There are many attributes that a well-rounded jam skater must attain: musicality, footwork, groundwork, shuffle skating, personality, etc., but one of the hardest genres to master is power moves. A power move is anything that requires strength, balance, momentum, and a very strong amount of willpower. When somebody thinks of a ‘power move’ they think of backflips, lotus, handstands, and so many other moves, but in order to perform the more risky moves while having the extra weight of roller skates, one must learn the fundamental power moves that allow the jam skater to branch off into more sophisticated movements. After asking a wide variety of professional skaters, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five fundamental power moves that are vital to learn before attempting any other move.
- Back Spin
A back spin, while most would not consider power, is actually among the power category. A back spin is spinning on your upper back with a high momentum. Professional jam skater, and power master Tony Zane from VNLA said: “I think that power skaters and skater in general should learn a back spin first because it teaches them the idea of rotation, momentum, and balance.” A back spin requires a ton of balance in order to stay on the upper back and just the right momentum to keep the spin fast and controlled.
Pikes are a good trick to learn early on as well. A pike is a one handed handstand, but with the chest out and the body rotated so the lifted hand can almost touch the opposite skate. Pikes are a great teacher when it comes to balance and core strength. It makes the skater gain a lot of arm strength. Brandon Perea said: “Pikes are just a great powerful trick to learn!”
- Freezes and Stalls
Freezes and stalls are the foundation for balance. “These types of moves may not seem like much, but they require any skater to use all of their core strength.” Said Steve Cantrell for VNLA. Freezes are defined as “halting all body motion” (B-boy Moves). For example: an invert could be described as a freeze. An invert is doing a handstand, but bringing the head through the arms, but bringing the legs closer to the face. At the peak of the invert, all body motion is stopped and the performer is relying on core strength to maintain balance. A stall is balancing the body with just an elbow or other part of the body; an example of this would be the air chair. An air chair is when the elbow is dug into the soft spot on the side of the performer while the rest of the body is balanced off the ground. These types of moves create core strength and balance for any power skater.
- Two-Handed Hand Hops
Executing two-handed hand hops flawlessly isn’t easy! This power move requires lots of balance and a good kicking motion. The idea of the move is simple: master the handstand, find the balance on both hands, and use your legs to kick your whole body weight off the ground. Brandon Perea for VNLA said: “This particular move will help any skater find the perfect balance point!” Once you’ve mastered two-handed hand hops try finding your balance point with one-handed hand hops!
The windmill is a move that teaches the skater momentum, core strength, stabs, and rotations. Hunter Collins said: “Windmills for me are one of the most important power moves because they can unlock doors to almost every other move and teach you so many qualities that is needed for any power moves as well as transitions.” A windmill isn’t easy. The move is a mixture of a stab (or a short stall), movement of legs, and moving the shoulders properly to reach full rotation. If a skater is looking to learn power, the windmill is a good one to start with because it’s the key to unlock other power moves. It takes a lot of determination and practice to master, but it’ll be well worth it in the end!
Once these five fundamental power moves are mastered you are ready to begin working on more complicated moves! These five moves will help any jam skater find balance, momentum, core strength, and body strength. Without these gate way moves it’ll be harder to master other power tricks such as head spins and flares later on in your jam skating career! Steve Cantrell said: “With dedication and hard work you can master anything from one to five and even beyond that! There’s a world of power moves out there ready to be learned and created by determined jam skaters. Just remember, the move isn’t necessarily what you do with it, but how you do it.”