo [Inuit] custom offers an angry person release by walking the emotion out of his or her system in a straight line across the landscape; the point at which the anger is conquered is marked with a stick, bearing witness to the strength or length of the rage.” 

― Lucy R. Lippard, Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory

 Picture Source: