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Foundation Tricks

A book is not really the place to learn new tricks however this section introduces the tricks which form the foundations of good quality slalom and a rapid learning curve. As you work through each trick in this section, you will be given a step by step approach to learning it, as well as advice on avoiding common problems and improving quality. There will also be tips on which tricks you should have learned before giving each trick a go, along with suggestions as to which tricks you can mix with and go onto next.

Foundation tricks

If you are just getting started in slalom, these are the tricks that you’ll be starting with. Foundation tricks are the ones that if you practice until you have them to a really good quality, including switching between them and doing them both sides, you will be giving yourself a strong head start for learning the rest of the freestyle tricks. If you get your posture, weight transfers, smoothness & power in good shape for these tricks, then those sought after qualities will automatically follow you up the scale to the more difficult tricks.

If any of your foundation tricks are weak, even on your less comfortable side, then they will be limiting the overall level and quality of your slalom. If you find any of them to be weak, you absolutely must work on it until it is more comfortable. When you start performing difficult tricks which use only two wheels, such as the ‘Screw’, then you must re-learn all of these foundations using only those two wheels – after all you cannot possibly expect to be able to control yourself well on two wheels with your legs crossed and rotating if you cannot even control yourself on those two wheels when your legs are not crossed and rotating.

Here are the ‘Foundation Tricks’ which you should learn on both sides:

  • 1 Foot (Forwards & Backwards)
  • Snake (Forwards & Backwards)
  • Criss-cross (Forwards & Backwards)
  • Nelson (Forwards & Backwards)
  • Mega
  • Sun

The the appearance in this list of ‘Mega’ and ‘Sun’ might surprise, however they are important for covering all of the basic transitions between forwards & backwards in each direction. Once all of these tricks are mastered a slalomer can survive most trips and problems while maintaining style and flow.

When you’re having a go at them all, ask yourself the following questions for each one:

  • Form: Is my upper body in a good posture? (see checklist in style section)
  • Fluidity: Is it free flowing? Or does it feel hesitant and slow?
  • Smoothness: Does my centre of gravity travel along at a constant velocity?
  • Power: Are my leg muscles really working? How wide is the path made by my skates? Are my arms and upper body working together with my legs as one body?
  • Can I do it both sides?
  • Can I easily switch between this trick and the other foundation tricks?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no, I strongly suggest spending time solidifying these foundations as you will be rewarded with a faster learning curve later on. If you are already a very advanced slalomer then re-visiting these foundations and working on any problems that you find will help you with the more advanced tricks that you might be struggling with.

It is always advisable to learn all tricks on both sides, however it is not usually detrimental to the level of your slalom if you don’t. With these foundation tricks however, it is.