I did not expect to spend so much time indoor on day 3 despite the generally good weather we enjoyed most of the day. Our morning session kicked off with dry mopping and wet mopping the floor of the gymnasium we used to set up our indoor track. I thought mopping duty was over with the conclusion of winter! Good to know some things are universal whether I train in Canada or Denmark, heehee. Once we got the floor clean and grippy, we set up four cones for our indoor paceline warm up. Back at my home club, we switched over from the peanut track to the NIRA track in 2005. That was before I started speed skating. Coach Sooty went over the track pattern on this track and we tried to mimic the pattern with consistency during warm up. The key points that he covered were:
- Out to wall
- Feet together
- Left foot forward (this helps to push the hip into the corner)
- Weight on left
- Lean in
- Push under
There is absolutely no straightaway pushes and speed is mostly generated from powering out of every corner. This is a different track pattern than I’m used to. It was a nice experience to skate on floor that holds and I was able to lean a little more than my accustomed position back home. However, I was skating too far out from the cones for my line to be effective.
The majority of practice focused on circle drills of the different components of crossover. We began with outside leg push, start leaning, leaning with a partner towing us from the inside, push under, crossover with all wheels on the floor, and crossover with front wheel on the floor. I fare poorly in all these drills because my body position does not push my hips into the corner.
I’ve done bucket drills on short track ice years ago and always wished we have something similar for inline. Being able to support the arm on a gliding bucket while going around the corner really helps to learn how far the body can lean in. At sk8skool, coach Sooty built a round platform with castor wheels topped with inverted buckets. We skated crossovers in a circle with the rolling bucket supporting our hand. It was fun and useful. See it in action as demonstrated by H from the United Kingdom.
After lunch, we had our first round of video analysis from coach Sooty. He’s been shooting video of our skating in every single training session so far. There’s no shortage of material for analysis. He pointed out many of my technique weaknesses and his assessment is pretty accurate. He did mention something I have never been told before. In the picture above, he said that my centre of gravity is behind my skates instead of down the 3rd wheel. With more ankle bend, it would shift the weight forward to where it should be.
The original plan for the evening was for us to join in Rolling Vikings’ road practice. The plan was 500m intervals for about 15 times on this loop around an outlet mall. Unfortunately, we got rained out so after an hour of road trip, we returned to Gerlev for some plyometrics and slideboard to stay warm and dry. We began practice with a very special warm up routine led by TB from the Rolling Vikings. We danced to a German nursery rhyme with all kinds of jumping and hopping around and dosi-do. It was really quite a sight. NCJ captured the whole routine on video that I’m sure will haunt us down the road…
Although the drills are slightly different than my usual routine, the movement for the plyometric exercises were familiar to the body. It was a easy session focusing mainly on explosive power without tiring the muscles.
Slideboard is not part of my training so it was a novel experience for me. We partnered up in pairs to share a slideboard and we switched every 90 seconds. The focus was on quality of movement. Coach Sooty would rather us regroup before each glide to mentally check off all the key points instead of sliding furiously to enforce bad habits. I had a lot of trouble in my first few attempts. I was not even sliding from one end to the other despite being on the shortest board in the room. Fortunately, toward the end of the session, things improved much and I could concentrate on body position and how the slideboard relates to actual skating. My centre gravity remained between the two legs and my supporting knee collapsed to the inside. It was pretty apparent from the video.
The Gerlev International Skate Camp officially begins today with over 40 skaters arriving at the school! It’ll be plenty of fun training with fellow skaters of different abilities in the next few days. I brought extra skin suits with me on this trip. Hopefully there’ll be opportunity to trade!