jm82792: No, using an IK manually without curves isn't good practice either. It's easy to mess up the IK and break it. Control curves allow you to zero out your translations easily from pose to pose. Professionally an animator should be able to create poses from a rig without ever touching a joint or IK.
It's great you're working on your first animation. Keep working on those walk cycles
0Dudeman0: I opened up that file for the basic guy. Click on either of his red or green foot controls. In the channel box is an attribute for Ball_Roll. Click on the word Ball_Roll then middle mouse drag left or right in your perspective (or whatever view you're in) to play with the numbers. I hope this helps.