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Quad Jam Skating

An Introduction to Jam Skating on Quads

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Jam skating includes break dancing on roller skates.

Trinette Reed / Blend Images / Getty Images

Quad jam skating is a newer style in the history of quad skates that blends several styles of dance, gymnastics and skating. Although dancing on skates was seen in roller rinks as early as the 1930s, jam skating’s beginnings can be traced to disco roller skating in the 1970s. Then in the 1980s, when disco began to die, the elements of breakdancing were introduced to the sport, and it began to more closely resemble the jam skating of today. Jam skating has also been influenced by rhythm skating, JB skating, modern dance and quad artistic figure skating. The more advanced jam skaters usually have one or more of these athletic or dance skills in their background and have learned how to use these skills while roller skating.

Jam Skaters are Expressive

Jam skating gives skaters a chance to express themselves, interpret the pulse of a strong musical percussion beat, share footwork and rhythm patterns as well as exploring some of the same skating skills that speed and aggressive skaters use, too. Other than time limits imposed at competitive events, there are not many rules in this sport. The free flowing movements of jam skating often include elements from related styles and movements including rexing, crazy legs, shuffle skating, toe jamming' and freestyle rhythm skating. Jam skating athletes can become very competitive, they often skate to provide entertainment and most enjoy recreational and social skating sessions on a regular basis. Jamskate.com has an amazing collection of video examples and events.

Jam Skating Equipment

A rise in the popularity of quad roller skates is one of the good effects that jam skating and  roller derby have had on roller sports. Traditional quad skates have been less popular since the introduction of practical inline skates. But quads are the equipment of choice for jam skating since they provide the maneuverability and solid wheelbase needed for intricate jam skating footwork. Jam skaters prefer to use low cut, speed styled boots with dance toe plugs instead of jumping toe stops.

Who Governs Jam Skating Events?

The Jamskate Association was founded in 1997 to unite several different roller skating clubs in Florida who shared a common style of skating. This Orlando, Florida group, which was founded by Chris Gehret, decided to use the term "Jamskate" to describe this quad roller skating discipline. Since 2002, the World Skating Association (WSA) has been the sanctioning body for jam skating. The WSA was formed to organize and host well organized, skater-oriented jam skating events around the world.

Who Teaches Jam Skating?

The Jamskate Academy is a volunteer run organization that offers a jam skating instructional program. Their goal is to teach jam roller skating as a youth sport and help roller rinks develop jam skating in each facility at the grass roots level with instructor training programs and extensive and in-depth online instructional videos. This skating program has program levels, testing and drills to develop the discipline.

Skills are classified into 8 skill types by the Jamskate Academy:

  • Steps are moves done from a stationary position in the center of a skating surface
  • Slides are moves that are similar to steps with a side-to-side component added
  • Toe jam moves are preformed stationary that are variations of the basic toe jamming
  • Turns are moves done outside while moving (usually in a shuffle)
  • Jumps are any moves that leave the ground while shuffling
  • Spins are moves that are done from a stationary position with rotation
  • Backwards moves are done while moving facing backwards
  • Shuffles are done while skating forwards around the outside of the skating surface

Take a look at some of the other activities that can be done on quad skates:

Use the information above to see the range of quad roller skating sports, then take a look at the inline sports opportunities. If you are not sure that your interests will be dedicated to a specific skating type, start by building a good foundation in recreational or fitness activities and training. Most rinks allow you to rent traditional or speed quad skates in beginner skating lessons, so you can find out which type of skate you prefer.

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