Speedskating is the branch of Rollersports that can be conducted in a variety of areas, including Indoor Rinks, purpose built bank tracks and road circuits in enclosed areas.
Also racing conducted on closed off open road circuits, car parks, also where groups of netball & tennis courts are together, so therefore speedskating is able to be practiced in many countries , with 51 countries represented at the last World championships, to show we have a World wide presence and true Olympic contendors.
This is a very fast and exciting sport, with most events conducted between 30 to 50 KMPH. with very similar events and tactics to track and road cycle racing.
Described by many sporting experts, as an excellent foundation sport for children, to gain the required engrediants to be successfull in later life in a wide variety of other sports, as they develope some very important strengths and skills.
The Current super powers of the sport include Colombia, Argentina and Chile ( South America ) Italy, France and Switzerland ( Europe ), Korea and Taiwan ( Asia ) United States America (North America ) and New Zealand ( Oceania), with the strength spead thoughout the world.
With the FIRS involved with encouraging developement of the African continent, as South Africa have been the flag bearer for African nations in recent years, to see skaters from such renowned athletic ability countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Tunisia competing, in our World events.
Our sport continues to rapidly grow in 2006 we welcomed Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and an impressive Iran, to compete in their first World championships held in Korea.
FIRS WORLD INLINE CUP
Between April and September the World Inline Cup series is held, this is the Official marathon series of the FIRS, 15 marathon events conducted in such famous destinations as Seoul and Incheon ( Korea ), Suzhou ( China ), Berlin ( Germany ), Rennes France, St. Moritz and Zurich (Switzerland). This year we will see many new skaters from around the World, gain spots in sponsored teams in this great competiton, Russia, Ukraine, Chile, Singapore, Japan and Canada, will have strong representation in 2007, after previously only had minimal involvement.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
With Annual National, Continental and World championships held, there is plenty of scope for skaters to compete Internationally, with very popular early season European events tres Pistes in France, Bologna Italy & Gross Gera Germany attracting many International skaters.
Currently the South American countries of Colombia, Argentina and Chile control the female side of our sport, only really challenged by USA, Korea and New Zealand in 2006, such is the power of Colombia, that 8 senior ladies World champions over the past two years, plus 3 Junior World Champions, but now senior, will be vieing for a maximum of 8 places for their World team in 2007.
With the home championships in Cali in August, its a daunting task facing female skaters seeking World titles in 2007, in the endurance races there men will be very strong, but have yet to come up, with a favoured sprint option in the seniormen.
While our sport is stretching its wings World Wide, with Asia a developing giant at present, we still have to work very hard in many areas, with a big focus on coaching. Colombia is one coutry with a very good depth of coaches, but very few have that luxury, with experienced coaches like Argentina Coach Carlos Lugea having coached Argentina, Venezuela, India and now Spain, New Zealander Bill Begg New Zealand, Australia, Colombia, Germany & now Switzerland, plus many other coaches off shore helping other nations develope.
Italy as a Nation has always sent coaches to developing countries and actively promotes International coaching seminars, one just recently completed, with Colombia also being very active in the developement of coaches. Its well recognized that Highly skilled and Motivated Coaches are the most needed people, to enable our great sport to reach its maximal potential.
While many think speed is not as Technical as other branches of our sport, I personall rate that for skill & Technique, I would have a performance factor of 60% as far as the ultimate result is concerned. The famous Chad Hedrick double push technique is still the most sought after method for male speed skaters, with the differing Q Angle making it much more difficult for females to achieve this technique.
Sometimes we can become bogged down being too technical, when often its a case of reverting to simple basics, in order for the good technique to develope, I find that six basic areas need worked on, to develope effective technique.
- Body Position - Sit backside down till basically hips over ankle & kee over toes.
- Transfer Body Weight - move at hips so body weight directly over support leg, in roll phase.
- Full Extension Push - Always to the side, with all wheels on the ground.
- Leg Recovery - like the letter " D " loop back around, pointing toe in towards support leg heel.
a/ When sprinting leg must come up high, parallel with the ground.
b/ Must be back & clear gap behind support knee.
- Drive through - Utilize your hip to pull through knee till level or advanced of support knee,
while keeping back leg parrallel, to the ground before driving through in sprint.
- Arms - High speeds are associated with a high back arm action, tothe side and back, then
through to the front, up to the opposite shoulder, but not outside the line of the
other side of the body.
If you work on these basic areas, with correct co - ordination, you will get on good edges, with the double push, comming as a result of getting the basic movements correct.