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Style & Flow

What is Style?

What isn’t meant by style in this 'book', is personal-style. Style is a word used a good deal in the judging and evaluation of slalom skating, whilst being awarded totally different meanings by different people and in different contexts. Personal-style is something that attracts others whilst putting off others - personal taste like clothing style, or music genre etc. Some like more aggressive style of slalom, others might like more elegant slalom, or perhaps fast & crazy slalom. The term ‘style’ in the context in which it is used in this book, refers only to the quality of slalom, which is hopefully based on qualities which everyone can agree contributes towards good slalom - all the criteria other than ‘did they execute the trick without knocking any cones?’.

Quality, beauty, the feeling of flow for the observer. With poor style, it just looks like someone is just struggling through some technically difficult contortions through cones, whilst wearing skates, or at best, executing some very impressive skills. An observer might think ‘oh look, isn’t that impressive’, but not ‘wow. That’s amazing’ and certainly never ‘I want to able to do that’.

When someone is said to have good style, it suggests that they have a feeling of flow, ease, dignity and usually a certain amount of passion or engagement with what they’re doing. It’s truly inspiring to watch someone with these qualities.

You hear people talking about their favourite slalomers, and all around the world people’s favourites are not the ones that they consider most technically able, but the ones that make what they do look easy and beautiful - the ones that inspire them. Sometimes a skater might be both - most technically advanced, and have top quality…and that’s when you get skates named after you…


Good Style = Technical Achievement

If the quality of your slalom is poor it not only affects the visual aspect of your slalom, but also the technical level.

If the fluidity is poor, the high levels of friction will prevent you from executing tricks which rely on momentum to carry them through, and if your feet never stray far from the cones (low ‘amplitude’) or if your centre of gravity does not move smoothly, you won’t be able to maintain the energy to keep some tricks going. The most important style aspect however, to the achievement of technical tricks, is posture and form – this can make or break your success in a trick.

Dismiss the importance of ‘quality and style’ at your peril, for you will not be able to control yourself well on your skates without it.


Elements

There has to be a million ways to define style, and all of them inaccurate and imperfect due to its being such an intangible concept, but here (in the menu bar on the left) are some aspects of slalom quality that have been broken down and often related to simple physics. A cold hard approach to evaluating beauty, I grant you, but I’m afraid that it’s what perceived beauty so often comes down to…

These ‘elements’ are not intended as any requirement or standard for slalom, but only to be used as a way of trouble shooting. If you want to achieve a smoother appearance, or solve the problem of your uncoordinatedly frantic looking arms, or improve your speed, you will be able to see the physical changes that need to take place. Be aware that any alternations to the quality of your slalom need to be made at the foundation level. Once your most basic tricks have a good style and quality, it will automatically transfer to the higher level tricks.