By John Harmata
True. Skaters who do not upgrade to a beginning freestyle blade when attempting basic jumps and spins often find themselves having to repeat classes.
More ice time means that a skater will quickly excel to the next level and should not worry about having to upgrade their blades.
True and False. A skater will always excel faster with more ice time, which is why it’s important to upgrade blades when necessary. Failing to upgrade to the next level blade makes it
more difficult to perform higher-level jumps and spins.
Blades with aggressive toe picks and a good rocker profile only benefit higher test level skaters.
False. While more aggressive toe picks are primarily used by skaters working on double and triple jumps, it is just as important that beginning and intermediate freestyle skaters have toe picks that are larger than those that come on learn-to-skate blades. A good rocker profile is
equally important for every level of freestyle skating, making it easier to take off, land jumps,
and center spins.
Skate blades should be long enough so they extend end to end or slightly overhang the edge of the heels.
True and False. Blades for younger skaters are usually purchased longer than needed so they can be used on the next pair of boots. For beginning freestyle skaters, this doesn’t appear to
present any problems. Troubles may begin with intermediate-level skaters or higher. Timing is
critical at this skating level, and it’s very important that the fit of boot and blade be exact.
Note: Blade balance and condition also should be taken into consideration. Remember, the longer the boot, the longer the blade requirement. Unless both the boot and blade size are
accurate, timing on takeoffs and landings will be off, resulting in flat or two-footed landings;
falls on jumps will be more frequent; and spins will be more difficult to enter, and will be slower.
Very dull or worn-out blades with very little rocker profile also can cause the same problems. Sharpening and replacing blades regularly will allow a skater to maintain confidence.
I’m considered an advanced-level skater now, and someone said I should switch to a different blade even though mine is working just fine for me.
False. The truth is that unless skaters are able to skate on every blade model, one really doesn’t know how well a particular blade may or may not be working for them. What works well for one skater won’t necessarily work for another. Skaters who have perfected their axel and are working more aggressively on doubles have reached the point where they need to choose a high test blade. Over time, a skater becomes used to how a particular blade performs, and inherently
knows what technique changes to make if problems arise.
Guest Author, John Harmata