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Roller Derby Forum Discussions about banked-track and flat-track roller derby events, teams, skaters, and training methods.

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Old September 17th, 2007, 06:42 AM   #1
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Default Please help me with crossovers

After I failed roller derby try-outs in January, I took two private skating lessons (that's all I could afford). Those two lessons did help me break bad habits and learn a few new things, and skate better. But, due to time restraints, we didn't have time to work on crossovers.

I've seen videos on-line, and I've read step by step directions, but I still can't get it. I'm not even sure how to explain what I'm doing, because don't know what I'm doing wrong. The best way I can describe it is that my feet get tangled and I trip over myself. I wish I could post a video of myself skating so you guys could get some sort of idea.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 01:01 PM   #2
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i'm sorry to hear you're having problems, but i love that you are keeping with it and trying to improve!

i don't know it i can offerr too much help-i'm sure there are other, better skaters that can explain more thoroughly or direct you to a good website, but here's what helped me...

first off, i just got used to skating on one foot. i would skate around on my left foot, getting the feel of it. once i started doing crossovers, i was told that i could use my left foot more-before, as soon as my right foot hit the ground, i would take all the weight off my left, losing power. so don't be afraid to utilize the power in that leg.

as far as tripping up, it's hard to tell without seeing it, but all i can recommend is trying to keep your feet apart a bit more.

i've also learned (and this just may be me) that when i am learning something new, if i look at my feet while doing it, i screw up. if i keep my eyes up and level, then i usually do better.

keep practicing!
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Old September 17th, 2007, 01:33 PM   #3
Bill in Houston
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I was having trouble learning crossovers. I was taking big ol' giant Eric Heiden crossovers, and my feet were shooting off in weird directions.

Then I watched some kids who were out grinding on a curb. They were doing little dinky quick crossovers. Almost dainty. I tried that next time I went out and it was much much easier.

Once I was able to do the dinky ones, I stretched it out over time and can do nice big Eric Heiden ones now. So maybe that will work for you...
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Old September 17th, 2007, 10:56 PM   #4
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i guess i'm lucky in that my derby league needed skaters, because i never would have made tryouts. however, i'm stoked about the gains i've made in the last two months, and am hoping to skate (at least some) in our next bout.

What my teammates and captains suggested is that i start by taking exaggerated crossover steps. then my feet stayed separate. as i got better, the steps became smaller. which was not so bad going counterclockwise. clockwise, however, is a horse of a different color.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 01:31 AM   #5
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I know it might be different on quads than on inlines, but a hint that I found really helpful was to think of crossovers as cross-unders.

In other words, the crossing is achieved by focusing more on pushing underneath your leading leg / behind your leading skate, rather than on stepping over your trailing skate with your leading skate.

Hope that makes enough sense to help...

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Old September 18th, 2007, 04:29 AM   #6
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Try this drill with skates off. It will help. Stand at the bottom of a set of stairs. Place the outside of your left foot against the bottom riser. Face the wall. Make sure your toes continue to stay parallel to the steps. Keep your knees bent. Step up two steps and place your left foot flat on the step. Use your left leg to pull your body up, cross your right foot over and up two steps. Make sure you stay off the ball of your foot. You dont skate on your toes. Use the hand rail if you need it. Keep your body sideways to the stairs skip every other step. Going up two at a time will immulate a perfect cross over if you keep you body and feet in proper position. Climb the flight of stairs come back down and do it again. I have all of my new skaters work on this for hours. Repetition is the key. If you apply the motion from the stair drill to your crosses on the track they will improve quickly.
Hope this helps.
xlracer...Skating Coach Nashville RollerGirls
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Old September 18th, 2007, 05:31 AM   #7
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Thank you all so much. I'll try your suggestions!
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Old September 18th, 2007, 07:47 PM   #8
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Hi Freckle..

I'll add one thing to XL's comment...

Since you're new to crossovers, it will be very natural for you to skate in a fairly upright position. You will surely bang your skates like that, since that upright position will make you unstable and keep your feet naturally close together.

Assume a more athletic stance... bend your knees and get a little bit lower, nice and centered over your feet. Look at other athletes - tennis players, football players, boxers, weight lifters, you name it. They get low with their knees bent and feet apart. That gives them stability and power. That stance will let you get your feet past each other and will eventually give you a lot of power.

Plus, once you start mixing it up a little, it will make you harder to hit.

That stair drill is a killer, and once you get comfortable with it, it will give your legs a real workout which will pay dividends later!
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Old September 20th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #9
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Another way to work up to smooth crossovers is a small circle drill. Put a cone on the ground and skate counterclockwise around the cone in a circle that is about 10 feet from the cone at all times.

Start by keeping your left foot essentially stationary and propelling yourself by sculling with your right foot. So you are in a derby position, knees bent and head up and pushing with your right foot while keeping all 8 wheels on the floor.

After a few turns of this, try to just pick up your right foot and put it back down with a little push. Don't try to cross just yet. Just get the feeling of picking that foot up.

Now, when you are comfortable and stable with this (it could be a little while, so don't rush), put your left arm out behind you a bit and swing your right arm in time with your sculling of your right foot. The arm swing is IMPORTANT. When you have a steady pace, start crossing that right foot over left around the circle and swing the right arm in time. As your right foot crosses, your right arm will swing back. As your right foot is drawn back out to normal position, the arm swings forward.

The arm swinging of your right arm will really help with crossing smoothly.

Once you get the rhythmn, make sure you are leaning to the inside of the turn. So skating counterclockwise, you need to lean to your left.

The leaning will feel strange at first and you may fall over or feel like your will fall to the left. That's ok. Just keep leaning and as you swing and cross, it will propel you forward.

Best of luck!
Captain, Marigny Antoinettes
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Old September 25th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #10
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Default Cross Overs.. Mechanics...

Cross overs is one of those things you see advanced skaters doing, and go.. that isnt so hard... until you try.

The actual mechanics of skating, and understanding your proper body position, will make it much easier for you to be able to dial in and fine tune your cross overs.

As you skate.. and continue to skate.. your muscles will strengthen and your center of balance will change. As this happens.. you will feel more comfortable at being aggressive on your skates.. getting lower.. and getting faster.

The number one thing you need to do.. is just spend time in the boots. Skating is an evolution. It takes time.

The proper body position in crossovers is difficult to explain. It is basically the position that you will have if you are about to sit down in a chair. Knees bent. Weight sorta forward.. back straight but at a angle..arms in front of you.. eyes FORWARD!.

When skating in this position.. as you are dialing your self into your comfort zone ( that will change as you get more comfortable) Certain stress and pain will indicate to you if you are in the right position. If you are feeling pain and quick fatigue on the tops of your thighs.. This is a quick indication that you are sitting back on your skates. If you slightly move your weight more FORWARD you will feel almost immediate relief from this pain. Its very common when you get lower to the floor.. and increase your speed to be apprehensive.. so people naturally repel themselves from speed.

With that.. if you bring your weight too far forward.. you will feel it in your lower back and shins. So if that is the case.. work your body weight back a little.. till your body feels relatively comfortable.

Once you have your body position and weight distribution figured out.. you can work on the actual mechanics of the crossover. your outside foot should come ALL the way around to the front..and your inside should be planted ahead of the outside foot. TOO many times I see that lazy inside foot only coming to the side of the outside foot.. it NEEDS to also reach forward to have a fluid movement with out studdar stepping. If you are finding your tripping.. or that it is feeling just out of sync.. most likely your not bringing that inner foot forward enough. IT can feel a lil strange cause you are transferring body weight in a awkward way.. but it will come in time.

Best of luck

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Old October 18th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #11
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Thanks to all of you who have posted.. I am going to add this thread to our skills folder in our own forum for the new girls

There is one thing that I have used to show new skaters that also works and I want to share that in case it may help you. Funny thing about skating is that there never seems to be just one way to learn anything - and different people can end up in the same place by taking totally different routes to get there! LOL

First, I suggest doing this at open skate, and not using the small shape of the "twinkie" in the middle. Instead, make much larger circles/oval around the rink, closer to the outside. Once you get the crossover down, tighten up that circle/oval until you are going around the twinkie

Next... skate down the side of the rink, and when you are about 20 feet from where you want to curve, lift up your right skate just a bit and coast the curve (If you cannot make the curve at all, you may need to loosen your trucks). Do this as often as you need to to become comfortable with having one skate up. As you get more comfortable, raise it a little higher each time.

Once you have that comfort/confidence, you can begin trying to cross over. Again, start about 20 feet from the point where you want your "corner" to be. Start either with small steps, or with the exaggerated steps described above. Either may work for you.

Now, as you start your first step, turn your shoulders in. What I mean is, if you are say on corner 1, turn your shoulders and eyes to look at corner 3; corner 2, look to 4; vice versa on both. Don't worry about turning your hips, or putting your right foot in enough to actually turn yourself. If you turn your shoulders and eyes to the opposing diagonal corner, your body, and then your feet, will naturally follow. A slight lean to the inside with your shoulders might at the very start feel awkward, but it will quickly make the turn even smoother. By the time you start to come out of the curve you will be looking down the straight-away at that same corner and should also naturally straighten out. Rinse and repeat lol

Hope that helps!
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Old October 19th, 2007, 01:33 AM   #12
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Last year when I was learning to crossover there were three things that really helped.
First you need to feel your thighs press together. Think less about how your skates are placed and more about the feeling of your thighs rubbing together. I know it sounds weird but if you focus on that you can get your legs in the right position.
Second think less about your right leg going over and more about your left leg pushing out and under. if you keep pushing your left behind and out, your right leg will have to go over to keep balance.
Last and most important is when you are at home put your skates on and do a grapevine (left over right or right over left) I did it while I was doing laundry. I had to walk up and down the hall anyway so I just did it sideways and crossovered until my legs got used to the action. It only took me about a week or two of that until I got the hang of things.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 03:43 AM   #13
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Default Oh Well I will post anyway


I see many great skaters have already posted suggestions, some like mine in various ways that will add to your skill. You haven't been here in awhile (9/18) so I stopped reading all the great posts yet will just enter this twizzle idea that probably someone else already posted. It is one of many ideas to help you with the cross over.

One foot skating and doing some weaves on that one foot.

First do it with your left
and then do it with your right.

The purpose is to gain you balance and comfort on each foot.

Yours in Skating, MA/NY Dave
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Old October 19th, 2007, 05:51 AM   #14
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Red face

Whenever I get stuck on something I just grab a fellow skater and ask for help. Having someone slow a move down so you watch it being executed properly is really helpful. Your teammates are your best resource! Good luck!
Love and Derby
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Old October 20th, 2007, 06:02 AM   #15
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Default left foot first!!!!!!

Thank you many skatingdave. This is BASIC!!!!
If you are going to walk left you pick up your left foot first. WHY? To tranfer your wieght.
Quad Speed skating 101!!!
Left foot step before the cone to set up the coner.
Have you ever wondered why you rolled half way though the corner and could not step when some one else just seemed to just walk away from you?
Reason: Your weight is not in front of you, it is leaning out in the turn.
Why? Because you picked up your right foot(which way did your weight go?)and/or you are not low enough to the track to control your center of gravity.
If you want to learn to do a proper crossover then step with your left foot first then follow it with a smooth right.
Try this and please comment back, I'd like to hear any responses positive or negative. thank you Dave.
Four fried chicken and a coke.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #16
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Default Tuck and Hydrant: cross-over training

Another trick someone brought to our league was a drill I'll call "Tuck and Hydrant" for easy memory. It seemed to be a BIG help for those that were very new to cross-overs or, just learning to skate all around. This can be done on just about any rink size or shape. It is probably best to use it on whatever track you will normally be skating on, for the best muscle memory and track feel.

To simplify explanation, I'll define a few terms first.

Tuck -
Lift your inner leg (Left leg for standard counter-clockwise skating) and tuck it under you, with an angle towards the outside, keeping your knee slightly bent. Almost as if you are trying to sit on your inner (left) leg.

Hydrant -
Lift your outer (right) leg and angle it towards the outside, again keeping the knee slightly bent. Almost as if you were a puppy, trying to pee on a hydrant.

The Drill -
As you approach curve 1, slightly lift your inner (left) leg and, go around the full curve on your outer (right) leg. As you approach curve 2, slightly lift your outer (right) leg and, go around the whole curve on your inner (left) leg.

As you get used to this motion, progress as soon as you are comfortable into a full "Tuck" or "Hydrant" position when going around the corners. Try to set up your WHOLE body in a pose as if you were in the middle of transitioning between feet in a cross-over. This part will evolve as you get better.

After quite a few laps like this, a cross-over will feel like the next natural step.

This drill over all will help you gain confidence in each foot's placement and guidance along the entire curve. Each foot will begin to memorize it's role in the entire skating process, thus making you think less and, react more. Which is exactly where you want to eventually be.

Make sure to keep the athletic stance kvw mentioned above during this whole exercise. As mentioned, this will help you with your stability, power and range of motion. About 90 degree angle of your knees is the power stance. This is where they are poised to give you the most power and movement at a moment's notice. It is almost impossible to get too low in derby.

Remember to also lean into your turns and, swing those arms!! When you use your arms to balance you, it allows you to put MUCH more into your pushes.

Once you get them down pretty well, there's another thing to try for a confidence builder: Sport your pads and, purposely take a few falls while doing cross-overs. Once you realize that it really doesn't hurt, you will be more confident in pushing yourself harder at perfecting your technique and, finding your own personal limits.

This drill is very basic but, still helps even some of the more advanced skaters when it comes to perfecting balance and muscle memory. When you think it is coming too easily to you, there is probably something you can work on. As was also mentioned above or in another post (I forget, too much lurking while waiting for membership to be approved I suppose, hehe), have a friend or another skater watch you as you cross-over or, while doing this drill. See if they can pick apart anything you could do better. then, work on that for quite a few laps.

Stances are like skates, honestly. There may be a "picture perfect" stance. But, the "perfect stance" may not be perfect for everybody. There are a billion factors that can influence that. Mainly body type. Someone 6'4" and 210 lbs will not have the exact same stance as someone 5'2" 100 lbs. Just get as close as you can and, keep working towards perfecting your own technique to fit your skating style and body type.

I'll try to record a video and post up the link when I get the chance.
Hope this helps ya a bit. And, dreadfully sorry about the long post.

Last edited by Wizard Of Laws; October 24th, 2007 at 10:37 PM.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #17
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Default Describe the circles

Hi Wizard of Laws,
and Freckle578 our starting poster,

A good post and the length and descriptions was great.
I really am going to have to read all the posts to this tread.

Originally Posted by Wizard Of Laws View Post
Hydrant -
Lift your outer (right) leg and angle it towards the outside, again keeping the knee slightly bent. Almost as if you were a puppy, trying to pee on a hydrant.
I had to giggle when I read this part since gal puppies don't quite go the same as guy puppies.

Originally Posted by Wizard Of Laws View Post
I am guessing that Freckles might have to do this on her own since she wasn't accepted. I am also guessing that you are using the artistic skating circles to do this practice or setting up cones.

If I am correct would you describe the circles or curves you are using so that she might be able to do this on her own at a rink during a slow time.

Yours in Skating, MA/NY Dave
P.S. It seems that you live very near RollerDudette in Western Maryland and might even go up to Roanoke.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 10:29 PM   #18
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Yeah, guess I coulda been more specific about it bein a guy puppy, eh? Might be kinda funny to see people tryin to strike a gal puppy pose skating around a corner.

And, I do apologize. My skating experience is limited to skateboards, aggressive inline, casual rink, and derby. I'm not entirely sure what an artistic circle is sized/shaped like. Although, I'm sure this drill could be done in one of them.

To be honest, it's probably best on a standard (WFTDA for most I suppose) derby track, for the best muscle memory of exact positioning. The first few times someone tries it, they might wanna just go on a standard rink oval though. Skate through the straight-aways, tuck and hydrant through the curves.

And, does Dudette live in Western MD? Diggin through the forums, I have read a bunch of her posts, from early ones all the way up to the more recent ones but, never saw a mention of exactly where in MD.
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Old November 10th, 2007, 03:15 AM   #19
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i used tuck and hydrant when i was first learning and it works like a charm

what also works is confidence. see yourself executing the perfect cross over

also, i noticed when i would face my hips and eyes in the direction i wanted to go the rest kinda came naturally
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Old November 10th, 2007, 03:24 AM   #20
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kate crime, thats one funny avatar lol!

Hey, put my skates on. If you can do crossovers with them, the rest is gravy lol.
Learning new tricks again!! Life is good. :-D
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