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Sport Spotlight

Tips for outdoor recreation and outdoor sportsOutdoor Sport Spotlight

Wild or mild outdoor sports and recreation are a passion of the camping.com editors.  Here we profile different sports and outdoor recreation activities.  We'll give you tips on getting started, tell you about the great places for outdoor sports and show you what gear you need to be comfortable in all conditions.  So whether you're a seasoned outdoor sports enthusiast or a enthusiastic beginner we have tips and advice to make the most of your outdoor recreation passion.

In-Line Skating

In-Line Skating


In-line skating is, in a way, the warm weather version of ice-skating. Instead of gliding using blades on ice, you glide using wheels on almost any smooth surface. You can enjoy the pleasures of in-line skating at any age, at any time (as long as the weather is moderately good), and anywhere you can find a paved surface. If you love in-line skating, you can make your sport more challenging by learning to in-line figure skate, try speed skating, or skate in marathons and roller hockey.

Before you begin to in-line skate you need to be sure you are physically prepared to skate. Skating will put your legs and back to good use, so if you have a history of problems with any of your muscles in those regions, you should make sure in-line skating won't cause any harm. You will also need to have the proper safety gear before you begin to in-line skate: a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads. Just as with any other sport conducted on wheels, you have a high probability of falling as a beginner, and using safety gear will help prevent serious harm.

As a beginning skater you will also need to find a place that is safe and clear of obstacles to practice skating. Busy streets or parks with lots of pedestrians will make learning to skate much more difficult, since you will be spending your time avoiding obstacles and not learning to skate. Also, avoid areas with gravel. Gravel will trip you while you skate. In-line skates, just like road bikes, don't travel smoothly over gravel.

If you want to learn to skate on your own you can try an empty parking lot. Skating rinks are great places to learn to skate; beginners can rent skates, sign up for lessons and enjoy learning to skate with others in a pressure free environment specifically designed for that purpose.

When you get your skates on and are ready to begin skating, there are a few basic steps you need to learn before taking off. First practice the correct posture.  This will make your future skating much smoother. Start by standing with your knees bent, your feet about hip width apart.  Make sure that you keep you head, chest, and hips positioned over your feet. You will also need to know the v-stance, in which you bring your heels together and point your toes out. You also need to know the t-stance, in which you put the heel of one foot behind the other with the first foot perpendicular to the other foot, making a T.

Before learning to stride on your skates you need to learn how to walk, called duck walking. To duck walk, stand in the v-stance, then walk in place, and return your feet to the v-stance after each step. When you are comfortable taking steps in place, begin taking steps forward, keeping your toes pointed outward.  At all times, be sure to keep your knees bent and your weight positioned over your feet.

To learn to actually stride on your skates, you add a little side push to your duck walk. To do this, use the t-stance instead of the v, place your weight on the forward facing foot and aim you foot in the direction you want to go.  Push to the back and side with the inside wheels of your skate. Bring your pushing foot back and place side-by-side with your gliding foot. Continue to glide with your two feet on the ground, then prepare to push with the opposite foot from the last push, just like walking. Now continue with this pattern and you will be in-line skating.

You also need to learn the basic stop procedure, called the v-stop. To do this spread your skates wider than shoulder width apart and point you toes together, the opposite of the v-stance. This will slow you down and stop you, and it is the best stopping method for beginning skaters.

In-line skating is a fabulous way to enjoy gliding when there is no ice. As you get more experienced you can move faster, try new tricks and even play competitive sports. In-line skating is good exercise for people of all ages. It can also be a fun family activity; you can skate through your favorite paved park or along the nearest seaside boulevard. When you travel you can bring along your skates as a new way to enjoy the area you are exploring.

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