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CWRDA Bootcamp & Speed Skating Tips

Another lesson learnt… don’t release new shorts to the public 3 days before you head off to a bootcamp.

After a week of 16 hour days spent folding, tagging and shipping I was pretty exhausted by the time I jumped on the ferry to Victoria for the annual CWRDA Bootcamp. I was bringing my Pivotstar wares over for the island girls and I was also coaching – yay! Luckily the sea breeze and a couple of cups of tea revived me and by the time my skates touched land I was ready to go.

The classes which I ran this weekend were:

Basic Speed Skating: How to skate faster with less effort
Fearless Jamming: How to start a jamming career and have fun while wearing the star
Offensive Jamming: When and how to do it
Thinking like a jammer: Levels, Ripples and Fluff.


Here are some pointers from the Basic Speed Skating Class (NB: I am not a speed skater, so my terminology may be different. If you know any local speed skaters – go to one of their classes, they are amazing people!)

Speed Skating technique is all about being efficient. Using the least amount of energy for maximum output.

1) Body Positioning:
– Keep low and tip your weight forward onto the balls of your feet.
– Drop your back down flat, this stops you from trying to use your back muscles to power your legs. Let your legs and your core be the basis of your power.
– Pump your arms like you are running. Make sure your arms are nice and strong, don’t throw them from side to side like you are dancing.

2) Basic Stride
– Do not push backwards off your skates. This is what we call the “running man.” All you end up doing is running on the spot and getting tired.
– Focus on pushing off the sides of your skates
– Keep your toes flexed up to avoid rolling under. Imagine you have a string tied to the end of your skate and it has to stay pointed upwards.

3) Improving your Stride
– Don’t forget your left leg! Your under push on a crossover should be just as powerful as your push with your right leg.
– The basic physics of a crossover means that when one foot is pushing the other should be resting. This gives you the maximum output from your crossover. So make sure your crossover strides are EXACTLY THE SAME in length. Try skating to a beat so that they are even.

4) Skating the track
– The most efficient way to skate the track is as a circle. That way you can use the push outwards to keep you moving forwards, rather than fighting it.
– To create a circle from the oval track skate out to the edge on the straight aways and come right in close to the line on the corners.
– The most efficient way to skate a circle is with crossovers all the way round.
– Try to achieve your maximum speed without slowing down at any point when skating the track. When you have to grip the corners or screech your wheels at any point you are slowing down. Going from fast to slow wastes energy. It is much more efficient (and easy!) to find your maximum speed on the track and stick to this. Although it feels like you aren’t going as fast, time yourself, you probably are and you are doing it with a fraction of the effort – wheeee!

5) Breathe
– The most important part of skating is breathing.
– As you find your rhythm with crossovers and on the track, also find your breathing rhythm to go along with it. Remember that on your break away from the pack, this is your time to rest and regain your energy to come around and do it again. So you need to bring your breathing back to a regular pace as quickly as possible and start building that energy to run through the pack and get those points!

So get out there skating the track. Get someone to video you so you know exactly what you look like or look at pictures of yourself from bouts. I know when I see photos I am like “what on earth am I doing? I didn’t think I was skating like that at all.”

Thanks to all of the enthusiastic, attentive and inspiring skaters whom I met this weekend. There are too many of you to name here – but every single one of you that I talked to/coached keeps that fire lit under my butt 🙂

————- kick ass photos provided by Krystal Stevens Photography ———————-

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