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Beginning Skaters Forum This is the place for beginning skaters to ask questions and share their stories. We would love to hear about your experiences learning to skate. No question is too dumb!

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Old November 30th, 2015, 06:19 PM   #1
SueSkate
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Hello all fellow skaters. I have returned to quad skating at a local rink. It has been almost thirty years since I have skated. In my prime, I was a good skater. Not great, but good. I picked it up again just like riding a bike. All the basics came back easily. Here's my question. Why do I have such a fear of skating backwards? I am able to do it and yes, I have fallen (part of skating), but since the last minor fall, I am terrified to try again. Is it simply my age and maturity after thirty years that tells me to not do it?
Also, what advice can you give me as a confidence builder to continue to attempt backwards skating?
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Old December 1st, 2015, 08:34 AM   #2
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Is it the actual skating backwards that you're struggling with? Or, are you struggling with just the transitions? Are you OK once you're turned around? If it's just the transitions, is there a place at home you can practice them? Do you have a room with a nice hardwood floor? Smooth concrete garage floor?

My daughter is comfortable once she's turned around, but she struggles on transitions. So, I have her practicing them at home on the hardwood floor. She's also skating backwards slowly through the house, from room to room, which is helping her get comfortable turning in both directions. It seems to be working for her. Sometimes it's a lot easier when there's no one watching.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 09:33 AM   #3
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It might just be that you can't see as well. You have to crane your neck, and then you don't have the peripheral vision on the opposite side. It might be that you aren't quite as maneuverable. Making quick movements requires leaning, and you can't lean backwards without falling. It might just be a lack of practice.

It might also be a balance issue, which might be related to where your plate is mounted to the boot.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 01:07 PM   #4
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Theres a lot that goes into backward skating. Most people cant walk backwards very well let alone skate backwards.

I started helping a guy at my local rink to skate backwards with a bit more gusto. One of his problems was his foot positioning during a hard carve was only supported in the fore/aft direction and not laterally.

I recommend facing a wall and doing grapevine stepping off skates to the left and to the right keeping a set distance from the wall you are facing. When that is easy, speed it up until your at you leg movement speed limits and the pattern is smooth. Then adding a little bit of diagonal play into it. Like step forward to the left doing the grapevine foot movements, and go backwards at the same rate to the right. Then go straight to the left. And start that same diagonal forward to the right then backwards to the left. When you got it all on shoes, try some of it on skates.

Move onto edge control like doing a skiing slalom movement with both feet. Then learn to buold and shed speed with that movement.

Progress to doing slalom movements on 1 foot, and then to build and shed speed. (With your left and right of course)

When your comfortable, do the same things for backwards skating. Learning to carve edges and use slalom movement to build or shed speed in an instant is essential for backwards skating confidence.

You also need to be able to transition from forwards to backwards in either direction at any speed your capable of skating at. And of course from backwards to forwards too, so if things get too hairy while going in reverse you can not only flip back around to forwards quickly but slow down/speed up and change direction or even transition from backwards to forwards to sidesurf to backwards if stuff gets real bad.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 04:33 PM   #5
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I recommend that beginners start by being aware of their body position. Keep their hips and shoulders over their heels with bent knees. once this is out of wack you can loose your balance very quickly.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 04:57 PM   #6
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Thank you so much for your replies and suggestions. I must say that I can skate backwards, pushing my feet from side to side. And actually fairly smoothly. As mentioned by mass_quads, I believe it is the transitions that I fear. And also the not being able to "see" over my shoulder. Of course I know my best resolve is practice, practice, practice! I will certainly take into account the sight advice and work harder on the transitions. I wish I had room in my home to practice, unfortunately I do not. However, I will be at the rink tonight and spend 1/2 hour just doing transitions and goose necking.
Oh how I wish I had to rink to myself...lol. Falling is never pretty when surrounded by laughing kids.

I'll keep you all posted as to my progress.

Blessings
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Old December 1st, 2015, 05:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SueSkate View Post
Thank you so much for your replies and suggestions. I must say that I can skate backwards, pushing my feet from side to side. And actually fairly smoothly. As mentioned by mass_quads, I believe it is the transitions that I fear. And also the not being able to "see" over my shoulder. Of course I know my best resolve is practice, practice, practice! I will certainly take into account the sight advice and work harder on the transitions. I wish I had room in my home to practice, unfortunately I do not. However, I will be at the rink tonight and spend 1/2 hour just doing transitions and goose necking.
Oh how I wish I had to rink to myself...lol. Falling is never pretty when surrounded by laughing kids.

I'll keep you all posted as to my progress.

Blessings
So, when I first started to try new tricks at 47. I had not fallen in 15 years, but then I decided to try new stuff. So, I did have a bit of an issue that people would laugh when I fell. Now your attitude about falling will change and people will pick up on it and stop laughing.

Also, I invented a get back up move, kind of "I meant to do that" move. I do a backwards summersault to one knee then quickly do the regular hands on knee and push up. It's just a smooth transistion from down to up. People don't laugh anymore.

The middle school kids at my home rink do push-ups when they fall as their, "I meant to do that move" It's all in good fun, no one likes being laughed at.
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Old December 1st, 2015, 07:23 PM   #8
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Good comments above about falling. When I first got back into skating I had a few pretty good falls and ended up with sore wrists and forearms because I didn't know how to fall (I probably should have been wearing wrist guards). I'm much better at falling now and I fall most sessions unless it's so crowded that I have to play it safe. Sometimes I catch myself before I go down, and sometimes I don't. No matter what I get back on my feet as quick as I can and drill the hell out of whatever move I was attempting when I fell.

Regarding vision, I try to aim my head in the opposite direction of the turn as it gives a wider view of what's behind me. My biggest fear while skating backwards is running into someone. I try to find a break in the crowd where there's no one directly behind me before I flip around backwards.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 02:16 AM   #9
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Well, had a good session tonight. Skated backwards for about 1/2 hour. I stayed upright the whole time...yay! I tried the front to back, back to front transitions and did fairly well. I can't seem to get my feet in that mohawk position effortlessly. I suppose that will come with time. I did the looking over my shoulder thing. It really seemed to help being able to see where I was going. Also the looking over my shoulder slightly distracted me from looking at my feet. I know foot watching is a bad habit and I need to stop doing that.
Love the comment about your falls. The way kids skate today with all the jam skating, my falls might look planned! Thanks for that advice.
One more question... do you think that making my wheels "tighter" will aid in my backwards quest? The bearings I have are so fast. I thought that tightening the wheels might slow me down a tad and make it easier.

Thanks all

Last edited by SueSkate; December 2nd, 2015 at 02:28 AM. Reason: spelling error
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 10:44 AM   #10
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Well, had a good session tonight. Skated backwards for about 1/2 hour. I stayed upright the whole time...yay! I tried the front to back, back to front transitions and did fairly well. I can't seem to get my feet in that mohawk position effortlessly. I suppose that will come with time. I did the looking over my shoulder thing. It really seemed to help being able to see where I was going. Also the looking over my shoulder slightly distracted me from looking at my feet. I know foot watching is a bad habit and I need to stop doing that.
Love the comment about your falls. The way kids skate today with all the jam skating, my falls might look planned! Thanks for that advice.
One more question... do you think that making my wheels "tighter" will aid in my backwards quest? The bearings I have are so fast. I thought that tightening the wheels might slow me down a tad and make it easier.

Thanks all
Yea, I used to have a looking at my feet habit. Takes some doing to stop. As your posture and style improves that should stop. But to nip it, try starring at the corner between the ceiling and walls way out in front of you as long as you can. Congratulate yourself when you can remember to do it for a whole song, then 1/2 hour, then whole session.

Don't tighten the wheels to where they slow down. Safety should be some concern, but you did just strap wheels to your feet.
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 11:57 AM   #11
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Learn to fall.

We spend too much time trying not to fall, instead of building falling skills. It is ESSENTIAL to know how to fall and practice it. Because you WILL fall eventually, doing something. Falling skills and footwork drills will make you much safer for your entire life, not just while skates are on your feet.

On the watching your feet.. its essential sometimes. You need to work form while skating and get into a repeating step, then check your footwork visually for a couple strides, to see if what it feels like your doing is actually what your doing. Also to check clearances for crossovers and other footwork. Of course it should be done when you have adequate floor space to ignore everything else for a moment.

How much clearance is there from your right heel to your left toe when doing crossovers? How much clearance do you have from a lifted foot to the floor during a crossover? These are things to work on as well. A foot off the floor is virtually worthless.

I work on keeping my feet super close to the floor and just barely miss my heel/toes during crossovers. I know some must step over their skates. Like smaller people on speed inlines is a good example, but minimal lift or minimal stepping out in front or behind in favor of a better lateral positioning will help your skating overall.


SueSkate, there may be some loggers in your area, what rink do you go to?
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 04:54 PM   #12
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Learn to fall.

We spend too much time trying not to fall, instead of building falling skills. It is ESSENTIAL to know how to fall and practice it. Because you WILL fall eventually, doing something. Falling skills and footwork drills will make you much safer for your entire life, not just while skates are on your feet.
How do I "learn to fall"? It seems so unnatural to fall on purpose. Can you give some methods on how to fall.

Thanks
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Old December 2nd, 2015, 10:26 PM   #13
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Your first thought is the correct one, DON'T practice falling, don't make any muscle memory or learn any moves(to fall). Falling happens, if you're in an environment that makes you fall often wear wrist guards, do make muscle memory to skate backwards, and do 180 and 360 spins keeping all 8 wheels on the ground, backward or forward, lower the hips, have fun, think positive.
OK, should you fall, you have a very heavy weight on your feet, be careful, it changes the way you roll if you fall at speed, falls caused by others are still falls, wrist guards.

Skating backwards is more fun than skating forwards, going forward you're fighting against your skeleton all the time, works good for speed, just max out your physical amount of movement and you're going as fast as possible, while going backward, your body just flows, no resistance to any movement, much more agility, speed isn't necessary, top speed(such as going forward) isn't possible, being outside is safer, no people to hit.
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 04:04 AM   #14
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How do I "learn to fall"? It seems so unnatural to fall on purpose. Can you give some methods on how to fall.

Thanks
Squat down like your going to catch a dodgeball scooped up in to your arms. Now actually, if you go to this stance you probably wont fall. It's a good, "catch a fall before falling", position. But force yourself down on your backside from there. Very easy fall.

Going backwards learn to arabesque (lift one leg straight back). Even if your going down you've slowed your fall and your hand is two inches from the ground (do wear wrist guards). Even if your going fast the fall will be all spread out and slidy. Another easy fall.

The toughest and most dangerous fall (that I have encountered) is the hit a piece of candy going backwards and your going down backwards. You must tuck and roll this one. Practice a backwards summersault from standing on carpet. This should be a second nature to a backwards fall. Falling backwards all stiffy like is seriously bad mumbo jumbo. Best case tail bone, worst case back of the head.

I think others know even better ways to falls, these are just what I use. I hope others chime in.

Last edited by Derrick; December 3rd, 2015 at 04:12 AM. Reason: more info
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 06:44 AM   #15
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Your first thought is the correct one, DON'T practice falling, don't make any muscle memory or learn any moves(to fall)

FAIL, you are a MORON if you believe that. . Learning to fall is all about safety, form, and coordination. It is the art of displacing inertia into small impacts rather than large ones. Thats ok though, you ho ahead and never learn and break your body up when you fail at breaking down a fall into less damaging impacts.



Falling happens, if you're in an environment that makes you fall often wear wrist guards, do make muscle memory to skate backwards, and do 180 and 360 spins keeping all 8 wheels on the ground, backward or forward, lower the hips, have fun, think positive.
OK, should you fall, you have a very heavy weight on your feet, be careful, it changes the way you roll if you fall at speed, falls caused by others are still falls, wrist guards.

Here is yet another example of you giving bad advice. Wrist guards dont protect bad form when falling. Such as body and arm positioning that can lead to broken bones or dislocated joints. This is solved not by padding but learning the proper body positioning during a fall. It MUST be taught, and is not a natural reaction. Tumbling classes or martial arts classes, not just "wrist guards" will be what saves your body.

Skating backwards is more fun than skating forwards, going forward you're fighting against your skeleton all the time, works good for speed, just max out your physical amount of movement and you're going as fast as possible, while going backward, your body just flows, no resistance to any movement, much more agility, speed isn't necessary, top speed(such as going forward) isn't possible, being outside is safer, no people to hit.
Where you get this stuff... "fighting your skeleton". Safer outside? Not everyone skates in a tennis court. Or in some areas people are hard pressed to find ground that is skate friendly which isnt occupied by vehicles to worry about. Dont know about you but id rather be hit by a kid than some self righteous idiot behind the wheel.


Sue, I will get you some falling videos, on how to practice safely and reduce the risk of an improper fall injury. Shourlder dislocations and broken collar bones can be almost avoided entirely with correct falling form. Its not that you will or wont need it. Its when you need it that matters. Because if you skate you will fall.
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 01:52 PM   #16
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Truly a case of "Angels tread where fools leap"

If the op wishes to follow the advice to throw themselves on hardwood or cement so be it another person with broken bones

In the meantime, forum rule #1 is invoked

Jurt ignore Mort
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 02:59 PM   #17
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Truly a case of "Angels tread where fools leap"

If the op wishes to follow the advice to throw themselves on hardwood or cement so be it another person with broken bones

In the meantime, forum rule #1 is invoked

Jurt ignore Mort
Yea, because tumbling and gymnasts learn their feats on cheese grater rough concrete.

I dont know where you get the idea anyoje is or was proposing learning to fall on rock hard surfaces.


Edit

Video here

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BUWOjTYoc7k

I didnt watch the whole thing but I skipped forward and he was speaking about keeping your chin tucked in during a fall. VERY IMPORTANT. Most people never think about it. Its a learned skill to tuck your chin and pull your head away from the direction of impact.

Martial arts vids.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=THTQlThu8rE

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MDwVrR5rKBg

The "ki up/out" yells they do are to force a memory of exhale really, same as when a boxer hits or is hit, the expuksion of air protects you or produces power , and in breakfalls its power for the resistance or breaking of the inertia as you hit the ground.


Ill try to find better slower videos later when I have time. The floors they are doing this on have high density foam padding and dont really hurt to fall on.
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Old December 3rd, 2015, 06:30 PM   #18
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These videos gave me an Aha moment! Makes perfect sense to roll with the fall instead of trying to stop the fall with an arm.
Next time, and there will be a next time, in that split second of falling, I will try this technique.

Thanks!
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Old December 4th, 2015, 12:35 AM   #19
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These videos gave me an Aha moment! Makes perfect sense to roll with the fall instead of trying to stop the fall with an arm.
Next time, and there will be a next time, in that split second of falling, I will try this technique.

Thanks!
I wouldnt attempt to try it out of the blue ya have to practice. A bed is usually the softest thing someone readily owns. One can kneel in it qnd prqctice rolling onto their hip, to side to shoulder, chin tucked and slapping out with an arm, downward and tward the hip, this breqks down the inertia.

There are some gymnasts that do parkor running and can do ridiculous flips lands and distance falls by breaking down the fall into a smooth load displacing movement.

Falling is going to happen eventually, be it walking, running, riding a bike or skating. Might as well be prepared.
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Old December 4th, 2015, 02:21 AM   #20
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I'm with you Mort.

I'm dating someone who is a blackbelt in numerous martial arts as well as an instructor. When I said something about a fall skating, he said "you need to learn to fall correctly" and showed me some techniques.
Next time I fell I slammed down hard the same old way. When I told him, first thing out of his mouth "have you been practicing what I showed you? you need to make it muscle memory because you don't have time to think about it when it happens".
Of course I haven't been practicing. Ouch.
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