The myth of the circle. It’s not perfect
You have probably heard recommendations about skating a circular line when doing your 27 in 5. It’s a good approach, but it doesn’t work for every skater or every situation. Like Yoda said in Star Wars “… there is another”
Let’s start by reviewing the circle. This line has you skating a curved line and cross skating the entire track. Its an oval, not a perfect circle, but “circle” is close enough. A for effort but F at geometry.
It’s a good technique and you should give it a go and to see if it works for you.
The downside to this approach is your right leg does more work than your left leg and your right leg can get overworked and tired.
Im not saying the Circle Track isn’t good. I’m just saying it is not the best technique for every skater in every situation.
Let’s look at a variation on the circle.
Sometimes it makes more sense to spread the work load around to give your right leg a bit of a break. Maybe you have a injury and need to give your right leg an easier time. You can do this adding in one or two strides (instead of a crossover) with your left leg and skating a slightly different line, like this:
I often include one or two strides (instead of a crossover) even when it doesn’t feel like it makes sense to do so. I do it just to give my right leg a brief break. This is why I call it Forced Stride.
I think of the Forced Stride line as being a variation of the Circle Line. Skate the circle as close as you can, but throw in a stride now and then to give your leg a break.
You don’t have to stick with the same line for the entire 27 in 5. You can mix it up, skating a few variations – maybe use the circle for most of the time and throw in a forced stride when you need a break
Here is another idea to try a ¾ Circle with ¼ stride
Kick around some variations and see what works for you.
The Cruise Zone
Most of this post is focused on giving your legs a break. Another way to do that is to pause briefly on the corner. You normally only do this when you are going so fast on the corner that you start to slide out. You can also pause to give your legs a break, but keep the pause brief so you don’t lose too much speed. At WA Roller Derby we call this The Cruise Zone.
Give It Time
Any new skating technique will feel uncomfortable at first so rinse and repeat over a few weeks and see if it sticks.
The Speed Line
Look for a future post where I look at a different line that is preferred by speed skaters.
About the blogger
Captain Crunch coaches at WA Roller Derby where he takes old speed skater tricks and puts a roller derby twist on them. Sometimes he just makes stuff up and we pretend not to notice.