Name: Becky Spaghetti
Position you play: jammer / blocker
Team you play for: Devon clotted screamers
Skates make and model: Riedell R3's
Day job: Drug and Alcohol Practitioner
For financial reasons, I have had the same pair of skates from day one and I love them. I have been skating for nearly 3 years now and my skates are precious but totally abused and loved. If you’re like me and not willing to shell out loads of money for new skates, consider some alternatives. Here are my 5 top tips for saving pennies but still making improvements to your skates!
1. Cushions (also known as bushings) - Not the ones you snuggle up to on the sofa. Under the trucks of your skates, there are cushions hidden in between the cushion retainer and action bolt. Changing the cushions can affect your skating angle. The softer the cushion the more angle you can get on your skate aiding in your ability to change direction quicker and easier as well as turning tighter. However, the harder the cushion the less wobble, more of a firm turn but requires more effort. Often a lighter footed skater will have softer cushions compared to a stronger and possibly heavier skater. I recently heard of someone mixing the firmness up so go for it and see what you like.
2. Stoppers/Top Stops - I love my gumballs (I suggest you don't pick short stem) depending on the type of skater you are will also depend on the stopper that suits you most. I play mainly as a jammer and like leaping about on my toe stops; they are lovely and chunky and big. My stoppers were one of the first adjustments that I made to my skates. They weren't expensive and made me more confident using my stoppers. Ask your teammates which they like and why; it's all trial and error.
3. Wheels - I am hopeless at knowing what's best when it comes to wheels, so much that I only recently changed wheels for the first time in over two years. On my team we have a few skate gurus and I’m sure you may have one or two near you as well. Seek yours out and pick their all powerful, magical skate brain. They will love to overload you so be precise with what you want to know. My advice is to also try other people's wheels in your team before forking out loads for wheels you find out you don’t like only after buying two sets. The wheels hardness will depend on the type of floor you skate on, your weights, position you play, and general preference so test out many options and good luck! Tip: Wheels are measured by durometer the higher the number the harder the wheel.
4. Trucks - This a free trick! Loosen or tighten them in order to give yourself either more control on your turn or more flexibility. Mine were tight when I started skating and I could barely turn on the bend of the track. So loosen or tighten (righty tighty/ loosey lefty), be careful to only turn a quarter turn at a time then skate a few laps to see how it feels; that’s a good way to find your sweet spot. Whatever you do, don't do it before a game, if too loose you'll be like Bambi on ice!
5. Tape - If you don’t want to make any changes to your skates, always have a bountiful supply of tape! Keep the front of your skate taped up to protect it from wear and tear. It can also come in handy to tape your pads tighter onto you when in a match so you don’t have to fuss with any velcro mid-jam