Tag Archives: plates

The Fresh Plow of Bath-Air

freshprinceNow this is a story all about how, my plow got flipped turned upside down. I’d like to take a minute, or as long as it takes, to tell you how I fixed the problem of impossible plates.

Iiiin West Southern England, I learnt to plow, on a pair of old skates that were plastic all-round. Chillin’ out, maxxin’, skatin’ with mates, til’ one day I thought I’d buy a pair of new plates. So with the help of my guy, and some internet dudes – I stuck a pair of Roll Lines on my rollerboots. I tried one little plow and my feet got scared and said “you’re doing it wrong – now your plow is impaired!”

I tried and I skated on them day after day, but they just wouldn’t bite the floor in the same way. I loosened the trucks, and I switched out the wheels, I dropped my butt down, and I kicked out my heels.

I whistled for some help, and when it came near, the experts said ‘the problem is the bushings I fear’. If anything, I could say that this wasn’t near, but I thought “naw forget it, I’ll try anything here!”

90 days later, I was still plowing sad; I had to do something so I called up my dad. “I need my birthday present of some money real bad; I’ll try another plate, see if that makes me rad”.

I looked and researched, and I tried a few out; Avengers felt good, but I still had my doubts. I really thought the problem was just my technique, but that vanished the second they were strapped to my feet.

I, pulled, up to a session exactly at 8, and I yelled to my teammates ‘check out ma new plates!’ I tried one little stop and the wheels screamed loud. My mojo was back, I was plowing and proud.

(I realised after writing this that my experience with plates isn’t actually that positive, in terms of a learning model. I do truly believe a good skater can work ANY equipment, with enough practise and the right technique. And I desperately want to say that four months of very dedicated training improved my plow at least a bit, and that the Roll Lines are great and wonderful in every way. But it just seems they didn’t suit me at all. They were beautiful to skate in; very responsive and smooth, and great in every other way – but despite trying every technique under the sun, I found it impossible to get any friction out of the wheels when plowing in them. The Avengers (whilst feeling obviously different from my original plastic plates) were not like this at all. I had to adjust my plowing angle, but that was it. I adapted to them pretty much instantly.)

P.s. Does anyone want to buy a pair of Roll Lines? 😀

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Skates do not a skater make

pedal-skates-classicMy year of saving, training and researching is up – I finally have new skates! It’s exciting, it’s enthusing it’s, well… it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster actually.

Ever had that feeling where you get some new equipment, (camera/running shoes/skates etc) and you suddenly go from being elated and excited at all the new things it can do, to feeling kinda overwhelmed and like you now have to live up to your gear because EVERYONE CAN SEE YOU HAVE FANCY NEW SKATES and goddammit you better be good enough to rock them, or everyone will judge you?

Yeah. That.
(I should add that this was all dialogue in my head, not a thing that happened.)

Don’t get me wrong – I adore my new skates, now that I’ve had 2 months of getting to know them. But it was pretty different at first. Good different, in a lot of ways – metal plates respond fast. But also pretty challenging; I went from being able to pull a sharp, loud, instant-stopping plow on my old skates to just …not. My plows were completely broken – and subsequently my whole derby skating style was screwed. A bit of research and some excellent Facebook help suggested that technique was likely at fault, and suddenly I was back to square one. It made me realise two very important things: 1) Not being able to stop is awful and scary (Fresh Meat, I have a whole new load of respect for you – I’d been forgetting what it felt like to be honestly scared for your life when learning stops from speed) – and 2) pretty much every useful derby technique involves an element of plowing.

I also learnt pretty quickly that high-end equipment does not necessarily fix problems, although it can emphasise strengths once you’ve nailed a technique.

Anyway, fast forward through 2 months of quiet frustration and trying to convince myself I hadn’t wasted loads of money…  After a difficult closed bout and a session of tripping over *everything*, I was sprinting out my frustration when a little glimmer of magic happened. My plow made a tiny squeak. And then it squeaked a little more. And then my plow on my right foot started getting decent bite and holy crap I was stopping. My plow’s not quite back yet, but I have newfound confidence that determination and ruthlessly practising WILL get me there; I have to stop being scared of failing, scared of people judging me, scared of my SKATES, and just keep skating.

So that’s my lesson for today: even if it takes over 50 hours of training time to get just one skill back, a little bit, stay positive, keep trying, and goddammit, keep skating!

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