July 5, 2013 by alinedecat

Although you might not be aware of it, an edge (in french: une carre) is something all of you are actually pretty familiar with. Plow-stops, slaloms, crossovers, hockey stops, transitions and 3-steps, for instance are some of the numerous skills involving edges.

So let me explain:

Each foot has two edges: an inside edge and an outside edge. Basically, using the inside edge means leaning on your big toe and the inside of your foot, while the outside edge means leaning on your little toe and the outside of your foot.

The result of this is that your foot will turn. Let’s take the left foot: being on an inside edge will make your foot turn to the right, and being on an outside edge will make your foot turn to the left.

Got trouble seeing what I’m talking about?

Here is an outside egde:


You can clearly see that the skater has her center of gravity, and thus her bodyweight, leaning on the outside of the foot (and her little toe). The result of this is that she is turning to the left.

“Hey wait, this is figure skating, not derby!” – Oh, really, is it? Here is a double inside edge, both feet are leaning on the inside (and on the big toes):


Looks familiar, right? As a result of that, tiptoes come to the inside. Yes, it’s a plow stop!

Double inside edges are also used while skating lemons, in alternative with double outside edges. In this case, the movement of both legs is symetrical. The other option is that one foot is on an inside edge while the other is on an outside edge, and then switch. What do wee have then? That’s right, a slalom!

Let’s see if you got this right, define the edges for each foot and which way is this skater thus turning:


So the answer is: left foot = outside edge, right foot = inside edge, result = turning to the left.

Now, let’s get back to one-foot edges. When an inside edge is quite easy to achieve (you just have to lift up the other foot, and it remains a security that you can put back on the floor at any time, since your center of gravity never leaves the former base triangle), an outside edge on just one foot needs a bit more practice and confidence.

Indeed, you need to flip your bodyweight over your leg until your center of gravity is at the outside of your base triangle. And this is where the whole problem gets untied:

As for all rotations, it is not your feet that do the job, it’s your upper body, and the lower body is just following. So if you’re on a left outside edge, your head and your shoulders will have to turn left at very first. The more you turn your upper body, the more your feet will turn. Also, bringing in your right shoulder will transfer just exactly the right amount of bodyweight on your little toe and the outside of your foot.

So, here is basically the concept of edging. This is one of the most important skills to me, because it’s one of the keys to so many others. Try different exercises and drills until you can go wherever you want on the track on just one foot. If you don’t master edges (yes I mean also one-foot edges), it means you’re not completely mastering your bodyweight.

Also, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this πŸ˜‰


13 thoughts on “Edging

  1. cc says:

    “Also, bringing in your right shoulder will transfer just exactly the right amount of bodyweight on your little toe and the outside of your foot.”

    Can you explain this? I cannot picture it.

    • alinedecat says:

      Hi! Of course! What I call “bringing in” is actually moving your shoulder towards the center of your body, aka the center of gravity. It is not exactly turning your upper body, nor pushing your shoulder lower or in front of you, it is actually a bit of all three. Just make sure you don’t pull the other shoulder up (and behind) whilst doing this, because that would mean your body is taking the change of balance as an imbalance and compensating it to stick in the original position.
      Does this make sense to you? If not I can try to send you a video by mail πŸ˜‰

  2. […] you have read my post about edges, well, here is a good example of it and another way to explain; your inside foot always needs to be […]

  3. juwana hurt says:

    In rounding a corner u should never point your right shoulder into or around the corner or drop or pull your left shoulder back. It will cause your back wheels to slide out from under u. When turning & mohawking around someone don’t swing your arms or your body will follow! But edging is definately important for agility!

  4. alinedecat says:

    Here is a cool video to really get what edges are: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200744040815762 ENJOY!!!

  5. Maurine says:

    What kind of exercises would you recommend for this? πŸ™‚

  6. […] you feel comfortable with edges, here is a skill that is very interesting to master, for different reasons, that I will explain […]

  7. Megan Cantwell says:

    Awesome visuals. Thanks!

  8. […] in skating direction, from forwards to backwards, or from backwards to forwards, using only inside edges if starting forwards and only outside edges if starting backwards (so not switching edge), and […]

  9. […] might want to go on a slight outside edge with you carrying foot, to counterbalance the rotating […]

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I'm Aline Decat #61, skater for Gotham Girls Roller Derby and Team Belgium Roller Derby. I am also coach for Track Advantage - coaching company and I founded the Blackland Rockin'K-Rollers and Europe's first junior league, the Blackland Teenage Terrors.

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