Thursday, September 19, 2013

Breaking Badly

I’m working on stops. You would think—at least I thought—that stopping would be the easiest part of skating. Yeah… not so much.

First, let’s cover this. The toe stop is not really used for stopping in Derby. You use it to pivot, brace, or get moving. From time to time, you even run on them. Ah, the irony of calling them Stops. They should be called Turns or Goes.

The truth is, my toe stop is quite frequently my worst enemy. It conspires with its henchman, Gravity, to trip me up then knock me over.

What you do use to stop in Derby are your wheels and some force. There were three different stops that I was working on today.

The T-Stop: When performing a T-Stop, you drag your back skate perpendicular to the direction you are heading. This forms a T with your feet and slows your forward momentum. This one is a slower stop. You need to have some track in front of you to give you time to slow your momentum.

The Snowplow: This is a stop that you skiers will recognize.  Toes in, heels out, and push down. Let me just say this: while practicing these today, I was weighing the amount of pain that this stop was creating in my inner thighs versus the amount of pain that would occur by crashing into the skater in front of me. I’m still not sure which would be the least painful.

The Mohawk: Then there is this little gem, where you make a 180 degree turn and plant your toe stops. (I guess there actually are times that you use your stops to stop. But I am sticking with my original thought that they are misnamed.) You accomplish this by putting your feet in what is called First Position in ballet.  Only farther apart. While moving. On skates.

Uh… ouch. This one is gonna take lots of practice and lots of stretching.

I'm getting better at stopping. I need to keep practicing them until they become automatic. When you are going fast, it is reassuring to know that you can stop at any time. Sometimes, the best way forward is to stop. 

Stopping is about wheels and force. I’ve got both.

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