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Roller Hockey

Stops: a blend of technique, wheels and floor
By Jack Brumm


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When ice hockey players take up roller hockey, they generally want to know two things: how to make a hockey stop on inline skates and what kind of wheels they should use. The answers to these questions are interconnected.

Stopping on inlines is a good news-bad news story for players making the transition from ice to roller hockey.

The bad news is that ice players have to learn new stopping techniques because making a true ice hockey stop on inlines is impossible. The laws of physics simply don’t allow the skater to throw both rows of wheels perpendicular to the line of travel in a single motion.

The good news is that roller players can stop quickly using a power slide. There are at least 10 variations of the power slide, but they are alike in that the skater must first get the wheels sliding and then control the slide. The slide is initiated and controlled by using a combination of edging, pressure application and rotary motion.

Basic Power Slide

The basic power slide can be broken down into a series of steps. The skater approaches the stop by making a tight-radius parallel turn. The skater’s knees must be deeply bent, with the greatest pressure on the balls of the feet. The skater then pivots the inside skate to a backward direction; while the outside skate is held at a sharp angle to the surface and perpendicular to the other skate, and the heel of the outside skate is pushed straight back along the line of travel. At this point the skater’s weight is on the backward traveling inside leg, and the wheels of the outside leg are sliding on an inside edge. It is now time to control the slide.

To control the slide the skater must shift his weight from the inside pivot leg to the sliding wheels of the outside leg. The skater does this by straightening up on the pivot leg which opens up the lean angle of the outside skate and transfers the skater’s weight to the sliding wheels. The quicker the skater can apply down force by shifting his weight, the quicker he can stop his momentum.

In summary, to perform a power slide, start a sharp parallel turn in a low stance, press down on the toes, pivot the inside leg, push the outside leg straight back, and shift the weight to the outside leg by finishing in a tall stance. These steps remain the same on any surface, but the combination of wheel type and surface type affects both the initiation and control of the slide. For the best results and the shortest learning curve, choose your wheels carefully.

Wheel Variables

Ice players making the transition to inlines should consider three wheel variables when choosing wheels: radius, diameter and durometer. The combination of these three variables should match the intended skating surface and the player’s skating ability.

“Round” and “speed” are the two basic types of wheel radius.

Round radius wheels wear longer because there is more urethane and they tend to provide better “hold” while cornering on rough surfaces. Their extended wear life and extra hold are definitely beneficial, but there are drawbacks to these wheels. Round radius wheels are less responsive to edge control than speed radius wheels, and the extra hold offered by round radius wheels can work against an inexperienced inline skater, who may find it difficult to initiate a slide.

The speed radius wheel has a cross section that looks like a “V.” Speed radius wheels are more responsive to edge control, which makes them corner faster and sharper. Speed radius wheels also slide easier, which makes them a good choice for people learning power slides.

The next wheel variable to considered is wheel diameter. Smaller-diameter wheels offer the advantage of being more maneuverable and easier to slide. The benefits of larger wheels are increased speed and better stopping grip. A 72-millimeter wheel is a good choice for skaters learning the power slide. Once you learn the technique, move on to the added speed and grip of larger wheels.

The durometer is the wheel’s hardness rating. Soft wheels, 74A to 78A, offer good grip, but they wear quickly on rough surfaces. Harder wheels resist wear but tend to have less grip. The wheel durometer should match the surface. Choose soft wheels for plastic surfaces, slightly harder wheels for painted surfaces, and hard wheels for rough outdoor surfaces.

For ice hockey players learning to do inline power slides, I recommend a 72mm speed radius wheel that has a durometer matched to the skating surface. I also recommend “rockering” the front wheel [adjusting its size or lock-down position on the frame so you can literally rock back and forth on it], which will make it easier to initiate the slide. The last three wheels remain flat, increasing grip during the control phase of the power slide.

Remember, first make the wheels slide, then control the slide.

 

A national examiner for the International In-Line Skating Association, Jack Brumm recently wrote the organization’s Level 3 roller hockey certification program.

 

 


This first appeared in the 10/1997 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2003, Hockey Player® LLC and Hockey Player Magazine®
Posted: Nov 12, 2001, 07:16
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