"Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

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"Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby inkh0rn » Sat May 07, 2011 10:49 pm

...probably describes my holy grail of skating right now. I'm crappy to intermediate on inlines and quads, I can get a fair head of steam up and crossover forwards - I can even crossover SLOWLY backwards - but what is p***ing me off is how long it is taking me to 'get' smooth & speedy backwards skating. For example as Asha Kirkby demonstrates in this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS02tp1iKI4

I can swizzle backwards, both feet and one foot (I try to just do the 'outside' foot depending which direction I'm going). Yet as with swizzling forwards, that can only take you so far. I see so many skaters doing different variations of basically the same movement and yet I can't seem to 'click' with it!!! There are LOADS of great skaters at my local rink and some of the tremendous staff and skaters have tried to both show and explain to me what they do, but still I can't seem to get a stable set of movements in place that gets me some speed up whilst feeling like I'm poised to stop if some kid wipes out in front of me.

I trawled the posts here a few nights ago and saw that Asha was giving lessons on the bane of my feckin life at the start of April. However as I live in Pieland a trip to Londinium is out of the question. I want to be able to do CONTINUOUS BACKWARDS CROSSOVERS!!!

It seems to me that there is more to this than the common advice I get which is 'you just cross your 'forward' ie trailing foot over the path of your 'back' foot ie the foot 'in front' going backwards'. To me there are all sorts of shifts in weight that go on - I've noticed the good skaters seem to use a 'rocking' motion where they shift their weight from one foot to the other whilst also crossing the feet over, with one foot leading, the other trailing, and the hips/upper body angled with the 'inside' shoulder and leg to the rear. One guy at the rink told me he has to 'jump' into each crossover as he shifts his weight on corners when speed skating? I also know one of the good backskaters there who can only do it fast 'one way' ie can skate backwards quickly in both directions but with the body only 'correctly' angled when skating backwards clockwise - I don't want to be like that, I want to be able to skate with good form in both directions.

For example if I'm going anticlockwise, my right foot is leading ie. at the back, and my left foot is trailing. At the moment I kind of swizzle both skates but in different elliptical patterns so they cross over in the centre but move in slightly different arcs at different times when at the 'outsides' of the swizzles. At the corners I shift my weight to my left foot and angle it towards the clockwise turn - that causes it to move in that direction. At the same time I place my right foot back and to the right side (ie into the turn) and draw it across and behind my left foot. At the point when my right foot has crossed over the path of my left and ends up 'outside' it, ie at the end of the push, I change the angle of my left skate again and shift my weight, which causes it to speed up- I then lift my right skate up and put it back out to the right then draw it across again - repeat until I'm going straight. It's basically the same movement Asha does in the video above, but I lean into the turn as well. What I find is that if I try to do this on a straight, I lose all momentum as all my weight is on my left skate and my right can't 'pull' with enough force to speed me up :(.

It is REALLY p***ing me off and I would GLADLY pay someone to teach me how to do this. Any offers? Or any tips/advice/useful video links? I've spent HOURS trawling YouTube etc but found little of use. There's a hot steppin' granny one in which she does the movement, but I can't get it to flow like she does - plus I've noticed that the good backskaters at the rink don't do it like that, they don't make the movements look so pronounced (I'm sure she's doing that do demonstrate the basic principe - HSG if you read this, I is not dissin your awesome skills (y) ).

Anyone offer any help to get me in the backskating flow????? Any exercises or tips would be greatly appreciated - me head's done in :x

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby ziggy » Sun May 08, 2011 1:05 am

Christ, that's a long post. Worthy of a reply, to be sure.

Figure eights, in short, are my preferred method of practice. They allow you to control your speed, but if you want to pick up speed, then you can simply make the figure eight bigger and take more steps on each section.

I see plenty of people trying too hard when learning cross-overs and taking in huge angles, when you really should just be thinking of gently switching edges, which is nothing more than switching skate positions and then shifting onto the outside edge. And perhaps get both legs to do some work, not just the one you're "stepping over" with. Move the other leg out of the way too :)

Watch Asha more carefully in that video, she's simply switching edges.

Also, you might be thinking too hard about this :D

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby inkh0rn » Sun May 08, 2011 1:24 am

cheers Ziggy - I can waffle like fook, unfortunately. Thanks for the advice. My epitaph: 'He thought too hard...' ;)

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby inkh0rn » Sun May 08, 2011 1:39 am

just a clarification tho - by figure of 8s do you mean doing clockwise then anticlockwise crossovers in 8's, or are you describing the movements of your feet/skates? Pardon the gumbieness

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby Look no Skywater » Sun May 08, 2011 2:01 am

Are you just wanting to go backwards in a line but want help in crossing over your feet to get a fuller stroke? If so then there are 3 basic ingredients.

You need to be looking behind you. This means turning your hips through 45 degrees and your shoulders a further 45 so they are in line with your direction of travel. Then simply look over your shoulder. The hip rotation helps you to get that scissor needed to crossover and looking where you are going has the handy advantage of helping you to avoid crashes. Find which shoulder is the most comfortable to look over and that will be your good side. Your opposite leg will be the one that is crossing over.

Now you can glide backwards in a scissor. So where does the power come from? Bent knees and pushing through the toes. Try using the crossing over foot in a swaying skulling stroke movement from the toe to feel the push, it's s bit like being a gondolier. That's the toe pushing bit. The bent knees gives you the clearnance between your legs to cross without clipping skates and also gives you something to extend you get a bigger and more powerful push. There is often a lot more knee bend required to go backwards than to go forwards and most people learning any new moves need to bend them a lot more than they think they need to.

Probably easier to demonstrate than to talk about so try and find some videos of people doing it if you can't find a skater in the Wigan area who can demonstrate it effectively.

It's easier if you can do cross overs on a turn first so practice big circles and wear pads. Took me about a hour to crack it on my own and then another 2 hours to crack it on my weak side. Figure 8s are for when you can already do it both sides. Do big circles getting smaller as you get better first.
and make sure you do both sides, even though you will only likely use one back cross when skating in a line backwards, it's useful to do both in case you find yourself at a rollerdisco with the direction of travel on your weaker side so you can still outpose the gumbies. Keep trying you'll get it soon.

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby ziggy » Sun May 08, 2011 3:25 am

Figure 8 would be where you essentially skate the shape of an 8. Rick is basically right, although

(a) As he points out, it's easier to illustrate than describe, and
(b) I would still advocate doing eights rather than circles because I think it's important to be two sided. Backwards crossovers are an absolute doddle when you do large figure eights, seriously. You can glide most of the eight, anyway :)

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby Lee Wilson » Sun May 08, 2011 9:43 am

ziggy wrote:Also, you might be thinking too hard about this :D


Agreed, something as simple as walking comes across as impossibly complex if written out in detail.

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby inkh0rn » Sun May 08, 2011 11:58 am

Guys, I am really grateful for all the replies and advice, especially to Ziggy and Look for the detailed posts.

However I'm afraid the advice itself is nothing I haven't already been told. For example, Look's 3 steps: imagine I'm going backwards, looking over right shoulder, body and hips tilted 45 deg to right, right foot behind, left in front, scissors stance. If I scull with the LEFT foot then my weight is mostly or even fully on the RIGHT skate. I can and do do this.

If you look at Asha's video, she is in that same position, yet her LEFT foot seems to carry most of her weight whilst her RIGHT foot sweeps from her right side to her left > lifts it up and puts it back down to her right > sweeeps to the left. She looks like she's taking a stroll in the park (which she is!) whilst keeping that motion going nicely. At times she speeds up and carves her right foot both left and right - her weight seems to be mostly on that left skate. So the 3 steps above don't fit that example.

When I'm going round a corner anticlockwise I pretty much do the same motion as Asha, and it works fine. However if I try to do it on a straight I just lose momentum and slow right down so I have to start swizzling again.

I think I have to disagree with Lee - I really do think there IS technique involved here which CAN be explained and taught. Whilst I take all the 'just do it' and 'overthinking' comments (my missus agrees with you all), I don't accept that it's not possible to clearly explain how to move my skates and where my weight should be in order to do continuous backwards crossovers just like Asha does in that video. I've been trying to do all the things mentioned above and I'm fine in circles but not in a straight line. I've been watching the good backskaters at my rink since last August. I've been practising the above moves for about 5 weeks, 2 hours a time, and am not getting much faster/better. I've watched as many youtube vids as I can find. No improvement. I'm not 'getting it'.

If I don't know how to shift my skates/weight/balance correctly to achieve the motion I need, how is trying to go faster etc doing what I'm already doing, going to make me magically 'get it'? And watching someone good do it fast doesn't help me as I can't see how they got from my level to their level - and pretty much, most people at the rink can't explain how they do it either, which is really frustrating! There must be a way to teach it or Asha couldn't justify charging people £25 for classes that do so.

As a final point, this guy shows how to skate backwards - I can pretty much do what he does in the first vid - then he shows how to go faster in the second vid (backskating is near the end). He is going clockwise but his stance is as if he should be going anticlockwise - left shoulder forward, left skate forward etc. If you watch his feet you'll see he 'rocks' his weight from front to back skate, and seemingly pushing more with the leading skate, but at times he's pushing with both - and he is kicking ass in the speed stakes - that's what I want to be able to do!!! I'm sorry if this does anyone's heads in, especially as I bet most people on here can do this in their sleep...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WKCbToWcKc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s1tYkQq ... ideo_title

Again, big thanks to all who have replied with advice. Any further advice gratefully received ;)
Last edited by inkh0rn on Mon May 09, 2011 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby stronty » Sun May 08, 2011 3:51 pm

As someone who has rediscovered skating, this topic really interests me. My backskating is poor. I can't do it. I'm waiting for it to click. It's annoying cos my mate can do it but is hopeless at telling me how other than insisting that it will just click and i'll get it. Driving me mad. So I'm in a similar boat trying to work it out and find as much stuff out as i can.

One question. I'm right handed. My right side is my dominant side. I skate better forwards anti clockwise than clockwise. When i am attempting to go backwards I have been putting my left foot behind me (making it the leading foot) and the weight on this side. I'm looking over my left shoulder and making snake movements on the toes of my right foot which is infront of my body but trailing in direction. Is this right?

Oh and I'm in Wigan too. So if you see a bearded bloke with glasses and old Bauer Turbo over in the little practice bit trying to go backwards while his annoying mate skates rings around him say hi!

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby inkh0rn » Sun May 08, 2011 6:05 pm

Alreet stronty! Bet our paths have crossed as we've snail paced it round the rink backwards...lol. The way you're facing is the opposite to me - like you I'm right-footed but I think my left is my dominiant foot in skating - I have better one-footed balance on my left - but when I transition from forwards to backwards I always go right side first - so maybe not??? If I'm going anti-clock backwards I go right shoulder first and look over my left, right skate leading foot, left foot snaking. I reverse this for clockwise. I learnt to do crossovers frontwise by leaning into and 'hugging' the corner, so I use the same philosophy going backwards.

I'll look out for you at the rink - I was bearded too but just got rid of it today...I'm on supreme turbos with green wheels - tanned, glasses, tattoos, dark hair. Let's see if we get any joy in this thread :) Stu

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby stronty » Sun May 08, 2011 7:48 pm

so even tho your right foot is leading you look over your opposite shoulder? and the same vice versa? look over the shoulder of the foot snaking not the foot your weight is on?

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby ziggy » Sun May 08, 2011 10:34 pm

In the entire time it's taken everyone to write, read, reply on this thread, Asha would have sorted this out. Certain things are incredibly easy to demonstrate, and also correct, and reverse crossovers are one of those things.

Asha's video is less about crossovers in my mind than about shifting onto opposite edges. I would book a train ticket and come down to London early one Saturday morning, book a few hours with Asha and maybe share it with a bunch of other non-Londoners, and do it the easy way.

If you want to stay for the weekend, I'm sure plenty of skaters would offer spare rooms and couches - I have one of each. I'd forget this thread and start talking to Ash :)

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby inkh0rn » Sun May 08, 2011 11:08 pm

Ziggy - methinks you are right. And thanks for the generous offer, mate. A lesson and a stayover sounds like a plan for the summer :)

Stronty - I think I had a bad case of communication via the anus on that last post, I'm afraid. What I meant to type was that I turn to the right, have my right foot leading/left foot trailing, and look over my RIGHT shoulder. That's what happens when I try to do head-twisting posts while my kids are causing havoc ;)

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby Lee Wilson » Mon May 09, 2011 12:33 am

ziggy wrote:If you want to stay for the weekend, I'm sure plenty of skaters would offer spare rooms and couches



inkh0rn, you can stay at my place if you want, it's a bit of a pain to get to though, you head up Edgware Road then take the first left past Church Street, then the first left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, and I am the second on the left.
:P
Last edited by Lee Wilson on Mon May 09, 2011 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby Look no Skywater » Mon May 09, 2011 5:40 am

inkh0rn wrote:If you look at Asha's video, she is in that same position, yet her LEFT foot seems to carry most of her weight whilst her RIGHT foot sweeps from her right side to her left > lifts it up and puts it back down to her right > sweeeps to the left. She looks like she's taking a stroll in the park (which she is!) whilst keeping that motion going nicely. At times she speeds up and carves her right foot both left and right - her weight seems to be mostly on that left skate. So the 3 steps above don't fit that example.

Asha is actually doing several different methods of back skating in that video. She seems to have a preference for lifting her leading leg but you can lift either depending on where you have your weight at any particular moment and which way you are edging at the time. You'll notice she isn't really skating very often in a straight line backwards while performing lifted crossovers/unders. When crossing you are pushing predominantly on one set of edges so your movement tends to describe an arc. You have to correct it by switching edges and arcing back the other way either gliding or reversing your cross.

The way it generally works for me when lifting is when my body is twisted and I am on my edges facing my chest I cross over by lifting my trailing leg. When on my backside edges I uncross by lifting my leading leg. Though it is possible to do it the other way round with a bit of weight shifting. Not sure either is best but you'll probably end up doing one arcing one way and the other on the opposite side/edge.

I hope that makes sense. It might not until you can feel it for yourself and I'm going to give up describing it now as I'm getting out of my descriptive depth. Like others have said, get a lesson and pop down to London for a weekend and do some street skating while you are here to enjoy the vibe, but beware...it's addictive :) just ask Belfast Brian.

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby inkh0rn » Mon May 09, 2011 6:13 pm

inkh0rn, you can stay at my place if you want, it's a bit of a pain to get to though, you head up Edgware Road then take the first left past Church Street, then the first left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, then right, then right again, then left, then left again, and I am the second on the left.
:P


...and thus the piss is taken! Fair enough. Disappointed you didn't say I had to skate the whole feckin way using backwards crossovers :lol:

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby gummidge » Mon May 09, 2011 6:14 pm

Can I just add that as well as progressing from lemons to scissored lemons where the feet cross over, to actually lifting the feet off, I also came at it from a different angle. Walking on the spot sort of doing a moon walk on the spot, and then lifting each foot as if walking, and then coming completely off the ground with each step as if running on the spot. You can transition from this to skating backwards doing wicked cross overs on an arc by slightly shifting your weight. It's just as hard and takes a lot of practise, but it is approaching the same goal from a totally different angle and helps you to get the feel of those weight transfers before you've even got up any speed.

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby ephillips » Mon May 09, 2011 6:28 pm

Incidentally, is there a consensus on which is more efficient between alternating between left and right crossovers and alternating between cross overs and cross- unders?

Presumably it is the former?

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby Mentally Dull » Mon May 09, 2011 6:46 pm

ephillips wrote:Incidentally, is there a consensus on which is more efficient between alternating between left and right crossovers and alternating between cross overs and cross- unders?

Presumably it is the former?

double push?

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Re: "Continuous Backwards Crossovers"...

Postby Look no Skywater » Mon May 09, 2011 8:55 pm

ephillips wrote:Incidentally, is there a consensus on which is more efficient between alternating between left and right crossovers and alternating between cross overs and cross- unders?

Presumably it is the former?

Whatever the consensus is I have trouble looking 180 over my right shoulder and so I mainly do right foot crossovers then 2 footed fall extension on my right outside/left inside edges to correct my arc then switch sides and cross over again....or something like that. I am also terrified of falling over backwards to although when I was super comfy at roller disco these days I hardly keep it up and skate more slowly backwards and for shorter distances. Had too many incidents in the park with small stone or twigs catching heel wheels and meanderthals suddenly getting in my way that I keep the speed down out there. Now my muscles get tired as I'm not doing it much any more and I have regressed as a backskater :(


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