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Pivots: The Particle Theory of Skating

When you look at a piece of art on a computer screen, TV screen or even in a newspaper, you might marvel at the beauty of the picture but know that if you look very close up that you’ll see a series of pixel dots which possess none of the beauty of the overall picture. Skating is very similar. If you take any slalom trick or combo and break it down and down and down, it is made up of a series of ‘pivots’ (or ‘compasses’).

A pivot is where one wheel remains in a fixed spot while the other foot traces a path around it. There are 24 different pivots, and then even more when you start doing them with only 1 wheel on the outside foot too. These pivots can be developed on their own and away from slalom cones as a way of identifying and solving weak spots in your basic skills.

Sometimes the pivots are very easy to identify. For example in the tricks ‘Sun’, ‘brush’ or ‘Crazy’, the pivots used in each are very easy to spot, and are textbook pivots. In other tricks they are harder to spot, but still always there. In the ‘Cockfoot/chicken leg’ where one foot does a tight circle or spin around a cone, it is a pivot without the central wheel being in contact with the ground, as with the nelsons and 1 foot tricks. The ‘Screw’ (crossed legged spin on only two wheels) is made up of two pivots, and having any issues with either of the pivots will render your screw uncontrollable and unsustainable.