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Strategic Techniques for Inline Speed Skating – Part 3

Skating as an Individual or Part of a Group

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Serious competitive speed skaters should sometimes be willing and able to revise their racing strategy during a race to take into account the strategic techniques of their opponents or the needs of their teammates.

Charging the Block

A skater is charging the block if an inside pass is tried when entering a turn. This is not easy and has a high risk factor. Racers in the front of a pack skate close together in a block of bodies so others must use extra speed and energy to pass on the outside. If a skater wants to pass these skaters more efficiently, they wait for a curve when the block of skaters may spread out so the passing skater can attempt to charge the block and pass on the inside. The window of opportunity for this maneuver is very short, and this creates a high risk of contact, bumps and falls.

Lapping the Pack

Lapping the pack is only possible in the longer races that have enough time for a skater to get a lap ahead. In order to gain a whole lap or more over the other competitors, a smart skater will use two or more sprinting intervals to get ahead while still conserving enough energy to finish the race. One giant sprint would deplete a skater's reserve energy. Once a skater has a whole lap of lead, they can maintain this leading position by drafting the skaters at the back of the pack.

Team Members Race As One

Many teams assign specific responsibilities to each team member in a race using the strategic maneuvers shown above and more. The attackers are responsible for tiring out the competition. Some skaters may be needed to slow down the pack when a fellow team member is attempting a breakaway. Another team mate may not break out or attack until the final sprint because he is the assigned winner.

Save the Best for Last

Try to conserve strength as much as you can. Races usually come down to a finishing sprint. Unless you feel strong enough to break away, wear out the competition and leave everyone behind for an entire race, your best chance of winning is to keep a reserve of power and maneuver into a good position to finish.

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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