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Strategic Techniques for Inline Speed Skating – Part 1

It Takes More Skills Than Skating Fast and Turning Left

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The objective of competitive inline racing in any format or venue appears very basic, to be the first skater to cross the finish line. But many strategic maneuvers and specific skating techniques may be required to achieve that simple goal. Some of the tactics used in inline racing are similar in to those used in bicycle racing and ice speed skating marathons. Winning inline speed skating races requires a lot of individual intelligence, superior speed, good skating techniques and in many cases strategic teamwork. Any slight hesitation or indecision will allow another skater to cross the finish line in first place.

Skate Fast - Turn Left

Skating fast is a given, but turning left can make or break a race. Turning control and quality is strategically essential. If you can maintain more speed than other skaters on the corners, the need to watch out for the others is greatly reduced and your lead will increase with every lap.

Using the Correct Stance

An inline racer's stance or body position helps determine whether the skater is aerodynamic enough for efficient skating. Speed skaters lean forward in a stance with the knees bent. In addition to helping with efficient use of a skater's energy, the low center of gravity add stability. This low stance position is especially useful when cornering.

Using the Correct Stride

There are many ways to stride in during a race and using the correct stride for various racing situations is important. The initial running strokes of a race are essential to quickly ramp up the skater's speed and set a quick pace. In the middle of the race long powerful strokes and a consistent, rhythmical stride are needed. During this time cornering technique may be used. Inline racing cornering technique is used in the middle of a race with forward crossovers to help a skater maintain speed and balance on curves. This cornering technique - which is used in conjunction with straightaway technique using parallel stroking on straight sections of a course - is in use when the skater swings one arm in front of the body. Some skaters swing both arms, while others choose to keep one arm resting on their back to save energy. When a skater swings both arms in front with a burst of speed to zoom across the finish line, the maneuver is called a finishing stride.

Conserve Energy and Avoid Falling

There are two very important things at the core of most speed skating strategies. An inline racer must be as energy efficient as possible to remain strong for the duration of a race, and the skater must also avoid falls to prevent injury and the loss of precious time caused by a fall. Since the lead skater uses the most energy, that skater must skate at a pace that will reserve enough energy to maintain the lead during the final sprint to the finish line. On the other hand, the skaters behind the leader need enough reserve power to take the lead by the time they reach the finish line. When inline racers maneuver and pass for better and leading positions, there are many situations during which for falls can occur and change the outcome of a race.

Use Drafting Techniques

In all types of racing, drafting is a very important technique. A skater can save a lot of energy by following the skater ahead and staying in his slipstream. Inline speed skaters form pace lines or packs with skaters lined up behind the lead skater to save energy by skating in the leader's draft.

More About Inline Racing Strategy

  1. It Takes More Than Skating Fast and Turning Left
  2. Learn to Use and Control the Pack
  3. Skating as an Individual or Part of a Group
  4. Know Yourself, Your Competition and Your Event

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