Quad and Inline Skating

Quad and Inline skating(also known as Rollerskating and Rollerblading) do not share Ice skatings long history. Roller Skates were invented in the 1760’s by a Belgian called Joseph Merlin. He designed a skate with small wooden wheels. Surprsingly, although we assume that inline skates are a modern invention, they are not. All roller skates were inline until 1863 when James Plimpton invented a skate with four wheels attached in a rectangular formation.

This invention gave roller skating a boost as quad skates are easier to control than inline versions.
Inline (rollerblading) boots usually have four or five wheels arranged in a single line. Modern inline skates are attached to a “frame” rather than a “plate” as with quads. If they have a stop it is a heel rather than a toe stop.

The Olson brothers from Minneapolis who were keen hockey players spotted a pair of inline skating boots in a second hand shop in 1980. They realized that they could be used for training, exercise and practice when there was no snow. They formed a company which they called Rollerblade to undertake the manufacturing and distribution side of the business. Since 1990 inline skate technology has improved to allow skaters to perform the same kind of moves as traditional quad roller skates.

Both quad and inline skating have excellent health benefits. Roller skating in general has the same health benefits as jogging in terms of health benefits, calorie burning, reduction of body fat and leg strength development. It is also effective low-impact aerobic excercise. Inline skating, for example, causes less than 50% of the shock impact when compared to running. Some people have willingly given up driving to work and skate there instead. A very eco-friendly gesture!

It goes without saying that protective gear is vital for both quad and inline skating. A helmet, elbow, knee and wrist protectors are essential. Before skating all equipment should be thoroughly checked. Make sure the brakes are not loose or worn out, that the wheels are free of debris or oil, and that they are not loose or wobbly. The axle and nuts must be tight.

Before putting on your skates do some stretching. Be particularly careful to do exercises which stretch your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, abdominals, and lower-back muscles.

Inline skating has developed into many different sports. the following are some of the forms:-

1. Aggresive or aggro skating is an offshoot of skateboarding. The two forms of agro are street and vert (for vertical). In street competitions, skaters perform stunts while leaping over boxes, ramps and rails on a concrete surface. In vert they do a 60 second routine of tricks and stunts in a half-pipe similar to that used in skateboarding and snowboarding.
2.Artistic skating
3. Dance skating
4. Parachute where the skater is pulled along by a parachute.
5. Formation
6. Freestyle
7. Fun skating, fitness, recreation, street
8. Gymnastics- aerobic, inline-workout
9. Hockey
10. Motorskate – skating with a small petrol engine attached.
11. Offroad, outdoors on sandy ground and grass.
12. Pairs skating
13. Rollersoccer
14. Skating with sails attached to the sides of the shoes.
15. Speed – distance, downhill, slalom, cross-country
16. synchronized skating – group skating without physical contact between the skaters.

My interest is, as ever, mainly the dance aspect of Rollerblading and Inline skating. Figure and freestyle skating along with skate dancing, are part of artistic skating.Roller figure skating is often considered to be more difficult because the ice allows the skater to draw a deep, solid edge to push off from when performing jumps such as a luz or an axel. On roller skates it is not possible to use the same kind of deep edge.

Skates designed for artistic skating typically have leather boots, a strong, heavy sole plate, and a jump bar for reinforcement. For free skating skaters use a large toe stop which can be used in a “toe-plant” take-off or landing in certain jumps. Dance and figure skaters generally do not use toe stops, as they may interfere with some manouvers. Inline skaters wear leather boots on which the wheels are arranged at different heights so that the backline of the boots forms a curve instead of a flat line. These are most suited to skate curved edges.

Like ice dances figure skating is made up of a set of compulsory movements and steps. Freestyle originated from ice figure skating.It comprises individual routines for each skater or couple. The initial development of figure skating on roller skates came from ice skaters. Roller (quad) skaters invented their own movements as the sport grew in popularity. Eventually more than forty figures of jumps, turns and spins were created specifically for roller skaters. Freestyle which can be singles or pairs dates back to the early twentieth century when roller skaters began adapting movements from ice skaters. In the 1930’s and 1940’s roller skaters began creating their own elements.

Skaters use either quad or inline skates but they usually compete in separate events and not against each other. Inline has been included in the World Championships since 2002. New movements were often named for the skater who first performed them during a freestyle event. This style of skating must interprete the tempo and mood of the music during the routine. Each competitor is judged by his or her speed, height of jumps, accuracy of spins and linking steps.

One of the three styles which make up artistic skating (the other two being figure and freestyle) dance roller skating began in the nineteenth century. It can be a solo, couple or team event. Jackson Haines an American ballet teacher and ice figure skater living in Vienna, introduced skate dancing to the United States. At the beginning skate dancing was patterned on ballroom dancing. Until the early 1930’s people danced waltzes and marches. Tango was introduced in 1932. Seven years later roller skate dance became a competitive sport. This spured the creation of numerous dances especially for roller skates.

Artistic free skating traditionally emphasises spins that are uncommon on ice, such as the inverted spin in which the skater leans backward with the free leg extended high in front, and spins that would be impossible to do on blades such as the “broken ankle spin” which rotates on a deep edge on the inside wheels.

Artistic skaters also perform the quadruple, triple, double and single jumps known from ice skating such as axels, loops and salchows. The names they are known by sometimes differ from those used in ice skating.

Roller dance skating is divided into American and International Dance. Both categories have compulsory dances and steps that must be performed, such as the Imperial Tango, the 14 Step, the Keats Foxtrot or the Flirtation Waltz. Some of the dances are the same as those performed in ice dancing competions whilst others are unique to roller skating. American Dance is performed only at the United States National level and below and emphasizes an upright body which does not change position. International Dance is performed in most other countries and at the World Championships and includes Free Dance and Original Dance elements.

“Precision” or “synchronized” skating consists of a group of skaters moving in a synchronized fashion. Precision skating involves high speed and accurate timing as one mistake can cause the whole group to fall. Most people wear quad skates but some use inline skates specifically designed for artistic use. In Precision, the skaters wear identical costumes, sometimes even having the same hairstyle.

A “roller disco” is a discotheque where all the dancers wear roller skates either quad or inline. The music played is modern and easy to dance to. Originally it was disco music but in more recent times includes almost any form of dance or pop music.Special effects such as dry ice and flashing lights are often used. The idea originated in the 1970’s when the disco craze was at its height, peaking around 1980. Roller Disco is popular among older children and young teenagers, especially for parties.To lessen the chances of injury participants are only allowed to skate in one direction to avoid pileups. Many roller disco’s have a “free skate” section in the middle of the roller rink.

Evolving from, but less frantic than Roller Disco, quad freestyle ryhthm dance skating puts much emphasis on finesse, subtle style and economy of motion,. Toe stops are removed.This is non-competitive dancing on wheels. The music is very important and a session has a mixture of fast, medium and slow pieces that give variety and flow. Good skate dancing music usually has a prominent baseline beat. In Rythm or Funk Skating the aim is to skate on the One-sync to the beat – everyone in their own style.

Jam Skating (also called “rexing” or “bounce skating) has helped boost sales of quad roller skates. Jam skating is a mix of break dancing, roller skating and gymnastics.

All over the word at weekends people go quad and inline skating in parks and open spaces. Everyone does his or her own thing and a great time is had by all. Here exercise, fun, creativity, health and relaxation go hand in hand. If you havn’t tried this sport why not have a go with your child with special needs?

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