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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 April 14th, 2014, 06:13 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 176
Default Guide to flat shifts

Flat shifts, also known as nowipers, are one of my favorite tricks. It's not the most impressive looking trick, and some say that it isn't necessary to learn the flat variant before learning the wheeling variants either, but it is still a good trick to learn for any skater. I'm going to be covering the inner variant, as seen in the video below. Outer shifts, which travel in the opposite direction have a few nuances which arguably make them more difficult, but for the most part they can be practiced in the same way. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to assume you're a right-foot dominant skater. Left-footed people can of course just reverse the directions.


Pre-requisite tricks:
Forwards one-foot
Backwards one-foot

Flat shift is essentially just repeated one-foot transitions. If you cannot skate on your right foot both forwards and backwards, then you'll need to practice those until you can. For many people, this means going back and learning backwards nelson on your off-foot. It might be easier for some people (it was for me) to learn how to do shifts on your left foot first, but then you'd have to relearn the trick with your right foot if you ever want to learn wheeling shifts so I wouldn't recommend it.

If you can already manage forwards and backwards one-foot, then you need to practice them more, especially backwards one-foot. Going forwards isn't too much of a problem, but backwards one-foot is deceptively difficult. Being able to pass 20 cones isn't enough here, practice until you can get through 20 cones smoothly, quickly, and in-control the entire way. Keep your torso straight, don't hunch forward, and practice on 50mm spacing cones as well. Make sure you're generating momentum at every cone, you should be able to leave the cones faster than you entered them. This step really cannot be overemphasized, the better you are at backwards one-foot, the easier of a time you'll have learning flat shifts. If you can't do shifts, then you're having trouble with transitions. If you're having trouble with transitions, then you should practice backwards one-foot until you aren't.

Once you have a good handle on those, then you can start practicing one-footed transitions. For these transitions you really want to turn into them, your feet shouldn't leave the ground. Start by going forwards on one foot, keeping your knees bent, your torso straight, and your arms spread to the side. Rotate your arms, so your left arm is facing in front of you and your right arm is behind you, and then turn sharply 90 degrees, rotating your torso so it's facing perpendicular to your direction of travel but your arms are still in the same position. You want your skate to come to a complete stop, and then use the leftover momentum to continue going backwards. Transitioning from backwards to forwards is a little different and more difficult because you can't really rotate your arms beforehand. but it's similar in the sense that you're rotating into the transition in order to turn 180 degrees.

When you can comfortably do both transitions, start practicing with them on the cones. I couldn't find a flat-footed video, but here's a video with wheeling transitions:
Aim to get one transition every three cones, and practice until you can clear a whole row that way. By the time you can do this well, you shouldn't have any trouble pulling off flat shifts, and in my experience I've actually had more trouble with 3+3 transitions than flat shifts.

In addition, it helps to learn how to generate momentum perpendicular to your skate from a complete standstill. These two videos demonstrate how this can be done:

A more thorough approach to learning flat shifts is to apply that technique and break down the trick into individual components, coming to a standstill after every cone. This should result in a more complete understanding and better execution of the trick, and done properly it should look like this:

Hope this helps!

tl;dr Keep practicing backwards one-foot and you'll get it eventually.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 05:33 AM   #2
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thanks shaw!
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Old June 24th, 2014, 11:07 AM   #3
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Location: Bratislava
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What I find difficult in shift is the back to front transition. What helped me to understand how to do it was learning both front and back "rekils". I was doing the front one for already some time and then somebody demonstrated to me how flat shift is done. At that time, I just could not repeat it after him. A bit later I started learning back rekil, because I have seen the same guy doing it at much higher speed than my front rekil so I though it might be useful learning both tricks.

Several months of front/back rekiling later I asked somebody else how to do flat shift and to my surprise I could do 10 cones nearly immediately at good speed. I was like, what's this supposed to mean?! And I realized that learning back rekil is what made the difference, because the back to front transition is the same between shift and back rekil. And similarly the other/easier front to back transition is used in front rekil.

Front Rekil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYmprJbwvlo
Back Rekil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP0M2ed2Ilc

Hope this helps somebody.
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Old July 1st, 2014, 10:22 AM   #4
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Posts: 176

Learning rekils first would definitely help. If you can do both well, then you should have no problems with learning shifts. Only reason I didn't mention them is because I find rekils to be harder than shifts, but there's no reason why you can't learn rekils first or to learn them both at the same time, since it's primarily the backwards to forwards transition that people find difficult.
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