Nett Racing Questions & Answers #2

 
Why are speed skates so long?
In the world of ice skating, hockey and figure skate blades are shorter than those used in short track speed skating. And long track blades are longer then short track blades. A longer blade pushing against the ice means the skater can apply more force to it. The more force the faster the skater can go.

When it comes to inline skates the longer the frame the more stable the skate is at high speeds (down hills). A shorter frame at high speed will start to shimmy out of control. But a long frame at lower speeds will be hard to turn. Also a taller skater needs a longer frame to stabilize his height as he leans forward and back. More frame is needed out the front and back of the boot or he will fall forward or back.

A shorter person can use a shorter frame as they do not have as much height to stabilize. Also a longer frame can distribute a stronger push over a larger area. If a smaller frame is pushed to hard the frame can start to twist instead of the frame tracking straight on the ground.

Also the longer the frame the more stable the skate will feel and in turn you will be more apt to push harder due to the stability you feel. With a less stable shorter frame you will be more apprehensive and not push as hard. So to answer the question "Why are speed skates so long?". On ice its to allow more power to be put into the skate without the blade sliding on the ice and on an inline skate it's to create stability for higher speeds.
 
How do you break in skates?
First, get the right size skate, as a poorly sized pair of skates will never break in. You can expect a skate to rub and make your feet and ankles sore for the first few sessions. You should start feeling more comfortable by skate number 4 or 5.

Skate in your new skates for short periods of time. Use bandages or gel pads to cushion any sore areas. Try liquid bandages if your bandages won't stay put. Don't walk around in a boot with no frame attached as it can damage the boot beyond repair.

Focusing on doing drills really helps. Take multiple breaks during your first sessions. In the meantime don’t be tempted to race in the new skate. You can try heat molding the skate but don't expect heatmolding to fix all your problems.

There are also two way shoe stretchers that can stretch length and width of a skate. Just keep stretching till they feel better. Continuing to skate with blisters or cuts on your feet can leave wounds that make it impossible to skate for an extended period.

Allow blisters to heal before your next skating session. The blister will callous and be stronger on your next skate. Ride the bike or run or swim while blisters are healing.
 
Does roller skating help with ice skating?
A big complaint among ice skaters is that there is no place to skate over the summer months. With roller skating you can skate anywhere. Any road, parking lot, sidewalk or rink.

The problem with roller skating is the movements are not quite the same as ice skating. The biggest differences being turning and stopping. Roller skating helps ice skaters improve balance, improves muscle memory, increases confidence on skates and helps develop leg power.

With an ice skate you have an infinite amount of grip. A roller skate can slide out unlike a ice skate blade which digs into the ice. Ice skates have less friction on the ice then a roller skate with bearings and urethane wheels. So after training on roller skates with a higher rolling resistance for a period of time, this builds your muscles.

Now when you go back to ice your super fast due to the resistance training you went through on roller skates. Also due to the greater resistance of roller skating your endurance will also be better when transitioning back to ice.

Ice time is expensive. Being that you can roller skate anywhere, the cost of skating may only be the cost of your roller skates. So you can get inexpensive training in on roller skates where the same training can be expensive if you have to pay for ice time.

So to answer the question "Does roller skating help with ice skating?". Absolutely, roller skating helps ice skaters improve balance, improves muscle memory, increases confidence and helps develop leg power. It can also save you money when it comes to paying for ice time.
 
What muscles are used in speed skating?
Speed skating requires so much more than just the ability to skate. The sport requires a well developed muscles. Like the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abs and hip flexors.

Quads are crucial for speed skating. To work this muscle group you can run, cycle or jump rope. Glutes promote movement at your hip. The glutes are crucial for speed skating. A stair climber and elliptical, are smart choices for working the glutes.

Your hamstring muscles can be strengthened by running, swimming and using the stair climber. Your abs can be strengthened by running, jumping rope and swimming. Hip flexors, working these muscles is crucial for speed skating. You can work your hip flexors by running, swimming and cycling.

Skating takes a tremendous amount core, back and ankle strength. Much of speed skating training consists of dry land training. Both at gym and track settings. This type of training promotes power, explosiveness, endurance and flexibility. For those who might not have access to a rink this is good news. This means you can train like a speed skater anywhere.

Hills, fields, stairs. Other drills include lunges, stair work, single leg hops. Much of speed skating involves lateral movement. The slideboard works well for lateral movement. It also helps with aerobic work while engaging muscles not typically used.
 
How do you become a skater?
First, to protect your knees, wrists, and elbows skating pads are available. You can do without the elbow pads but do get a helmet, wrist, and knee pads. It's easy to fall and hit your head.

If you have never skated before go to a local roller rink. Try out walking with your skates. With your feet in a V position take one step at a time. After you’ve learned how to walk on your skates it's time to learn how to glide. Push one foot forward and start gliding.

Repeat the same process for the other foot. Then spend a good amount of time rolling around. Now try practicing gliding solely on one foot until you feel like you can balance without problems. Always stay alert when it comes to obstacles, and stay safe as you practice.

Remember to learn to turn both ways. Keep practicing. Once you're comfortable you can start to learn more advanced elements of skating. Such as ramps, racing and grinding. 
 
What country is the best at speed skating?
The Netherlands have won the most Olympic speed skating metals at 121 with Norway coming in second with 84 and the U.S. coming in third with 68 metals. The Netherlands owns one event alone, speed skating.

The Netherlands certainly has a time-honored history of ice skating. There are plenty of places to practice speed skating in the Netherlands with 20 long track ice rinks. The Netherlands hosted the first unofficial world championship in 1889.

The Netherlands has led the medal count in the event for the past five Winter Olympics dating back to 1998. There are only 36 400 meter long track rinks in the world. Of those 36, 8 are in the Netherlands. Thousands of skaters are drawn toward the sport thanks to the many rinks in their country.

More than anything it's dedication. And the Dutch skating equipment is the best in the world. Will the Dutch rule at speed skating ever end? You never know as Olympic dominance usually doesn’t last forever. Just enjoy it while you can.
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