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Published on November 28th, 2011 | by Hot Quad

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The Pursuit of Derbyness: 5 Ways to Be a Better Skater

Open Skate. Adult Skate Night. Derby Night. No matter what you call it, this is your time by yourself to work on skating – so what do you do with it? Presumably, you can already skate in a counter-clockwise circle and time spent doing only that is time you could have spent catching up with those friends you used to have before derby or doing the long neglected dishes. Instead, go to your open session with a plan. The following ideas cover a range of ability levels, and it should go without saying that if an exercise is for only one foot or one side it should be practiced equally on either foot or either side. If you really want to be an awesome skater, be awesome on both feet, no excuses.

Balance:

Skate on one foot on the straightaway. * Skate on one foot on the curve. * Skate on one foot until you completely stop moving forward. * Skate on one foot while doing squats. * Skate on one foot and weave on that foot. * If you have enough space, skate on one foot and jerk the other leg around frantically to throw yourself off balance. * Skate with both feet on the ground and tap your toes, first both to the left, and both to the right to propel yourself forward using the edges of your wheels. * Do the preceding from a standstill. * Skate on one foot and tap your toe. Keep your heel on the ground. Jumping is cheating. * Skate on one foot and tap your toe from side to side to gain momentum. * Do the preceding from a standstill. * Start from the top and go through the list while skating backwards.

Crossovers:

Do scissors, sometimes also called figure eights. Scissor Video* Balance on your left leg. Push only with your right. * Balance on your right leg. Push to the right with your left foot, crossing behind your right foot. (this will feel very awkward) * Balance on your left leg. Push to the right with your right foot, setting it down in front of your left as if you were going to do a normal crossover without ever lifting up your left foot. * Go around the corners balancing only on your left skate with your right leg slightly extended as if you had just completed a push with your right leg. See how much of your weight you can put on the outside wheels of your left skate. See how low you can get while doing this. * Go around the corners balancing on your right skate with your left leg extended under your body and your foot pointing to the wall as if you had just completed a push with your left leg. See how much of your weight you can put on the inside wheels of your right skate. * Do very slow exaggerated crossovers. Keep low and balance on each leg before stepping with the opposite leg. There should never be a time when both feet are on the floor. * Drunken Sailor Crossovers. In other words, cross once with your right foot, once with your left foot. Repeat. * Crossovers in the opposite direction (whenever possible). * Crossovers with your hands behind your back. *

Strength/Endurance:

Skate low with all 8 wheels on the ground for 5 laps, then skate one lap normally. Lather, rinse, repeat. * Skate the corners and squat the straightaway. * Squat the corners and skate the straightaway. * Squat for an entire lap and then sprint two. * Jump, repeatedly. * Sprint half a lap then see how fast you can plow stop. Repeat. *

Things To Do With A Friend:

Play follow the leader. Do exactly what your friend is doing with her feet at exactly the same time. * Follow your friend as closely as you dare. Tell her to vary her speed and then try not to run into her when she stops. * Skate very near to the side of your friend. Do small crossovers while she’s next to you. * Squat and let your friend push you around the rink (assuming you won’t get kicked out for doing this). Balance on one foot on the corners. Switch. * Have your friend hold onto your hips and pull her around the rink. Have her balance on one foot on the corners (if it feels like she’s going to pull you over, her balance needs work). Switch. * Go to the middle of the rink or wherever you can skate back and forth. Start about 10 feet away from your friend, skate toward her and then transition when you pass her. Keep eye contact throughout. Stop and repeat on the opposite side. *

Crazy Shit:

There are any number of things that people will tell you are not strictly necessary to learn to do to play derby, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could…

Skate backwards as well as you skate forwards. * Follow a jam skater just to see if you can imitate whatever the hell they’re doing.Jam Skating * Sideways skating. Video of Sideways Skating * Partner dance on skates. * Point out the exact number of children who are picking their noses at this very moment (or number of people wearing white etc. Imagine how easy it will be to keep track of 9 other skaters when you’re used to keeping track of 40). * Shoot the moon (or the duck or whatever people call it in your part of the world) Like so* Remove or raise your toe stops and skate while balancing on just the forward two wheels of both skates. *

This list is by no means exhaustive. Ideas, thoughts, additional suggestions? Please leave them below.

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