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In-line Skating FAQ: Slalom (2.4)

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Archive-name: sports/skating/inline-faq/part5

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   _r.s.s.inline FAQ: Techniques - Slalom_
     _________________________________________________________________
   
                              TECHNIQUES - SLALOM
                                       
   
   
   Last modified: Wednesday, 04-Sep-96 13:02:06 EDT
   
   A Web page devoted to slalom skating was announced in October 1995.
   It's called cones+wheels: the inline skating slalom page and can be
   found at:
   http://www.skatecity.com/C+W/
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
   
   From: Jim Aites (jim@hpsmpk.lvld.hp.com)
   Date: Unknown
   
   The movement known as a 'slalom' is normally applied to the art of
   dodging in and around a series of obstacles. Being pulled by a
   ski-boat or weaving thru the poles on a ski slope are two well known
   examples. This discussion will try to address some of the joys and
   techniques used when effecting this move on in-line skates.
   
   There is both a natural 'swing' and a physical 'compression' that come
   into play while doing a slalom. The 'swing' is durn near natural, but
   by understanding and making proper use of the 'compression' it is
   possible to use this technique to slow your speed, maintain, or even
   increase it.
   
   _Note_: Although the slalom can be accomplished in a stylish manner by
   almost any skater, the ability to use the technique to slow down
   should _not_ be considered a replacement for any of the more standard
   braking methods. Also, I believe that serious slaloming is well within
   the scope of the intermediate skater. Although novice skaters have
   more important things to learn before slaloming...like stopping...I
   feel that is is something that any skater can/should do.
   
   Before trying to address the mode used to change your speed, let's
   talk about the simplicity of the move while coasting or going down a
   very slight grade.
   
   _Basics:_
   The slalom movement is based on the transfer of weight during a
   continuous series of serpentine turns. This linking of alternating
   turns can be a slow-and-easy movement, or it can be as fast as skiing
   a tight mogul field.
   
   Although there is a 'classic' position for doing a slalom (crouched
   with knees and feet together), it may be done with feet in an open
   placement or even in the water-skiing (one foot in front) position.
   The most important thing to keep in mind is your ability to handle
   your steering and speed.
   
   Generally speaking, a couple of standard down-hill skiing suggestions
   come to mind. The most reasonable of these is the idea of keeping your
   shoulders and head facing straight down the hill (or direction of
   travel). Your upper body _can_ provide added stability and leverage to
   manage the slalom movement itself. Giving yourself this extra
   stability will help a lot in avoiding an 'over-rotation' which happens
   when you just ride the turn, and then try to go the other way...only
   to find that your momentum wants to carry you around even further!
   
   _Steering:_
   I mention this first because it is _critical_ that you be able to
   steer your skates without lifting them. As a point in fact, you will
   not be able to do a free swinging one-footed slalom without mastering
   this type of steering in one form or another. The following is a basic
   practice move suitable for anyone, including novices.
   
   One-footed slalom: (suggested method - author)
   
   One of the simplest moves and most important ideas in skating (imho)
   is the ability to do small slalom movements while on one foot.
   Steering with one foot is _basic_ for doing stable cross-overs,
   free-style, surviving a one-footed recovery, or...doing slaloms.
   
   While moving at a slow glide on one foot, simply shift your weight
   comfortably onto your heel. _Hey_, easy there! Just lift your toes a
   bit. No need to try heel-walking yet! Now, simply use your body and/or
   free leg to help point your toes in the direction you want to go.
   Weave.
   
   Note: I know I said one-footed, but I meant either foot. Practice
   _both_! This is _easy_, my 7 year old does it. She found that she
   needed to practice it to help her do controlled T-stops.
   
   The basics of slaloming hinge on your ability to steer in some manner
   similar to this. PLEASE TAKE NOTE!
   
   _Safety thought:_
   The 'feet side-by-side' stance used often in slaloming is probably one
   of the more dangerous (from a front-to-back balance perspective)
   things about it. The one-foot forward water-skiing stance makes a
   great deal of sense when moving between smooth/rough pavement. In
   either event, beware sand and water! It is also suggested that your
   first attempts at slowing while going downhill be done on a _wide_
   road with _no_ traffic. (nice grassy shoulders next to the road might
   be a good idea as well) If you find yourself picking up speed instead
   of slowing down, just continue a turn till you are coasting back up
   the hill.
   
   _Changing speeds:_ (This is where it gets interesting.)
   In the process of 'carving' a turn (with both feet), you will find
   that there is a point of compression. Adding pressure before the
   furthest swing of each turn will increase (or help maintain) your
   speed. Letting yourself 'give' just after the point will slow you
   down. (if this reminds you of changing speeds while on a child's swing
   then you might have the idea ;')
   
   When going down a hill, simply doing a slalom is _not_ a sure way to
   slow you down. It will probably keep you from going as fast as a
   straight run, but that doesn't mean that you won't pick up enough
   speed to lose control. Making your turns wider or 'deeper' will help
   shed more speed because you are spending more time going diagonal or
   crossing than heading down the fall-line. It is important that you
   find the give-point (after compression) and learn to take full
   advantage of it.
   
   While practicing your slaloms, you may be tempted to try 'shreading'
   some of your speed during each turn by unweighting the outside foot
   and then shoving your heel outward with a bit of extra force. This can
   help in slowing, but it is awkward and dangerous in execution. There
   is a tendency for the heel to 'catch'. Fair warning!
   
   Other pseudo-slalom moves:
     * Linked cross-overs with a slalom type one-footed glide.
     * Outside leans...use the opposing foot. (counter-intuitive...looks
       great!)
     * Catch the give-point of the compression, and use it for a 'spring'
       type action. Care to try 'popping' a 360' in the middle of a hill?
       
   
   
   _Just for fun:_
   After you've proven to yourself that you can maintain or increase your
   speed by pumping a slalom, try heading _up_ a narrow sidewalk. Amaze
   your friends or passing motorists.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
   
   From pbrown@math.berkeley.edu
   Date: Sat Sep 4 19:47:25 1993
   
   I have a few comments to add. My skating is currently cross-training
   for veldrome racing (bicycles), but I also have experience racing
   slalom and GS.
   
   One of the things that you leave out is the necessity of keeping one's
   weight forward. That is, imho, the main use of poles in skiing. The
   pole shouldn't be planted next to you; it needs to be planted _in
   front_ of you. To maintain control in a slalom and use the "swing"
   properly, your weight needs to be forward. My suggestion for practice
   is skating by carving turns with alternate feet. The more you flex
   your boot, the more your rear wheels drag, and the more speed you lose
   on each turn.
   
   To practice pole planting, sit in a chair. Sit forward a little, and
   move your feet back some, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Now,
   reach out with your hand and lean forward. See how that feels? Now try
   it on skis at 50 mph...
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
   
   From: Hank Hughes (thigpen@ccs.neu.edu)
   Date: Unknown
   
   Jim Aites (jim@hpsmpk.lvld.hp.com) wrote:
   
     Note: I know I said one-footed, but I meant either foot. Practice
     _both_! This is _easy_, my 7 year old does it. She found that she
     needed to practice it to help her do controlled T-stops.
     The basics of slaloming hinge on your ability to steer in some
     manner similar to this. PLEASE TAKE NOTE!
     
   
   
   Very _true_ ... but
   
   Another approach may be too shift the weight forward (onto the ball of
   your foot). Start on a patch of grass/carpet with your feet in a
   v-stance. Then lunge like a classic fencing champion by mimicking a
   stroke, but keep the weight on the balls of your feet. You're more
   nimble with the weight on the balls of your feet. Then lift the
   trailing leg slowly.
   
   _Concentrating on the final stance:_
   With a lot of flex into the tongue of boot and knee, try to drop a
   perpendicular from behind the support leg's knee down to the space
   between the 1st & 2nd wheel. Basically, if you look down you should
   _not_ be able to see your foot because your knee is in the way. To
   balance, press on your outside toes to turn in, or press on your
   inside `BIG' toe to turn out
   
   _In motion:_
   To steer, point your knee into the direction you wish to turn. This
   rolls your ankle & center edge into the appropriate inide/outside
   edge. Now you can grind through turns (& hear the whoosh from breaking
   traction).
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
   
   From: Robert Schmunk (rbs@skatecity.com)
   Written: November 28, 1994
   Revised: October 20, 1995
   
   Having become a regular at New York City's Central Park slalom course,
   I guess I'm qualified to throw in some comments on the topic:
   
   _The Course:_
   The slalom course lies in the recreational lane of the Central Park
   loop, between Tavern on the Green and the Sheep Meadow. Just skate in
   the West 67th St. entrance to the park on a sunny weekend afternoon
   and you can't miss it. Due to its location, the course has a good
   slope and you don't have to get up much speed before you start down.
   Slightly disconerting is that the slope is steepest in the middle of
   the course, so that it feels like there's a "break" at about the ninth
   cone. Depending on the trick, the slope sometimes means that you have
   to "slalom faster" near the bottom of the course because the cones are
   coming up at you much faster. The course also has a slight curve to
   the right, which has been known to disturb visiting slalom skaters
   from other towns.
   
   The standard Central Park slalom course is a series of 27 cones,
   spaced six feet apart. However, the number of cones has varied on
   occasion; when the National Slalom Championship was held here in
   October 1994, the course was 30 cones long. I've heard that in other
   towns, slalom courses are sometimes only about 15 cones long, but my
   guess is that future competitions will use closer to 30 because it
   provides more opportunity for video-genic combination stunts.
   
   When measuring off an area for a slalom course, don't forget approach
   and exit areas. The Central Park normally has a 60-foot approach, with
   skaters starting anywhere within that distance, but when pedestrian
   traffic is light, it may be extended to 200 feet. Depending on how
   fast you're moving and how hard you can brake, you will also need from
   5 to 100 feet to stop.
   
   Occasionally, when the expert skaters want to demonstrate how good
   they are relative to those who are merely advanced (i.e., separate the
   men from the boys), or if they want to compete against each other
   without anybody else getting in the way, they will set up a course
   with the cones spaced at smaller intervals. Most frequently the
   distance is decreased to four feet, but lately there's been a lot of
   experimenting with three-foot separation and an occasional attempt at
   a vicious two-foot separation. We call such tight courses "technical
   courses". A clean run through a 30-cone course with three-foot spacing
   is just about the finest thing I've seen done on a pair of skates, and
   provides great satisfaction if you can do it yourself.
   
   The cone themselves are 8 or nine inches tall and made out of orange
   plastic. The original square bases have been amputated. Cones of this
   size are available in different hardnesses, but the harder kind is
   best. Softer cones are less apt to fly away when you hit one, and they
   often bend around your skate in what seems like a deliberate attempt
   to induce a case of road rash on your exposed flesh. You can usually
   get cones at sporting goods stores like Herman's, at around $2-$3 per
   cone.
   
   When the Central Park slalom course is not open, I've seen desperate
   cone skaters rummage for pop cans, paper cups, or Gatorade bottles and
   use them for cones, perhaps filling them with water to keep them from
   blowing away. However, the height of regular cones can be
   disconcerting if you've practiced a lot using pop cans, so if you're
   serious about slalom skating, get some real cones.
   
   _The Tricks:_
   One nice thing about learning to slalom skate is that everybody's
   interests diverge after the couple tricks, and if you stick at it for
   awhile, you may be doing tricks that the pros (or at least the
   supposed experts) have never learned. One woman I know devoted herself
   to learning every conceivable variant of the forward criss-cross (see
   below) and was doing things after six months that guys who have been
   skating cones for four years couldn't do.
   
   One last comment before introducing types of tricks: You'll likely be
   wasting your time if you make your first attempt at many of these
   tricks on a real slalom course. For example, if you can't maintain
   your balance on one skate for ten seconds as you skate down a smooth
   empty street, you're not going to be able to do a forward one-foot.
   Even after having mastered most of the basic tricks below and a few
   major variants, I usually practice new ones away from the cones, or on
   a short course that only has six or eight cones.
   
   Dividing into categories, there are:
     * _Forwards tricks_
       
        _Parallel:_
                The first trick all slalom skaters learn, and you don't
                need a set of cones to do so. Just place your feet next
                to each other, with one leading by perhaps an inch or so,
                and alternate which one is leading, thus introducing a
                serpentine motion into the line of your path. The posture
                for the rest of the body is very much like that used by
                downhill skiers, and whenever a newbie me asks how to do
                a parallel, the first thing I ask is "Do you ski?"
                Some other tips: 1) Remember that ski instructors are
                always reminding newbies to bend their knees. 2) Keep
                your hands out but not up (i.e., below shoulder level)
                and somewhat in front of your shoulders. Avoid waving
                them around a lot, but use small adjustments like a
                tightrope walker. And 3) on your first few tries,
                concentrate on a clean skate all the way down the course
                and don't worry about skipping a cone or three if it
                makes you feel safer.
                I also found that I got the smoothest parallel if my
                knees were practically glued to each other. I jettisoned
                my knee pads in order to attain this, but you'll have to
                evaluate that safety decision for yourself.
                
        _Monoline:_
                Exactly what it sounds like. The skates form a straight
                line, with the heel of one just ahead of the toe of the
                other. This is a good next-step trick to learn after the
                parallel.
                A variant of the monoline which one frequently sees is
                usually called a "telemark" due to its similarity to the
                cross-country skiing posture. Basically, the trailing
                foot is tilted so that only its toe wheel is touching the
                ground. Usually the skater is crouched low to the ground,
                often with one knee almost scraping asphalt.
                
        _One-foot:_
                One of the first tricks attempted though not always one
                of the first mastered (some people just can't balance on
                one foot through a 150-foot slalom), the one-foot brings
                out the greatest variety in different approaches to doing
                it, all of them valid. It's simply skating down the
                course with only one foot on the ground, but the variety
                comes in when each skater decides what to do with his
                extra foot. Some hold it out to the side, some hold it
                behind, some in front. Some use the extra foot like a
                rudder, some kick like a Rockette, and some hold it like
                a dead fish on its way to the garbage can.
                Perhaps the coolest variant is the "flying eagle", in
                which the extra foot is held behind you and you get down
                in so low a crouch that its wheels may actually be above
                your head. This can be an extremely fast maneuver, and if
                you're of short, stocky build, you'll move like a bullet
                and excite applause.
                
        _Criss-cross:_
                Using a scissoring motion of the legs, you cause your
                skates to pass each cone on opposite sides, with your
                legs crossed at every other cone. To do this, you'll
                likely need to cock your hips so that one foot is always
                ahead of the other and so that your skates don't bump as
                you cross and uncross your legs. (Learning the forward
                monoline is an excellent way of getting your hips in the
                right location.) If your leading foot also has a brake
                mounted on the heel, you'll need even more clearance.
                Even though the criss-cross is one of the first few
                tricks a slalom skater may learn, it seems to be one
                which you _always_ have to pay a lot of attention to what
                you're doing, because when your legs are crossed, there's
                little room for recovery if something goes wrong. I've
                banged up my left knee pretty badly from this.
                
        _Cutbacks:_
                This looks a bit like a criss-cross, but the crossing
                maneuver involves lifting one skate entirely off the
                ground and swinging it around behind the other before
                putting it back down. Unlike a criss-cross, though, your
                legs should be crossed at every cone.
                
     * _Sideways tricks_
       Getting your hips to turn out properly to do sideways maneuvers
       requires differing levels of stress depending on your personal
       anatomy. Some people can do this almost naturally; some can't do
       it at all, no matter how hard they try. It took me a couple weeks
       of practice and stretching to work up to a sidesurf; in the
       meantime, I had a couple skate sessions which ended with my left
       knee feeling wrenched because I was twisting it rather than my hip
       joint. But just recently (Aug 1995), I had one of the best
       speedskaters on the planet ask me for any tips I could give him on
       sidesurfing because he'd been trying to learn it for months.
       An exercise that helps is lying on the floor in a frog-like
       position. Turn your hips out and bend your knees so that the soles
       of your feet are up against each other. Now try moving your feet
       inward (towards your body).
       
        _Sidesurf:_
                Think of this as a sideways monoline, with your trailing
                skate oriented so that its toe is pointing from whence
                you came. Because of the position that this puts your
                body in, some people may call it a spread-eagle. However,
                there is some room for variety, as some sidesurfers will
                skate with their heels almost touching, and others will
                hold them a couple feet apart; some skate standing almost
                straight and others crouched down with derriere sticking
                out.
                A lot of sidesurfers use a pumping motion in their
                leading arm to get their bodies to swing around the
                cones, but with practice, you can turn a sidesurf into a
                very graceful maneuver which requires only a little
                movement by your leg muscles.
                
        _Parallel sidesurf:_
                Instead of the wheels all being in a line, the skates are
                side-by-side but still pointing in opposite directions.
                If your skates are right next to each other, it can be
                very difficult to turn doing this trick, but if they're a
                few inches apart, it's much easier. Your feet may keep
                trying to drift apart into a regular sidesurf, so this
                can be difficult hold.
                
        _Independent:_
                Again, skates are pointed in opposite directions, but a
                scissoring motion is introduced so that the skates pass
                the cones on opposite sides. I found the most difficult
                part of doing an indy was getting my trailing skate to
                come around, as my leg sometimes seemed to lock into one
                position. (This may be a symptom that you're relying on
                one foot to do too much of the work. Try to even it out.)
                Getting low to the ground, almost sitting on the cones,
                seems to help.
                While the other sideways maneuvers can be done fairly
                gracefully, the independent is almost always raw action.
                If you really push it, you can actually accelerate quite
                rapidly, so that an indy becomes one of the fastest
                slalom tricks there is.
                
        _Wave:_
                Seemingly uses the same posture as the sidesurf and a
                similar sort of zig-zag motion, but rather than follow a
                single line, the skates are spaced fairly widely and pass
                each cone on opposite sides, like an independent. Because
                of the latter, it's also called the "out-of-phase
                independent". It's certainly easier to do than describe.
                
     * _Backwards tricks_
       In order to see where he is going, a backwards skater can either
       look over or under one of his shoulders. My choice was to twist my
       shoulders so that they're oriented just about in a line with
       cones, and I hold my leading hand (a) low so that I can look over
       the shoulder and (b) out a bit so that I look towards it and see
       the cones coming up rather than watch what my feet are doing.
       
        _Monoline:_
                Perhaps the simplest travelling backwards trick, and
                possibly the one I've most frequently seen. When learning
                this I found that it helps if the toe of the leading foot
                and the heel of the trailing foot are not really close to
                each other but are separated by six inches or so. This
                allows some slight independence in the motion of the two
                feet. After you've got the basic motion down, you can
                bring your feet closer together and synchronize their
                motion.
                
        _Parallel:_
                Many skaters who attempt this keep slipping into a
                backwards monoline. I believe this is because of a
                feeling that they are losing control as they speed up,
                and a monoline is easier to do at such a time. One reason
                for this statement is that I see more children than
                adults attempt _and_ succeed at this trick, and
                children's skates are notorious for having wheels that
                don't spin very fast. Alternatively, maybe kids just
                don't know the trick is "hard" and that they ought to
                learn something else first.
                
        _One-foot:_
                Slaloming backwards on one foot is a real crowd pleaser
                and also personally satisfying, so it's a good trick to
                learn.
                Like the forward one-foot, there is some variation in
                what skaters do with the lifted foot, but not as much and
                there is often a reason for the posture adopted. For
                example, skaters who assume a backward one-foot by
                approaching the course sideways often hold the lifted
                foot so that it's wheels are perpendicular to the cones,
                while those who approach skating backwards will hold it
                so that the wheels are in a line with the cones. The
                former style is useful when you are first learning the
                trick because it allows you to move the entire lifted leg
                (along with your leading arm) in a sawing motion that
                shifts your weight so that you zig-zag around the cones.
                On the other hand, holding the lifted foot in line with
                the cones allows you to more easily put it back down the
                same way so that you can continue skating backwards,
                perhaps while doing a combination trick (see below).
                
        _Criss-cross:_
                Many practitioners feel this is easier to do than a
                forward criss-cross because you have to cock your hips
                anyway so that you can turn your head to see where you're
                going. However, this presumes you know how to skate
                backwards in the first place. I will admit, though, that
                it seems safer to do a _fast_ backwards criss-cross than
                a forwards one.
                The leg motion in a backwards criss-cross is very similar
                to that of a monoline, so if you're having trouble
                learning one of them, try practicing the other. Odds are
                that if you can master one, you can get the other fairly
                quickly.
                
        _Out-of-phase criss-cross (or backwards wave):_
                Another hard-to-describe trick, like its cousin the wave.
                It is similar to the backwards criss-cross because the
                legs are crossed at every other cone, but unlike that
                trick, it has a more zig-zag motion like the backward
                monoline.
                
        _Cutback:_
                Similar to the forward cutback, but the crossing motion
                is done by lifting and swinging the skates around in
                "front" of you, by which I mean the direction you came
                from. The basic motion looks sort of like a series of
                crossover turns, but you happen to be traveling
                backwards.
                
     * _Tilted-skate tricks_
       This is an awkward name for a category of trick variants in which
       at least one skate has been tilted so that only one of its wheels
       is actually touching asphalt.
       
        _Extended and double-extended tricks:_
                The word "extended" simply means doing one of the usual
                tricks with one skate (almost always the leading skate)
                tilted so that only the heel wheel is touching the
                ground. Most common are extended sideways tricks,
                particularly the extended sidesurf.
                Some of the extended maneuvers are surprisingly easy to
                learn _if_ you have removed the brake(s) from your
                skate(s); I was able to do a clean 27-cone extended
                sidesurf on only my third attempt (of course, I'd known
                how to do a regular sidesurf for three months by then).
                With a "double-extended" sideways maneuver, both skates
                are tilted so that only their heel wheels are on the
                ground. A double-extended sidesurf is rarely seen done
                with any speed, but crowds think it's cool because it
                always looks difficult (it is to an extent; it took me a
                couple months to build up my thigh/groin muscles so that
                I could do it). I've seen people do a forward parallel
                with only the two heel wheels on the ground, which I
                presume also counts as a double-extended trick (note: in
                order to maintain stability, their skates are usually
                spaced more widely than in a simple parallel).
                
        _One-toe-down tricks:_
                The close cousin of the single-extended trick, just with
                one skate tilted so that its toe wheel is down rather
                than the heel wheel. The most frequent example is a
                forward monoline with the trailing foot tilted, which if
                done in a deep crouch is, as noted above, often called a
                "telemark". Another example is the reverse of this, a
                toe-down backward monoline, with the tilted skate leading
                the way.
                
        _Toe-and-toe tricks:_
                The only tricks I've seen completed and/or seriously
                attempted with only the two toe wheels touching asphalt
                are a forward parallel and a forward criss-cross, and boy
                do they look awkward. I've also seen a couple goofing
                around with a toe-and-toe sidesurf, but they never make
                it past the second cone. And there is one person I know
                who might be working up to a toe-and-toe out-of-phase
                forward criss-cross; it's hard to say because he looks
                almost totally out-of-control.
                
        _Heel-and-toe tricks:_
                This time, one skate is on its heel wheel only and the
                other is on toe wheel only. They can be done forwards,
                backwards and sideways. A _very_ popular heel-and-toe
                trick is the forward monoline, but it requires building
                up some strength in the calf of the leading leg (I still
                can't do it but know several folks who can). Other
                heel-and-toe tricks I've seen are the forward crisscross
                and the sidesurf, plus an unsuccessful (but amusing to
                watch) backwards criss-cross.
                
        _One-wheel-only_ tricks:
                At the October 1994 slalom skating championship in
                Central Park, a French skater went down the course with
                only one (heel) wheel touching the ground. There's a
                photo of him doing it in the February 1995 issue of
                _Inline_ magazine. Control on such a trick is difficult,
                to say the least, and what might have been a knock-out
                competition trick was marred by the five or six cones
                that got knocked aside.
                
     * _Combinations:_
       A combination trick is simply that, a combination of tricks done
       in a sequence. How many different tricks you attempt to do in one
       run depends on how long your cone course is, and how many cones
       you do with each trick. (At the Central Park course, we usually
       require at least four cones per trick for the trick to count.)
       Very often combos are signature moves; one NYC skater is
       well-known for a forward criss-cross down the top half of the
       course, followed by a 180 leaping jump into a backwards
       criss-cross.
       Not all combos are that difficult (or impressive), though; e.g.,
       it's fairly simple to slide from a sidesurf into an independent.
       Better skaters may even disguise a bad slalom run by converting a
       trick about to go awry into an easier trick. Heck, I've done this
       in competition and the judges never realized it.
     * _Alternating tricks:_
       An alternating trick is much like a combination trick, except that
       the transition between tricks is done once every cone or every two
       cones _and_ the skater alternates between two particular tricks.
       Perhaps the most common example is an alternating forward
       criss-cross, in which you alternate which foot is in the lead.
       Thus, your right foot crosses in front of the left, then you
       uncross, and then your left crosses in front of your right, etc.
       If done well, this is a subtle trick, and spectators may think
       you're just doing a vanilla criss-cross unless they're paying very
       close attention.
       Other examples I've seen are an extended alternating forward
       criss-cross (the skater alternated which of her feet was crossing
       in front of the other, but whichever was in front got tilted
       upwards as soon as it started swinging around to the front), an
       alternating backward criss-cross, an alternating backward
       monoline, and what I call the Swiss monoline (because of the
       nationality of the first person I saw doing it), in which the
       skater alternates between a forward and backward monoline.
     * _"Unclassifiable" tricks:_
       Some tricks just don't fall very easily into the classifications
       above. One such that I've seen is the "half Remy", in which the
       skater was basically spiraling down the slalom course, doing a
       180-degree spin around each cone (this implies that a full Remy
       involves a 360-degree spin around each cone!). I got dizzy just
       watching, and the skater looked a little ill when he finished. In
       any event, it wasn't really a forwards maneuver or a backwards
       maneuver. I presume that there are other tricks that can't be
       easily pigeon-holed.
     * _Ballistics:_
       A ballistic trick is simply one of the above tricks done at high
       speed. At the Central Park course this is done by launching from
       100-200 feet from the first cone rather than the usual 30-60. A
       ballistic flying eagle really hauls, and a ballistic backwards
       combo is guaranteed to blow spectators away. Just make sure that
       you have spotters watching to be sure that nobody blunders into
       the course during your approach (this is a common problem in
       Central Park).
     * _Grapevines:_
       The term "grapevine" apparently has a number of different
       definitions in the skating world. The one that is most frequently
       used at the Central Park slalom course is any slalom maneuver
       which is done traveling _uphill_.
       Some sort of self propulsion is obviously necessary in order to
       keep your speed from tapering off, so the most frequent maneuvers
       I've seen done on a positive slop are the backwards criss-cross
       and the independent. However, I've managed to do an uphill
       sidesurf, and I've seen others do uphill one-foots and backwards
       parallels. The backwards criss-cross and independent are useful
       for impressing spectators because, if done right, you can build up
       some serious speed when doing them.
       A good way to practice grapevines is to set up a _flat_ slalom
       course, but make sure that it's long enough that you're not just
       coasting through on your initial momentum. If you can accelerate
       through a flat slalom course, you're ready to try an uphill
       course.
       Also, equipment can play a large roll in a successful grapevine.
       Clean bearings and larger wheels help, as do lighter skates. I've
       found that a grapevine independent is _much_ easier in Aeroblades
       than in Lightning TRSes.
     * _Pairs:_
       There's pairs figure skating, so why can't there be pairs slalom
       skating? Basically, it just requires two people skating the course
       together while holding one or both hands. A popular example is for
       the leading skater to do a backwards criss-cross while the
       trailing skater does a forward criss-cross (this is often done
       when the leading skater is trying to learn how to do a backwards
       criss-cross). Exceptionally cool, are pairs doing backwards
       _combos_. Tres cool!
       And lest you think that there's a limit of two skaters doing a
       trick together, three of the best Central Park skaters will
       occasionally do a ballistic independent together. And occasional
       groups of four or more skaters will get together to attempt a mass
       maneuver, but more often than not this results in cones strewn in
       every direction.
       
   
   
   There are presumably many more maneuvers, or variants on the above,
   but the problem is that the names for them may also be regionalized
   (e.g., I've discovered that what New Yorkers call a criss-cross,
   Bostonians want to call a crossover). Even within one locale there may
   be more than name, especially if a trick has a lot of variants (e.g.,
   the flying eagle variant of the forward one-foot), and a name based on
   a combination of the above terms may have a special, fancy name. For
   example, I've heard a backwards monoline called a "rattlesnake" and a
   double-extended wave (wow!) is a "tidal wave".
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
   
   _-rec.sport.skating.inline FAQs maintained by Tony Chen
   (adchen@skatefaq.com)_
   _-"Techniques: Slalom" edited by Robert Schmunk (rbs@skatecity.com)_
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