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Slalom Cone Skating Forum Discussions about slalom cone skating, high-jump, and other freestyle trick skating. (Note that vert, street, and park skating discussions should be posted in our aggressive skating forum.)

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Old May 30th, 2010, 10:20 PM   #1
Dean_R
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Lightbulb Training and misc. questions

Hello to all that have an opinion about anything related to slalom and training of muscle groups in general

First of, I know the topic is rather broad, but the "problems" are broader.

What im trying to solve is the main question of:
How fast can you learn slalom and have the muscles/joints that support it ?

The situation is like this:
Fitness skater that knows ICP lvl 2 stuff, but not in the sense that they are qualified for it or anything, but a "normal" fitness skater with a small lean towards playing on the skates.
The skater has ben active for 1 year.
There are no previous sport injuries or anything

My "problems" are this:
  1. What would you start out with as the base ?
  2. How much training of each skill before the next is taught ?
  3. How much is adviseable in repetition before its wasted on the musclememory?
  4. Is there a "beyond this point its wasted" stopping point ?


My main concern is pushing beyond whats good for the muscle groups, so im looking for advice and experience from people who think they know something about slalom and training in general, since i've skated for too many years myself to have a realistic view of what its like to be a beginner in a field of skating. (sorry if that sounds egoistic, its not meant like that, just cant really express it better).

And I dont think there is a wrong answer to this, im really just looking for the right way to tap into all the amazing knowledge thats zooming around on this board.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 12:22 AM   #2
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I think Naomi is best qualified to answer your questions. Hopefully, she'll reappear soon to give some advice.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 12:45 AM   #3
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Ill stress now, it doesnt have to be a slalom person, its more of a general knowledge question really

Im really just trying to get an idea from people who have skated and taught others
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 06:13 PM   #4
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Take this as a grain of salt. But this is from experience and teaching some friends.

Slalom is complicated. Some can pick it up fairly fast while some needs years.

The hardest hardest part of slalom, is starting. Making your legs move how they usually don't on skates is HARD, as your leg muscles are not used to it. But once you get going, after about 1 year, then it starts to get "easier". Your legs will get used to it, and then you can start to branch out tricks.

That's the muscle part out of the way~
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 07:46 PM   #5
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Infinity / thats the "thought" part of it, what im looking for is the "sane" limit for how much you can push your student
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 09:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_R View Post
Infinity / thats the "thought" part of it, what im looking for is the "sane" limit for how much you can push your student
That depends on the person. Seriously.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:48 PM   #7
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The simplest answer is: START DOING IT!

I am a middle aged quad skater, and I session skate indoor. I started doing a little bit of backward slalom down the infield line of one of my rinks. It wasn't pretty, or good. But after a bit of time it has been improving. I do a lot of slalom type turning as I skate, and do only a few dedicated slalom runs. The last time I did it, I set a personal record for speed. I did it to the beat of a fast song. What I have noticed is that your muscles start to adapt to the move, and your brain and feet start to "feel" the motion. And then you get better.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 01:02 AM   #8
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Gee. These questions are a bit technical. And I'm not an instructor, so I'm not really qualified to answer. But I'll try to anyway.

I agree w/ a previous post that says freestyle gets easier with time. How much time depends on how often you practice. I think freestyle slalom gets easier once:

1) Your mind/body gets used to the core rule of freestyle slalom: At any given instant, almost all your weight should be on only one foot. During a move, you will transfer weight from one foot to the other at the appropriate points. This weight transfer (you "fall" from one foot to another) provides a lot of the force that will propel you forward, while allowing you to retain a "floaty" look. In fact, my mind now seems to identify a count for each move which increments at each weight transfer.

2) You integrate the base freestyle moves (crosses, one foots, etc) into your muscle memory.

3) You build up a large enough vocabulary of moves that you can more easily identify what you see others do and break-up new moves into its component parts.

3) You have enough experience with how to link simpler moves in a flowy, natural manner. If you just repeat a trick over a line of cones w/out ever combining it with other moves, your slalom will not progress very far.

How long will that take? Who knows. Depends on how often you practice, I guess. The more comfortable you are on skates (experience before taking up slalom) the easier the process should be. Then again, you have plenty of top-ranked skaters that start skating w/ slalom and excel at it very quickly. They tend to be young, however, and probably practice excessively, have plenty of free time, and some innate skill.


This ain't weight lifting, so I'm not sure about the medical questions. It's true that you need to develop your slalom "muscle memory". For good style, it is also important to generally bend your knees deeply (allows your feet to move about while keeping you center of gravity at the same height). I'm a huuuge fan of bending the knees, and the process definitely does cause some quad burn. Therefore, I guess you could say its good to develop your quads' ability to handle this strain/burn. And that just takes lot of practice. Skating with your knees bent. I don't really do any other excersize to develop this. I do find that doing "super slow" slalom practice with deep knee bends really increases the quad burn, and probably accelerates your training progress. And by progress, I mean your body's ability to handle the lactic acid buildup/burn in your quads. Eventually, you should be able to keep it up for hours w/out feeling any pain.

Practice pointers. Well my practice discipline is awful, so again I'm not qualified. But, as you want to build muscle memory, I think frequent practice is helpful. I find that if I only practice once a week, my body seems to have forgotten most of the moves. Conversely, if I practice two days in a row (like Sunday afternoon, followed by Monday evening sometimes), my skating feels great on the second day. I would think slaloming daily would really help your progress (as long as you don't burn out), but its not really realistic for most people.

Some of my practices are pretty short, but I prefer at least an hour, as it takes a while for my muscles to warm up and work properly. I don't bother with stretching or anything like that.

For more practice detail, you need to ask an expert, like Naomi on the forum.

I find that I make progress in bunches. Often, I'll learn a new basic skill and that will lead to quickly learning other, similar tricks. For instance, the transitions and general 5-wheel nature of crazy legs led to other 5-wheel tricks such as BATTLEDANCE!. It also altered my skating "style" pretty significantly, even though I don't really do crazy legs itself in a run that often. Another example are the one leg tricks Naomi taught me in her Miami Retreat. These tricks require better balance and your upper body to control your direction of movement. Unfortunately, the increased technical requirements of these moves, couple with my poor practice, um, practices, has made my progress in this area very slow. Still, I see how, in the future, skills learned from rekil, etc. will open new avenues for growth.

Summary
=======
Man. It looks like I've typed a lot here. Most of it gibberish. But if asked how to best progress, I'd say just skate. Slalom. As often as possible. I can't think of any "excersizes" or techniques of-skates that would improve your freestyle more than just lacing up and doing it.

And if you have a soul, you'll want to learn to skate with some level of style. Don't just become a trick monkey. Learning to do a trick and learning how to do a trick well are two totally different objectives. Of course, that might slow your progress a bit, which runs contrary to your original post. There are a lot of tricks/techniques to improve your style, most of which are learned best from an instructor and feedback. But I definitely think slaloming to music will help a lot. And the aforementioned "super slow" practice is useful too.


To accelerate your progress, I recommend some starter lessons. I've done several of Naomi Grigg's workshops/retreats and highly (highly) recommend them. Depending on where you live, there might also be an instructor or school that teaches slalom. They are few and far between, but I know at least one place in Seattle that teaches it. I believe ICP is starting slalom instructor certification, so hopefully the situation will improve.

Oh, and probably the best resource on the net for freestyle slalom information is the US Freestyle Skaters Association (USFSA) forum:

http://www.freestyleskaters.org/

You can find tons of technical slalom info there, and even post your own questions to be answered by people that know a lot more about it than I do. It's also a great way to hook up with other slalomers in your area. And practicing with others will help your progress and keep your interest up.

Sorry for all the words. Good luck w/ your slalom.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 06:26 AM   #9
Dean_R
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GregT (and others ) / Okay, I can see that ive put the question out there in the wrong way.

Let me start by saying: "thank you very much for the answers and there can never be too many words!"

My own practice regiment is a bit more brutal than i could ever hope a beginner to start on. so with that in mind, its not me, its answers or theories in regards to teaching other people how to slalom.

I hope this clears it up a bit?


Edit: Ill just rethink the phrasing of the original post and try again

Last edited by Dean_R; June 6th, 2010 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Rethinking the questions ..
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Old June 6th, 2010, 10:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_R View Post
its not me, its answers or theories in regards to teaching other people how to slalom.
As I said before, it depends who this "other" is because different people has different needs. As an instructor, you have to cater to each individual, just like Naomi does.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 04:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean_R View Post
its answers or theories in regards to teaching other people how to slalom.
Ah, Ok. Clearer now.

If you are already a certified trainer, you might want to look into the ICP Freestyle Slalom Instructor certification training course taught by Naomi Grigg. I don't know many details about the course itself, but it's meant to teach skating instructors how to teach slalom. It may be of use to you.

I believe the course is also open to USSG instructors. If you want more details, you should probably PM the member "Naomi" on this forum.

Good luck with it.
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