Beginning cross steps

  BEGINNING CROSS STEPS

This section is for those who are just starting to walk on moving boards. If the board is shooting out from under your feet, this is what you should be reading. For those who can cross step already, you can skip it. You might read anyway to learn a few exercises to smooth out your walking.

Cracks and handrails
Hokey pokey: cross step feint
Role playing
Backpedal hokey pokey
Arms help the legs
Two step recovery program
Up and back
One legged riding, for advanced beginners

 

Cracks and handrails

If you haven't cross stepped, or have tried and failed, you must start your practice in a very controlled situation. One way is to put your board somewhere where it can't move, like on the grass, or on a sidewalk with the wheels held by a deep crack. Another way is to hold onto a rail or fence while you're practicing.

 

Hokey pokey: cross step feint

Taking a partial cross step is one way to begin. It's a feint, putting the cross foot forward then back without actually stepping on it. This will assume you're regular foot. Start with your back foot on the back trucks. Your front foot should be up a ways, not too wide a stance, less than shoulder width. Put all your weight on your front foot. Hold onto a handrail and take a step, right foot crossing the left. Put a little weight on the crossed foot, but before you can weight it fully, cross it back and put it back where it was, on the back trucks. That's a hokey pokey step, like the nursery rhyme "ya put your right foot in, ya take your right foot out." Hokey pokey your back foot a few times while you're holding the rail. Now try it while rolling slowly.

 

Role playing

I think the reason cross stepping is so hard at first is the legs have to learn new roles. The back foot has to learn to be the front foot, which is kind of a power foot, and the support foot while pushing. The front foot has to learn to be the back foot, which is the steering foot, and the pivot foot. These roles are very different. Cross stepping and cross stance has a lot in common with riding switch foot, or fakey.

 

Backpedal hokey pokey

The backpedal hokey pokey is like the hokey pokey exercise, only it moves backwards. Get closer to the nose, with your front foot on the front trucks, your back foot in the middle. Then move your front foot backwards.

The left foot crosses behind the right foot, passing on its left side. It rests behind the right foot, crossed, for a moment, but without much weight being placed on it.

Then the left foot is swung forward and replaced on the middle of the board, in a side by side stance. Do this a couple of times in a row to get the hang of backpedaling.

 

Arms help the legs

Hold your arms way out. Your arms have a "stance" much the same as your legs. A wide arm stance will help when the legs are working on something tough. On these pages you can see me hold my arms very wide sometimes. Other times they are relaxed at my sides. The going must be gettin' easy at those times.

 

Two step recovery program

Now after some attempts to cross the legs have been made, it's time to take two steps. Take a cross step, hold it, then take a quick second step to get back to normal stance up the board. The tendency will be to rush the first cross step. A better rhythm for first timers is to take a really slow "hokey pokey" step and try to hold it, then rush the second step, the uncrossing step. This second step is a "recovery step." The recovery step should be easier to do quickly, because it will end up in a familiar stance.

Once cross stepping gets familiar, slow the second step down. Both steps should be slow and smooth.

 

Up and back

The next exercise is to take two steps up, two steps back. Start with the back foot on the back trucks. Have your knees bent and the feet less than shoulder width apart, a narrow stance. Take two steps up. Try not to stutter step or stumble. If you're going to rush a step, try to rush the second, uncrossing step, the recovery step. Now you should be in a narrow stance near the nose, with the front foot on the front trucks.

Next backpedal two steps. Try to reach back with the front toe, brushing it along the rail. Place the foot crossed behind the other and try to hold it. Now take a quick recovery step, uncrossing, and put your usual back foot on the back trucks. The up and back cycle is done. Do that over and over until it's smooth and slow as molasses.

 

One legged riding, for advanced beginners

As you get better, trying to minimize the time on one leg becomes less necessary, and you can pick your feet up and ride on one leg. With more confidence in one-legged riding, more control will be gained and more tricks will be possible.


Confident cross step, held on one leg

 

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