A Blog Written By Skaters for Skaters
8 Tips for Using Jam Skates
Ever watch the movie from 2005 called Roll Bounce? We didn’t know Bow Wow was so good on jam skates but we do know since the release of this movie, jam skating has gained momentum across the globe. Also known as rhythm, dance and jive skating, jam skating is a combination of dance, gymnastics and skating and is heavily influenced by break dancing and modern dance.
The fundamentals of jam skating are important to understand since jam skating is more complex than standard roller skating. There are certain wheels to use, special ways to mount your plates and more.
Read on, take some notes and you will be performing top jam skate moves in no time.
1. The Preferred Type of Boot
Ankle movement is a must when jam skating and almost every jam skater I see used speed boots to allow for extra ankle movement.
- If you prefer using high tops, then only lace up the bottom part so you have room to move around. By doing this, the upper part of the boot is only useful for “Looks”. It doesn’t serve an actual purpose.
- A lower boot such as the Riedell Quest Jam is a perfect choice.
- The Riedell 120 boot is an alternative packed with a lot of support and comfort right out of the box.
- If you’re serious about finding that perfect jam skate then don’t hesitate to create you own custom skate. We’ll walk your hand through every step!
- High top or low top is a preference choice that only you can make.
2. The Preferred Type of Wheels
Slimmer, lighter and smaller parts are popular among jam skates. You don’t want any baggage to weigh you down or get in your way.
- Slimmer wheels give you more maneuverability such as artistic wheels
- Another lower prices wheels option are the Radar Pure wheels rolling at just 38mm.
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3. Learn How to Properly Fall
No one said jam skating is easy. Remember your first time on the ice skating rink or ski slopes? The wobbly legs and rapid fast shakes that crippled your confidence and turned you off the sport?
You will get these when you first start on jam skates. The movement of your feet is unnatural at first and it takes practice to train your muscle memory and balance.
- Start off on a carpeted surface to allow your skates to sink in a bit. This way you can pause in certain poses to get the feel.
- Head to a local indoor rink and practice your falls with knee pads and wrist guards. Start off my purposely dragging one foot behind the other to come to a stop. As you slow down, bend your knee and place your arms out front. Your knees and hands should make contact at closely the same time.
4. Plate Mounting
Did you know, a short forward plate mount is ideal for quick response. Jam skating is not really about the speed like speed skating and roller derby so you can experiment with your plates to find the perfect balance.
- Increase response and agility by aligning the ball of your foot with the front axel.
- Remove the cushion further from the plate and adjust the pivot pin so it’s tight on the cup and centered on the kingpin. This will prevent your skates from steering themselves.
- Softer cushions are recommended since you won’t be making any high speed turns around a bank track with your jam skates. With a pack of powerdyne multi-colored cushions, you can try for yourself. They’re available in different hardnesses and fit the following plates; PowerDyne Thrust, PowerDyne Triton, and PowerDyne DynaPro
5. Truck Tension
Achieving the perfect truck tensions makes all the difference on jam skates.
Too loose = dead stops when balancing on outside edge & Too tight = Feet pain.
- Make sure both trucks are equally loose
- Check the tension of your trucks more often if you skate outdoors on rough surfaces
- Looser trucks will give you more maneuverability
- Adjust your trucks and take a lap and repeat until you find the perfect match.
6. Remember to Stretch
You never know which direction your legs will go while you jam skate, but you can prevent pulled muscles by stretching and warming up.
- Jam skating uses many, if not all of the muscles in your body so take time when stretching.
- Stretch your groin with a butterfly stretch
7. Develop Lower Body Strength
Like every other sport on wheels, lower body strength is crucial to success. Your skills will depend on the muscles in your upper leg, thigh and knees and those with more strength tend to hop on jam skates in no time.
- Do a daily dose of lunges and squats to build leg strength
- Explore more leg strength ideas.
8. Toe Stops
Jam skaters tend to do without large and bulky toe stops. They use a t-stop to slow down and they rarely pick up enough speed to worry about crashing!
- Jam plugs with large stoppers make jam skating more difficult
- It will take time to adjust to your skates if you remove your toe stops
- Plugs allow more maneuverability for stalls and quick transitions compared to toe stops