by Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels
As I’ve gotten older and gained more experience, many things, even new things are quicker to solve as I can apply experience of doing something like this before.
Dancehall class – well it’s a form of dancing and requires being able to feel the beat, so I can apply my musical and aerobics experience while I become more familiar with the dancehall specific movements.
Studying for a proof reading qualification – it requires a high level of literacy and attention to detail. There should be no rushing or mistakes will be missed. Proof reading is about helping the writer to have a clear message.
Roller skating is not like any activity I have experienced before. I had extremely limited skate experience as a child – ice or wheels – and I now know that the movements and muscles used are different. If only I had known then, I could have applied the following.
· Specialised muscle development – minimum 3 months. Until that time, start movements already rolling to support.
· Ability to fully bend your knees – can only happen when you are relaxed and no longer thinking about falling over. Likely to be around 6 months.
· Use pilates to support core develeopment that will assist balance.
· It doesn’t matter how clumsy you consider yourself in real life (I’m extremely clumsy, and have realised it’s because I rush everywhere) roller skating is almost like you are saving yourself from falling constantly.
· Trust the protective pads – they are surprisingly effective for small bits of plastic and foam. Test them on the floor if you don’t believe me. As there is no other activity I’ve done that requires use of protective pads, I couldn’t have known that they work so well. I also couldn’t have known how to put them on, or that there are some ways of falling that are safer than others.
Last weekend, I taught some classes and workshops in Stratford, Ontario, Canada for Retro Rollers Inc. I find it fascinating that the world over we think we should be doing better than we are at roller skating, when it is not like another activity. Only similarities are ice skating and roller blading – even here its only the side to side movement that is similar – the balance point is different.
I was reminding the folks in my workshops to give themselves praise for showing up, that our space should feel safe enough for them to ask questions and fully relax and they have permission to opt out of anything I ask them to try at any time. After all, I don't know what everyone's background is, or the kind of week you may have had.
Take the smallest step you think you need to take, then make it smaller. Here is one example of how RGG do this.
When I’m teaching folks to turn around, many are familiar with the ‘open the book, close the book’ form of transition. This is great, though it is only 2 steps! I prefer to break it into smaller steps like this:
1. Bend your knees so you remain balanced.
2. Look and point – point to where you want to go and turn your head. This will turn your shoulders making the movement easier.
3. Step the same leg as the arm pointing. Aim to get your toe to point in the direction you want to go. My feet are not in a straight line at this point! Make sure you bend onto this leg.
4. Step the other foot around and you will be facing the other way!
5. Try it stationary and then rolling slowly.
We encourage folks to practise this from backwards to forwards facing first.
If you are starting out and the smallest steps support you, you may like our online beginner course. It will guide you through fundamental movements in roller skating and provide trouble shooting tips to correct movements that are not efficient so that you can make the most of your practise sessions.