Skids and Stops, Part 1 – T-Stops (Chris Conte)

Chris Conte begins a multi-part series on skids and stops.  Skids are a form of edge control that needs to be developed from the beginning stages of skating.  Most skaters are introduced to skids when they learn a snowplow stop.  Chris discusses this very briefly.

When introducing a T-stop, Chris starts at the wall, get’s the skater into T-position, and has the skater try to “find the flat” with all the weight on the standing leg or front leg (non-stopping leg).  When adding movement, Chris starts with just a few small pushes for minimal speed.  At first the goal isn’t to stop but simply to keep all the weight on the gliding foot and “just experience finding the flat.”  To avoid stepping down on the back of the gliding blade, Chris recommends keeping some distance between the feet, at least at first.  To stabilize the upper body, arms in frame and coach support are both good options.  Once skaters can glide in a T-position and they’ve found the “skid point” they can simply shift their weight back a little and put more weight on the skidding blade, thus creating a T-stop.

Chris offers a simple drill of repeated T-stops to gain mastery of the stop more quickly.  As skaters develop proficiency, they can bring the feet together into a true T-position.  Chris explains where the weight is on the blade (mid-blade).  He also discusses the use of the ankles, and how he doesn’t focus on this with his skaters.  [Editor’s note:  If you watch Chris’s demonstrations, you can clearly see he is using his ankle to find the “skid spot.”  His ankle is not neutral to his lower leg and is supinating.  But as Chris suggests, it may not be helpful to talk about this with the skater as it can add complexity that isn’t necessary.]


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