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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 August 2nd, 2014, 10:01 AM   #1
Oicusk82huh
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Default wheeling?

I've been playing around with wheeling. I'd be happy to learn it within a year's time, I'm pretty bad, but fairly persistent. I have a question. When heel wheeling my leg goes straight as a rod. Is that bad, should it be bent? When toe wheeling it seems like my leg has a little more bend. I just don't want enforce some bad habits from the beginning. Should your leg be bent? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 02:08 PM   #2
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If I go heels down toes up my leg tends to straighten the same, what helps here is more ankle flex, stretch the calf out. The closer you can pull your toes to your shins the better. This will alleviate some of the "binding up" feeling you get when on your heels.

On my toes I have no problems that I can think of.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 03:59 AM   #3
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Yes, your leg should be bent for both heel and toe wheeling. It might be easier to balance on a straight leg at first, but a straight leg is also a static leg, unable to move, adjust, and adapt to do the movements you want.

A few tips for wheelings:
Knees bent, torso straight
Keep your arms out and relaxed to the sides
Try to keep your free leg either in front of you or to your side, not behind you. This can be ignored when balance is no longer an issue, but until you get there you want to focus on trying not to let your free leg trail behind you
Take it slow, speed might get you through 20 cones once in a while, but only control will get you through consistently

Also, a short guide for starting to learn wheelings:
Stand straight, and put the outer edge of the wheel you want to skate on onto the ground. Move it around until you find the right angle and it feels "secure," and then stand up on that wheel lifting your other foot off the ground. Balancing on one wheel at a standstill is much harder than when you're moving, and chances are you won't be able to hold it for more than an instant or two, but it's the feeling of finding a steady balance on your outer edge that you're trying to find because that's the angle you're going to be skating on. Practice this until you can hold it for at least a couple of seconds, and then try to find that angle when you are moving.

Also, as a caveat, I don't recommend learning wheelings. For one they're really boring until you get into the really advanced stuff, which nobody in the US is really capable of doing. For another, they're the first thing you forget when you take a break from skating. I understand the allure of wanting to start working on wheeling tricks early and get started on the really hard stuff, but there are so many other tricks to work on to really solidify your foundation and diversify your slalom that for most people I would recommend holding off on wheelings until they've really got a good handle on everything else first.

@Mort
Wheelings are done on one foot, not two. I also don't really see what benefits there are to pulling your toes way up, because the higher you pull them the harder it is to keep your knees bent. Most people keep them at a lowish but comfortable angle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW1sJsFT88s

Last edited by Shaw; August 3rd, 2014 at 05:54 AM.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 05:43 AM   #4
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Shaw, i say this because its needed. So many people just dont have the muscle development to lift their toes tward their shins, let alone against the resitance of a skate. You must be able to lift your toes tward your shins enough to reduce the lift created by your hips, the more tilting your hips do the straighter your leg ends up being.

A simple test is if someone can "shoot the duck". Loads of people have problems with it. You'd be surprised. Basicly I think your taking your own ankle flexibility for granted.

And about the comment of "anybody in the US" is a bunch of hooey. Anytime something is not the mainstream the amount of people is going to be significantly less, and the chance of an elite appearing are less, and even less still when theres no one to challenge your skills with..

Not everyone can posses great ability, but someone with great ability can come from anywhere.

Also I know wheeling isnt just going up on 1 wheel on both skates at the same time. If you thought otherwise you misunderstood my response.

I always have known when speaking about slalom as wheeling to be going up on one axle, on one skate.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 07:11 AM   #5
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My mistake, thought I had deleted the caveat part since it isn't exactly relevant to the topic, but I guess I didn't. Instead, I've finished posting the rest of the caveat, take from it what you will.

I've never met anybody who wanted to learn wheelings have trouble keeping their toes up. You don't need to go any higher than you would for heel-toe or heel-heel skating, both of which you should obviously be comfortable with before you even think about attempting one-wheeled skating. I've also never met anybody who had trouble with either of those because of ankle flexibility instead of just innate stability problems, but that's besides the point.

You're right that great talent can pop out of nowhere, Gabriel Weighous did just that from being an unknown to being 2nd best in the US. Why talk about hypothetical skaters who have yet to prove themselves though? I follow the scene, I watch competition videos, and I've met the top slalom skaters in the US. Even the best of those are only at a level where they are beginning to have a grasp on basic wheeling tricks. Casual skaters simply don't get good at wheeling tricks, and compared to Europe and Asia, us American skaters are definitely casuals.

Still, if you have no trouble with toe wheeling, then you're probably better than all of these US skaters who have actually been competing in events. Every slalom skater I've ever met has known learning slalom to be a humbling experience, yet somehow you always make it sound so easy. Feel free to actually prove how easy it is sometime by posting a video or joining a competition.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 09:56 AM   #6
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I can't see why learning to balance on one wheel while skating would be a bad thing. Last night I could only travel about 3 feet on one heel, and tonight I could travel about 15-20 feet. I gotta say, it was just SOOOOO much fun trying. You know when something is so satisfying, you just can't stop (is that my OCD)? I did bend my leg tonight, and no, I'm not going through cones.

As for my form......BLAAAHHHHHH!!! My torso's totally bent, my arms are like Scooby Doo sleepwalking, and my left leg was totally behind me. BWAHHHHHAA! Please don't hate me. That's why I ask for and appreciate any advice I can get. You know, I never care if I look stupid while learning something (even in public), I just want to know the correct way. People were making soo much fun of me last November when I was trying to learn all these new tricks, now they're like..."DAMNNNN!"

Freestyling is the SHIZZZZZ!!!! At least that's what grandma used to say. Oh yeah, and the heel is totally easier than the toe. I've been heal toe and toe toe and heel heeling (yeah, heel heeling, it's pretty ugly) for 16 years, I just never set up my cones so close together (80cm), so that's the bane of my existence currently.

I'm really just into skating for the sheer joy of it. It's the love of my life, you know? Always has been. Once again, super advice. Thank you.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 05:55 PM   #7
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Learning them is definitely a good thing, wheeling tricks are something of a peeve of mine is all. A lot of skaters seem to be fixated on learning them after watching competition videos, but even if they did get good at the basic wheeling they don't have the foundation to really go beyond that. Wheeling itself is also a fairly boring trick that's difficult to transition out of, which greatly limits their application for freestyle skating. Still, it doesn't hurt to dabble with them, and if they're what you want to learn then more power to you.

Also, a couple more tips for when you're ready to go on the cones: try not to have too long of a transition period where you balance on 5 wheels. In a competition you don't want to waste time transitioning like that, so it's better to get in the habit to start wheeling as soon as that wheel hits the ground. Also, try practicing on 50mm cones. It's more of a challenge, but it ensures that you're controlling your way through the cones instead of relying on speed and momentum to carry you through.
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 09:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaw View Post
@Mort
Wheelings are done on one foot, not two. I also don't really see what benefits there are to pulling your toes way up, because the higher you pull them the harder it is to keep your knees bent. Most people keep them at a lowish but comfortable angle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW1sJsFT88s
This video shows his front leg virtually straight, if he were to bend that front leg at the knee even slightly the toe of his skate would dip down. A person without good ankle flexibility and strength will need to stretch and build their strength here. otherwise they are going to be pratically hyper-estending their knee to hold a heel wheeling.

The farther you can lift your toes tward your shins the easier it gets because you wont be as limited in your flexibility as and will have a much larger range of movement to make recovering possible before losing the trick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaw View Post
Still, if you have no trouble with toe wheeling, then you're probably better than all of these US skaters who have actually been competing in events. Every slalom skater I've ever met has known learning slalom to be a humbling experience, yet somehow you always make it sound so easy. Feel free to actually prove how easy it is sometime by posting a video or joining a competition.
I never said I don't encounter balance checks or problems with stability if I get crazy on my 1 skate's toe wheel, I just dont have the binding up problem in comparison to lifting the toes. Toe wheeling is a crapton easier though, be it on my quads or blades.

@Oicusk82huh
ANY trick or balaning ability you can do is always icing on your cake. it should be any skaters goal that loves skating to learn everything they possibly can.

A good example is i'm trying to learn a hockey stop on my quads while only using the front axles. Its a lot of stress because of my setup and I got a size 12 foot. Now I can in almost all other skating instances just perform a traditional all wheels down hockey stop, but there is always the possibility of me being in an obscure position while some kid cuts me off at the rink and it could come in handy for not flattening him/her.

Many times its the little oddball things that save your ass in a pinch
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 10:14 PM   #9
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It looks like his leg is straight because he's wearing baggy pants, and also because munobal videos are old as hell and don't necessarily demonstrate good form.

I think I've been misunderstanding what you said. Your advice from the start was simply to stretch more, and not to actually stretch while attempting to heel wheel, correct? It's sound advice, stretching and flexibility are always good, but ultimately has nothing to do with the actual technique involved in heel wheeling.

Also, it's been my experience that toe wheeling and heel wheeling are roughly the same in difficulty. Toe wheeling is easier to start with because it's more stable, but heel wheeling turns better making it easier to get through the cones. In the end, whichever you practice more will be the one you find easier.
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Old August 4th, 2014, 01:33 AM   #10
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Lol! Yea man. I didnt mean to imply that you should stretch while performing a move. Thats dangerous in any case. Streching is for a controlled environment. When I got back into skating again I couldnt shoot the duck on my blades. Then recently got a flat quad which has no heel raise where the inline does. Couldnt shoot the duck. I can now though. But i had to do a little streching to get it there. When I heel it up on the quads im almost hyper extending my knee to get the toe up in the air.
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Old August 7th, 2014, 03:48 AM   #11
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I agree with Shaw. The point I started practicing wheeling was about the same time I started seriously considering swallowing a shotgun barrel.

Yes, wheeling is obtainable. But you should realize that, for most, it will be a considerable investment.

Let's say you are at the low-end barrier of taking slalom seriously. So you are practicing slalom say 2 hours/day for 4 days/week. Fully half of that practice time, at least 4 hours/week, will be taken practicing that one wheeling trick. Likely, it will turn out to be much greater than half.

For YEARS.

I feel about the same for many two wheel crossed-legged tricks. I just don't think the payoff is always worth the effort. Sure, if you've advanced so far you have nothing else to do, by all means dive in.

But most people put the cart before the horse. Wouldn't those first few formative years be better spent perfecting your freestyle? And there are sooo many fundamental tricks to learn to make you look totally bad-ass at the Park or in a slalom battle.

I mean, who in the right mind wouldn't prefer to skate like Xuan Le, who never exhibited a particularly high technical level, than <insert_generic_toe-wheeling_god_here>?

Still, if you are enjoying the wheelings more than fundamental tricks, then keep it up. Just don't let it eventually kill your love for slalom.

BTW - if you want to really rile up Shaw, just post that slides are for losers .

Good luck Oicusk82huh!
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Old August 9th, 2014, 08:25 AM   #12
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So, the "wheeling," or whatever it is I'm trying is only me showing off to kids in the roller rink. Yup, I suck, but who cares. So I'm watching some videos and I'm like, "Hey that Cobra looks easy." Seriously, WTF? People can actually do that!!!? Yeah, I agree crossed leg tricks are a real pain, how about that move that looks like Eagle, only with toes pointed inward? WTF? No, really WTF?

Oh yeah, slides suck!

Can't wait to skate tomorrow. Much to practice, yeah fundamentals. I'm not really wasting tons of time on Wheeling, just enjoying the balancing act. There's this guy in the park that can heel wheel, he looks pretty good to me. Do you guys notice that when there's a crowd watching that they are more impressed by the most simple tricks? That's the best!!! Ha ha. I remember this guy that used to balance water bottles on his head while cone skating. I loved that! Still do. I think I'll do that tomorrow. See how it goes. FUN!
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Old August 9th, 2014, 08:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oicusk82huh View Post
So, the "wheeling," or whatever it is I'm trying is only me showing off to kids in the roller rink. Yup, I suck, but who cares. So I'm watching some videos and I'm like, "Hey that Cobra looks easy." Seriously, WTF? People can actually do that!!!? Yeah, I agree crossed leg tricks are a real pain, how about that move that looks like Eagle, only with toes pointed inward? WTF? No, really WTF?

Oh yeah, slides suck!

Can't wait to skate tomorrow. Much to practice, yeah fundamentals. I'm not really wasting tons of time on Wheeling, just enjoying the balancing act. There's this guy in the park that can heel wheel, he looks pretty good to me. Do you guys notice that when there's a crowd watching that they are more impressed by the most simple tricks? That's the best!!! Ha ha. I remember this guy that used to balance water bottles on his head while cone skating. I loved that! Still do. I think I'll do that tomorrow. See how it goes. FUN!
This?


Yea, alot of advanced tricks lack good flowing, as you have a much harder time transtioning when your torqued up like a pretzel using every bit of strenght to hold it. Thus people dont see it as hard, just as something that you didnt make look as smooth as the simple footwork.
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Old August 9th, 2014, 08:54 AM   #14
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I am really polarized on this lately. On one hand I agree with Shaw and Greg that building up the foundations and your style brick by brick is essential if you really are interested in slalom to the point you would like to dedicate a part of your life to this sport while also enjoying it at the same time and hoping to maybe inspire others one day.

On the other hand, this is extremely difficult to explain to young and talented people especially if they are good at stability based tricks. They want to join competitions and they jump straight into the mindset of "I have to do wheelings if I want to be successful" and "this freestyle you are doing looks all nice and fluent, but to us that's more like dancing and a basically a waste of time that could be better spent learning the *real* tricks you are too old to learn, and we're gonna kick your ass on the competition with the toe footgun".

Well they don't always say it aloud and straight to your face But you can't even tell them they are completely wrong. While in battles incorporation of freestyle and transitions into your runs is important, there is no denying that on competitive level you can not go far without wheeling tricks.

Anyway, I'd rather be Xuan Le than Ye Hao Qin, but who am I to really tell people what their goals should be.

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Old August 9th, 2014, 09:26 AM   #15
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I went too far there shame on me. YHQ is a skater who I actully enjoy watching and puts insane amounts of training in it and is definitely NOT a generic wheeling god. But you surely get my point.
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Old August 9th, 2014, 04:10 PM   #16
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I look at it like this.

As your basic skills improve you should try 2 footed wheeling in a straight line, on heels, and toes, then doing tricks on your 2 feet wheeld up, turns and such, spins like a ballerina. never spending too much time on it or any trick for that matter. Once comfortable with it start adding in a few minuites of heel/toe 1 foot riding in a straight line. when you can ride farther than 20 feet forwards you can consider doing it backwards.

Everything in moderation. doing a trick 1000 times doesn't help you become good- UNLESS you have good form. Form is king in skating.

**these days though there are enough tutorial videos though, so you should be able to search up whats good and whats slopy even if theres no slalomers around your area**
When you have a "good" grasp on a lot of the basics as balance checks go, such as wheeling on 2 feet and 1 wheel riding in straight lines on both legs forwards/backwards,. then I think its time you can just sit down and pratice like 1000 of the same move. By then you should have enough fundamental skils to be able to do the simple stuff with good form so you don't learn bad habits.

Now if you got a coach or a advanced friend to help spot the bad habits as they show themselves you can just go to grinding away at 1 trick each day during your regular times. Bad habits if not caught are SO hard to untrain. Thats why I'd recommend to anyone to just get a good base and not worry about a specific trick. wheeling gliding or balance isn't like a trick though so realy you could start praticing wheeling balance from darn near day 1 and not have any issues come up. but footwork is a different story. I guess it depends on what someone is doing while they are rollin up on their wheels.

I think the biggest problem for some people is they don't try to "feel' their movements, they just do them. Skating should feel smooth, just like the way water flows over things. When I've told kids at the rink that are learning skating that it doesn't matter how fast or hard you try to go, that if its not smooth your not going to get anywhere, it makes then think more about what they are doing. as a result I typically see them make much larger improvements in 15 minuites than in 2 hours.

Skating- like dancing- no one wants to watch a brick out there on the dance floor clobble around :d
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Old August 10th, 2014, 11:50 PM   #17
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Boris...yes, Greg and Shaw continue in a nice way to tell me over and over that I'm putting the cart before the horse. I hang my head and agree. Tail between the legs. For me it's just about doing something I love and getting pointers from anyone I can when I'm not sure. 20 years ago my hero was this old white guy that could skate cones with bottles balanced on his head. I looked at him and said to myself that this is a sport, or pastime I could do until I'm very old. This was before slalom became SOOOO intricate and beautiful. I think it was Greg or Shaw that said (a while back) that I should look for the NYC slalomers/freestyles. I have found them and they make my weekends off the most fun I've ever had. Yesterday I got people from the dance circle to try cones for their first time. These kids will probably kick my ass some day. The point is, that I just got new people into something they may enjoy for the rest of their lives. I'm pretty happy with that and all the new friends slalom/freestyle has brought.

Mort, I like what you said about skating should feel smooth, the way water flows over things. Is that your inverted eagle??? I think my legs would fall off. That's awesome. Gotta run!
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Old August 11th, 2014, 01:32 AM   #18
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Yea thats my picture, a shot from last years EWNB warm up @ Roller Jam. Courtesy of Paul Emerson(vitiman on slf?)

EDIT:

Yea being tall and weight more than average sized peope doesn't help me at all my feet/weight puts a strain on those knees. So I know what ya mean trust me
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Old August 12th, 2014, 06:59 PM   #19
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Boris makes a good point about needing wheeling tricks for competitions, but I actually would say that they're completely wrong. Skaters who go to a competition knowing a couple of wheeling tricks but have weak foundations to back them up stick out like a sore thumb. The best skaters I know, the ones who are good enough to win high-level competitions, they always stress the importance of basic tricks and fundamentals, wheeling tricks always come after a good foundation. I'd also argue that you don't need to know any wheeling tricks whatsoever to win in US competitions.

Mort is right about form and fundamental skills being everything, but slalom fundamentals are a little different from basic skating fundamentals. You can't be good at slalom if your basic skating skills are lacking, but just skating around on your toes won't make you a good slalom skater. The crux of slalom really lies within the pivots, but practicing those alone is boring. Instead, you can also find the fundamentals within most of the basic tricks like X, cross, nelson, crazy, sun, volte, etc.

Watching videos alone also isn't good enough to develop good form. Most videos focus on the footwork of a trick but to have good form you need to pay attention to your upper body as well. It is possible to get good form by yourself, but you really need to first understand a lot of the theory behind slalom and to frequently film yourself skating to find mistakes. As it is, most self-taught skaters end up with a whole slew of bad habits which need to be unlearned.

Ultimately, skating is just a hobby for most people so you should do whatever you enjoy doing. Speaking from experience though, the payoff for practicing wheeling tricks just isn't there compared to working on easier tricks like back nelson. Wheeling tricks aren't as easy as Mort makes them out to be, being able to travel 20 feet on a wheel is trivial, being able to actually incorporate wheeling into your slalom such that it looks good and is anything more than just going forwards or backwards on the cones will take at a minimum several months of heavy commitment. If you only skate casually like me, you could easily spend several years working on wheelings on and off and not have much to show for it.
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Old August 13th, 2014, 12:41 PM   #20
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Yeah it sucks when you see someone who went fast-forward and learned toe/heel wheeling plus toe footgun and then their runs look like 1-2 failed attempts, one so so attempt and some stiffly looking recovery inbetween. And then they become upset why they do not pass to the next battle round even if they feel they were doing higher level stuff than you.

I have seen another extreme in Poland with some younger kids who can do clean (!) wheeling rekils, sevens and shifts but otherwise their slalom is not (yet) pleasant to look at, with combos that are just forced and stiff. I understand the logic there probably is that "if he's good at wheelings then it probably makes no sense to hold him back and he can build up the style part during the following years anyway".

The learning curve for wheelings is not the same for everyone. For me clean heel wheeling on 20x80s took almost 2-3 years to accomplish (and even now it is not as much reliable as I would wish) with forced breaks from training due to hip and lower back pain issues caused by the trick. Frustratingly, I am now skating with a 16 year old friend who is progressing a lot more quickly, doing toe footgun, toe wheeling, and 3-4 turns of toe seven after only several months and already some attempts at shift... His combos suck though, but he does not care
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